Simple yet deep. And you can take the question in many different directions. What drew you here? What keeps you coming back? Why are you active? What is a favorite memory? The list could go on and on.I came because I was invited by now former Pastor Rick. This was in late 1996/early 1997. I was intrigued by a church that not only welcomed gay and lesbian people, but also would employ a gay man as its pastor. Plus, Faith UCC was open to allowing commitment ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples and Mark and I were quickly heading towards that direction. After our non-legally recognized wedding ceremony, I decided to stick around and check it out.
I liked the congregation. It was a larger congregation back then. There was a mix of het and gay folks; disabled and non disabled; seniors, boomers, kids, xers, and kids. I particularly was drawn to the church's tradition of sharing joys and concerns during worship, which seemed to offer a sense of intimacy that I hadn't experienced before. I knew that Mark and I were working towards eventually having kids. I wanted to be part of a church community that could be a nurturing place for my future kids.
I'm active because I'm a strong believer in supporting the church that you belong to. That includes tithing and participation in activities. There are still activities that we miss, but we do our best.
One of my favorite memories was a doggie play group that I used to attend at the church with Pastor Rick and several of the church's neighbors. Every afternoon at 4 PM we would gather in the church's fenced yard and let the dogs run wild. There's no way I would be able to participate in such as activity again, but it was a special time for me. Fortunately, Iowa City now has a couple different dog parks to choose from so the church play group isn't needed much anymore. On a related note, I really have enjoyed the "Blessing of the Animal" ceremonies from past years. There's something pretty unique and special about worshipping God with a bunch of yapping dogs and hissing cats.