Our Prisoner-Members Write
In recent years, we've invited our prisoner-members to write an "Open Letter to General Assembly". Here are some excerpts from some of the letters they've written:
Will wrote: I have been reading and re-reading (and thoroughly enjoying) a copy of your newsletter Quest from November 2006. I found it in a garbage can here at this prison facility. In particular, the message by Rosemary McNatt has lifted me out of dark discouragement over the dead-end of the fundamentalism in which I was raised, into meditation and prayer and hope. "Love Changes Everything" is her message, and I can feel it changing everything for me.
Jan wrote: I am a lifelong UU. I attended UU fellowships as a toddler and child, as a teenager and young adult [but] I was never officially a member of any UU organization until I joined the CLF. I am very thankful for the services they provide. In [this state's] Dept. of Corrections, it is very hard to find any religious or spiritual literature or organizations that are not exclusively Christian. It makes my time go so much better to be reminded that there are people like myself in the world and that my time here is limited. I look forward to attending UU services once again after my release, and to attending General Assembly again. Until I can be there in person, I am pleased to be 'attending' GA on paper and in spirit.
Thomas wrote: One of our basic needs for survival is Belongingness. I know that I get this through the Church of the Larger Fellowship. Being a Unitarian Universalist has changed my life. With the help of UU correspondence courses, UUWorld magazine, CLF's monthly Quest, CLF’s Loan Library, my Letter Writing 'match' and the staff at the Prison Ministry, I have this belongingness. All of this is of great importance to me. This helps me to stay positive and I now strive to better myself each day. I know that I'm now a much better person than I was in the past. And I will still be growing in my walk.
William wrote: Finding a church to accept an openly gay man is not very easy! But to find that UUs not only accept, but ordain, and fight for the rights of sexually discriminated people, was to me, a mind blowing experience! When I read that UU 'is a way of being religious, rather than a religious doctrine', that was very inspiring to me: to see my own belief in print, after 40 years of searching, gives me hope that I can finally find a place to call HOME! Even though I am new to the UU Church, I already have lots of material through the CLF Prison Ministry. I can't wait for my new lessons, to begin studying more about UUs. I hope to some day be able to help others the way the UU Church has helped me.