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Becoming More Visible

While I was on sabbatical, I played around with the app “TikTok,” an entertainment and educational app especially popular with younger generations. (I quite enjoy it, and have found it to be a wealth of knowledge, especially around social issues. If you have any interest in learning how to use it, let me know – maybe I’ll do a little class.)

When I searched on “Unitarian Universalism,” none of the top videos were created by Unitarian Universalists. Well, goodness!

Probably most of us have had the experience of meeting someone, telling them we’re a UU, and getting a blank look. And here at the church, we’ve also had the experience of people finally finding us and saying, “Oh my. I’ve been a UU all my life without knowing it.”

So, I’ve been creating short little videos, telling people about what Unitarian Universalism is. The response has filled my heart, as many people have been very excited to learn about this (new to them) religion.

Many of us are reticent to share much about Unitarian Universalism. Maybe it’s because we believe in the adage never to talk about politics or religions, maybe it’s because we’ve been on the receiving end of proselytizing and we don’t want to do anything like that. It may also be that we don’t want to open ourselves up as a target for someone intent on converting us.

What would make it easier for you? We’re tossing around different ideas about how to raise awareness in our community about this church, but bottom line, the most effective way is through our members. So what could we provide that would make it easier to share information about Live Oak and Unitarian Universalism? Maybe it’s just something that helps someone strike up conversation with you – a tshirt or a bumper sticker. Or maybe it’s something you could hand to another person, an invitation.

When Tom and I were in Montana, we began chatting with a fisherman on one of the hiking trails. After a few minutes of chatting, he pulled out a glossy colored card with information about his church — in Virginia! And invited us to visit if we were in the area!

I chuckled about it at the time, but I have to admit, I was also in awe. This guy felt so strongly about the church he was a member of, he carried cards with him all the way to Montana. WOW.

So think about it. Many of us wouldn’t feel comfortable approaching someone else to talk about our church, but if someone came to us, we’d be happy to tell them all about how great Live Oak is! I’ve been getting more opportunities like that, because I pretty much wear my clerical collar and rainbow flag pin everywhere I go. And people come up to me and want to know more about this religion and our church. (Don’t believe me? Ask Audrey McMann or Nancy Sheehy — they’ve both been with me when it happened!)

Those of you with Live Oak tshirts – has a stranger ever engaged you in conversation? If so, tell me about it — minister@liveoakuu.org.

Let me sign off with the below comment I received on one of my videos. Here’s the thing: any conversation you have about Live Oak and Unitarian Universalism has the potential to be life-changing to someone:

“This video came up for me and I looked more into this and cried because it’s everything I’ve been searching for! Thank you thank you thank you.”