Would you like your story to appear here? If you submit it to Comm-coordinator@c-vuu.org, it can. Tell us how you discovered Coastal Virginia Unitarian Universalists (CVUU) or what keeps you coming back.

Hear from the members of CVUU’s Young Adult Group (YAG):

This video was produced by CVUU’s YAG for our 2020 Stewardship Campaign.

Ellie has been a member of CVUU for decades. This is her story:

I was raised in this church and this church has a history of taking care of me. When my mother had her troubles in the late sixties early seventies, and my brothers and I were 13, 14 and 15, the Leoboldts took in my brothers and the Lovells took me in. They saved us and that saved my mom.

And then six years ago I really needed help. My beautiful, beautiful boy Garrett died. I cannot possibly explain the level of devastation or the force of the impact that had on our lives. But within what seemed like minutes of being informed, we were surrounded. Amy Hutchison, Martha Shore and Elisa Dickon and more came with comfort and they held me and they listened and they didn’t turn away from my sobs. We didn’t have a minister at the time and Elisa and Martha, who knew and loved Garrett too, agreed to be our ministers for this. They walked with us through the process of saying goodbye to our son. And Sharon Harrell gathered all her resources, emotional, physical and human and they made a beautiful reception that I didn’t have the energy to hardly even think about. I can’t name all of the people that reached out and filled in and cared for us in that time that was mostly a blur. But we never felt alone.

And the food! The food that people brought to our house was comfort food in the truest sense of the word. We didn’t cook for weeks. In fact, once Mark put a note on the door just to say we needed a little quiet time and when we went back to take the note down there were flowers and food and paper products and drinks sitting on the front porch.

But we finally ran out.

We had to go and get some food. We either had to go to the grocery store or out to eat and both options seemed beyond what we had the energy for. We finally decided to go out to get a bite, step back into the world, but it was a herculean effort. We opened the door to go and there on the porch was a pot of soup from Lisa, with bread and I think salad and maybe even dessert. What I remember was the relief that we could stay for one more day in the cocoon of care that this church wrapped us in. In our moment of brave despair Lisa’s gift lifted us and we will always be grateful.

So now when I get a Meal Train request from the Caring Team, I always sign up, I know what a difference it makes. Don’t be reluctant to ask, I know what a difference it makes.

Love, Ellie

Tracy has been on staff for 4 years and a member since 2020:

At the urging of a close friend, (thank you Anne Odell!) I took a job at Coastal Virginia Unitarian Universalists as the communication coordinator. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into but was keeping an open mind. Up until then, I had never heard of Unitarian Universalists. Becoming a “church lady” was not something I had any aspirations to do. In fact, church was something I had planned on never doing ever again. The religion I was raised with was never a good fit – it had never brought me much comfort or a sense of belonging and I left it behind many years ago. I have the heart of a humanist. I don’t believe in heaven, but take comfort in knowing I am made of stardust. I have been more awe-filled in a kayak or a beach chair watching natural wonders than in any pew. In my 50 plus years, I have found more solace in Dr. Who and Carl Sagan than any faith keepers. When I took this job I was not looking to be moved, inspired, or nourished – it was just going to be a job. But, this place is not what I expected. CVUU is exactly what I didn’t know I needed. Because of the nature of this job, I get to bear witness to some of the happiest and saddest moments in the lives of this congregation. I get to be a part of their creative and passionate efforts to make the world a nicer place for our fellow human beings. I get to bear witness to the compassion and support they give freely to one another. And I couldn’t be happier. I have made such wonderful friends here and I finally found somewhere that fits me. I have found another place to call home.

Love, Tracy