2022 Congregant Testimonies

“It has become my community, my family in Pittsburgh, and my source of strength. I find that I can do more about things that matter to me (issues of climate change, social justice, diversity) through First Church than I can alone and that I am truly not alone.”

“This is my Forever Church – this old dog has found her forever home in a community which operates by principles that I’ve come to recognize as aligned with my own. There are people who, with scarcely concealed contempt, refer to people as “givers” and “takers”. I have come to understand that we are all givers and takers, sometimes even at the same time. First Unitarian Universalist has shown me that I am welcome just as I am, and I am invited to give of my means, both material and otherwise. There is a real commitment to the first principle in this church and I am so grateful.”

“The members are our family.”

“I can read each of our seven principles and believe in them without any doubt as a human being. I can apply these principles to the best of my ability each and every day of my life as a guide. One of the most important principles to me, is the 7th principle. The “respect for the interdependent web of all existence” raises my awareness that I am not separate from the world around me. Every choice that I make has an effect in this world. It is like dropping a pebble into a pond: the action that I take ripples from the center of the impact of that choice.”

“This church’s values line up with me on a profound level. I connect deeply with the readings, songs, and messages on a weekly basis and the human connections feed a spiritual hunger I’ve had since leaving the Christian faith. I didn’t believe that a place like this could exist and I’m happy to call it my spiritual home.”

“First Unitarian matters deeply to me because… As much as we’d like to shed them and dive into a glorious future, our traditions are what brought us here and what we rely on to chart a path forward. The Unitarian tradition is not without its bumps in the road, but it is one that is often on the right side of history and has done things in the realm of social justice that make me proud to be a member and to say that I am a Unitarian. Giving money directly to people I know and trust for direct community action will always resonate more with me, and knowing the proud history of First Unitarian Pittsburgh, I can have faith that this money will go towards improving my community for the better.

I always used to (half) joke that the reason I left Western Christianity was the uncompromising dogma about Jesus Christ being the only path to salvation. Nothing against Christ, but I would use Gandhi as the unimpeachable example: so one of the purest and loving human beings to ever live is in hell or purgatory if he didn’t accept Christ into his heart? That type of contradiction was unfathomable to me for people to ignore. Thus, I was touched when my child went to her first religious education class and it was located in the Gandhi room, across from a library of scriptures from the Quran and the Tao and the Bhagavad Gita. It felt like squaring a circle and arriving home after many years away.”