1st Unitarian Universalist
of the Palm Beaches
Prosperity Farms Rd.
North Palm Beach, FL 33408
In the early nineties I joined the 1st UU Church in North Palm Beach. The promise
of a liberal religious voice and spiritual growth was an enticing invitation, unlike
being saved or blinded by the light.
A wonderfully diverse congregation populated the church in those early days. A
beautiful new building, a new minister and a stage full of promise. Many new folks
visited the church. It was an exciting time. The folks seeking a liberal path found a
home. The energy spilled over from week to week.
The church ladies greeted me at the front door. Not the church ladies as seen on
SNL, but trail blazers, experienced and liberated women who provided sustenance
and stability. Later in the week a phone call followed to invite me back. Their
kindness still resonates.
Seasoned and prime, good sermons were delivered on Sunday mornings. Layers of
silly jokes, grandiose gestures and mighty hugs peppered the Sunday services.
I was happy and eager to serve. Working with old and new friends we bonded in
service for our common goals.
Growing pains were part of the journey. Curious twisted purse strings challenged
the tithe. Hidden under aimless chatter chaos rippled through the ranks. The
immersion much deeper then anticipated. Sadly, a life line was not forthcoming;
little was to be done without unity and commitment. Folks were disillusioned,
some of the faithful simply left, and the promise was left blowing in the wind.
Fast forward to a new century. Like the calling of an old friend, a message on the
new sign in front of the 1st UU Congregation prompted me to return.
The sounds of Sunday have a new ring. A noisy bunch, the UU Congregation,
climbing out of their comfort zones to meet the challenge of change, the folks of
heart and mind jostle to be heard.
Many new programs fill the Congregation’s needs. The music program, the Sunday
Newstalk, Teaching Thursdays, the Thrift Shop and the social justice activities are
popular additions. Grounded by liberal roots, the quest continues.
The joyful sound of music mesmerizes the Congregation. It calms the mind,
uplifting hearts and bringing joy to those who choose to hear. The new choir, an
amazing work in progress, is a pleasant surprise!
During the season, Snowbirds flock seeking a patch of paradise among the palms.
Finding their way, they swell the Congregation and enrich the fold for a short
time. 1stUU welcomes their coming and as quickly adjusts to their leaving, until
Peeking through the trees as an almost invisible presence in the community, the
quietude of the sea-foam green Sanctuary provides a tranquil backdrop to an
exciting presence of a body in motion. For folks engaged in a liberal religious
community, eyeball to eyeball, here is a place to gather and here is a place to
grow. Rich in vibe, the beauty of folks engaged in something larger than
themselves, perhaps planting seed or weaving paths for those who will follow,
perhaps in tribute to those who came before, connect and reconnect.
Empowered by the Spirit of Life, folks of like heart and mind reach out and, in the
instant of a moment, centuries crumble.
Carole Saunders, Summer 2011
|From the Early Nineties
by Carole Saunders