Tuesday, 17 April 2012

A testimonial from Christina Smith

Presented at the Unitarian General Assembly meetings, April, 2012:

My name is Christina Smith and I am a lay person at Belper Chapel in Derbyshire.

15 years ago, when I was living in New York and raising 4 children, I was looking for something
that reflected my own values and would help me underpin these values for my children in a place
where I had no extended family or support and where the culture we were living in seemed very ego driven.

During a visit from my sister, who was a UK Unitarian, I went along to a Unitarian Universalist
fellowship - and as they say, the rest is history. I had found a place where we as a family, with all
our personalities and baggage were welcome, and where I could reinforce the message that it was how you lived your life that was important not what you possessed or the size of your house or even what grades you got in school.

I know that this fellowship and the youth programme that my older children had access to helped
them survive their American High School experience and their subsequent, and sometimes
tumultuous, journeys into adult hood. It also helped me survive their journeys too!

Recently, I was reminded again, of how important the Unitarian values and youth programmes are when my 14 year old daughter, who had been watching a TV programme about a certain designer who was working with teens who had low self esteem and body issues said, 'you know mum those teens need to go to Gt. Hucklow to learn how to accept themselves and be comfortable with who they are.' My reply to her was that I wished all children had access to the Unitarian Youth

So in closing, this is why when I am 49 years old with, if I am very lucky 20 years of service left to
give, I have decided that, right here in the UK Unitarian movement, is where I want give it.
Because I know how important it is for families today to find a spiritual home that is welcoming
and affirming and one that will challenge them to grow, discover and accept who they are.

Thank you.

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