Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I have two homes. I'm not wealthy but my second home is filled with people that work very hard every day. They receive no pay and keep coming back for more. My second home caters to my every need, the people inside provided meals this summer, cared for my children and are my kids "other teachers" when I am not homeschooling. It is my church-Westminster Unitarian in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.

My husband and I found this little sanctuary going on three years ago. We made our first visit just as the new minister was settling in and unpacking her boxes. She pushed some boxes aside, reached for some toys for the kids to play with and she listened to our religious experiences and why we were now coming back to a church after a lifetime of not feeling like we fit in anywhere.

Rev. Barbara gave us the tour of the church and the sanctuary. The buildings are separated by a patch of lawn but joined in much love. The sanctuary reminds me of Noah's Ark. It sits on a large hill and when you approach it from the main road the Ark magically arises out of the rock. It is surrounded by a dry moat and huge boulders that are covered with seafoam-green lichen and the brick sidewalk that leads to the door is in a pattern to mimic waves. Inside the sanctuary, when it is very quiet, you can hear the leaves rustle outside and the rain spattering on the roof. The glass windows overlook the rock cliffs where it is thought Native Americans often had signal fires. It is one of the highest places in East Greenwich. Holy Ground perhaps. There is a magnetic energy to these rocks and many of us go there to meditate.

The church building has been well loved-I think it is mostly held together by love and a glue stick. The building has been patched and loved many times, much like my son's stuffed rabbit that provides him safety and comfort regardless of outward appearances. Plans are underway to someday build a new church building so that we can continue the wonderful work of so many hands at Westminster. That building will be filled with love too.
My children thrive here. Our family thrives here. Our hands are busy here and the work fills our hearts. Sunday RE classes are truly a part of our homeschooling. It is difficult at times for us to find curriculum that fits in with our UU beliefs. Recently, we started our own homeschooling group that is welcome to everyone. I wasn't sure how it was going to work with so many different homeschooling philosophies and religious beliefs. Amazingly, it's been great and has provided yet another sanctuary for us. The kids have all made new friends, I've met some great parents and we have newcomers attend almost every week. It has really provided an opportunity for our family to live our UU values. We welcome everyone, provide support to the new homeschoolers, do service projects and learn how to learn together.
As I sit in my office/classroom this morning, I am surrounded by things that remind me of my UU faith. Things that keep me inspired. There is a chalice on our work table, Tibetan prayer flags, a copy of our UU principles, a picture of the church sanctuary, my meditation CD, photos of my family, some Emerson writing as well as poetry that speaks to me, a crocheted cross that was my mom's, a birdnest, and a copy of the hymn-"A Prayer for This House". They are all things that surround me with love much like my spiritual home does. Maybe that's the key-to keep those things, places and people that mean the most to you, very close to your heart.

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