President’s Message for April 2023

There was a time in my life when I was searching for answers to questions like “Who am I?” and “What am I here for?”, “Why do I experience awe and wonder?”, and “How do I help create a community that reflects my values?”

I was searching for a place where I could explore my beliefs, learn about other religions and beliefs, and share those thoughts and ideas with other like-minded people. I found that emergent beliefs that evolve from my fundamental beliefs aligned well with the UU principles. These include the inherent worth and dignity of every being, the democratic process, and respect and stewardship of the planet and the interdependent web of life.

In those early days of my involvement with UU, we only had a “church-in-a-box” where we set up each Sunday in a community room at an apartment complex or the multipurpose room at the local middle school. We did everything ourselves; there was no minister or staff to help us. We wrote and gave our own sermons, played our own music, created our own rituals, and taught RE ourselves. We were a dedicated group of people.

Now, 30 years later, I am president of the board of a congregation that owns its own building and parking lot, has a full-time minister and a half-time staff to support a multitude of ministries, music, programs, outreach, social justice, and continuing education, while still offering a place to explore and develop my beliefs and address those fundamental questions that started me on this journey so many years ago.

We have built a valuable resource for our community. Let’s continue to nurture it and help it grow. Every pledge and volunteer service helps.

Just as I started with a nascent UU group 30 years ago, our friends in Temecula and Murrieta are working towards establishing their own UU fellowship. We can share our experience and knowledge to help them.

Tom Carlstrom, Board President