by Kevin Crotty

This piece was originally spoken by Kevin Crotty at January 19, 2014 service at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church.

My introduction to UU church was as a visitor, perhaps not unlike the kind of person you might be thinking of bringing next week.  I am, and will always be, a recovering catholic, and at 27 I was certain I would never voluntarily be in a building called a church other than for obligatory funerals and weddings, and maybe not all of those.

If there is a God, I am certain she is as surprised as I am how things changed.  I've had so many experiences of my adult life shaped by the decision to be a member of this community.  Like most things in life, you get out of it what you put in.  When my kids were here, I taught Sunday school to kindergartners through high school students, everything from pond water examinations, eating holidays and holy days snacks to reviewing the evidence for the historical Jesus—to kids smarter than me, your kids.  I have been a mentor in the Coming of Age program, and watched my children find their own ways to explore religion and spirituality here.  I helped fix houses with Rebuilding Together Houston, led camp outs with the escape artists…but it's really about how those activities led me to people.

In adult religious education, I made friends with people like Jill Rose and Zena Taylor, I went to adult ed about the UN and a man named Dick Mullineaux grabbed me to talk about his love and fascination with Indonesia and the work he did at the women's center help line, and that led to meeting Karen his amazing wife and probably 20 trips to hear the Austin Lounge Lizards–from which my smile muscles have yet to recover.  Bob Hopkins energy for Rebuilding Together Houston was amazing and inspirational, and Jane Zachritz follows in his footsteps.  I accidentally became a musician here after being inspired by a spirituality class taught by Becky, and found an entire band full of wonderful people to nurture that in me who have become lifelong friends.  The old me that never would have gone to a church again had no idea that was all in here, that all of you were here.  The amazing people that create community where all that was and still is possible for me, and is now waiting for whatever your guest might need to find here, too.

So, take a risk and if you know a person like I was, see if they'll take the chance next Sunday, you know, the soft sell technique. Get 'em in the building and let them ease into it.

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