I received a request for next year’s pledge to UUCO, and I wrote this reply:
I’m sorry to say that we will not be pledging this year, as we’ve decided to discontinue our membership at UUCO. This has been a long time coming and not a decision we’ve made hastily. Our family has enjoyed our affiliation with the church; in particular, I have learned a great deal about social justice issues and discovered ways to be more involved in my community. However, we feel that the time and financial commitments are too much for us at this time. We plan to re-dedicate ourselves to family, especially our parents, and pursue other volunteer opportunities.
We value the work of the UUCO and feel proud to have participated in some of that work.
Thank you for all of your love and inspiration,
Becky, Sean, Jake, and Maggie McShane
In response, I received this link from our minister and the subsequent message, after I postponed a phone conversation with her:
You might find this article interesting;
OK – but it wouldn’t have been that long or hard of a phone call I think. Please don’t stress. I mainly wanted to talk to you about the possibility of just cutting way back on your pledge, a minimum so you could stay members, but only coming to church when it feels right. No pressure. I am just afraid that if you totally quit, you will wind up missing UUCO and then feel awkward about coming back. We are also doing OWL next fall and and I would really like Jake to take that class if he could – the Utah sex ed is so horrible. I also care about you and want to make sure you are OK. Call me when it feels right, whenever that is. And remember that I am here if you need me, whether you are a member or not. I love you,
I replied with the following:
Thanks for your email. I appreciate your kind words, and I love you too!
The article you sent is interesting–I can relate to some of her experiences too–however, I’ve decided I need to break from the church. Remaining partially involved feels half-hearted. I’m finding spiritual fulfillment through my 12-step program, and the UUCO feels too much like work, of which I have plenty. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s how I feel.
None of this is meant as a criticism of you, the congregation, or the church. I think it’s the nature of any religion, any organization. Volunteerism should be a calling. That’s probably one of the reasons I never joined a church before. Looking back, I think I joined this one in a moment of great desperation, which is probably not the best time to do something so important. Since then, I’ve discovered how much I ran away from my family–the one here in Ogden and the one in SLC. All of the activities I was involved in at church took me away from them in some way. Of course, it hasn’t just been the UUCO, I’ve also over-committed to lots of other volunteer activities. Today I’ve stopped running and am spending my time and energy with family. This is hard work and part of my recovery program. Concentrating on me is my priority right now.
I hope this email helps explain my decision. Please know that I appreciate everything you’ve done for me, and I will be in touch.
The final reply was this:
OK, my sweet Becky. Be well and know you are always welcome here.