Meet John

1. How long have you been at United and what drew you to United?

I attended United in  the 90's for a couple years and then returned for good ten years ago.  I was drawn to the openness, sense of community and friendliness of everyone at United.
 

2. What other faith traditions have you encountered in your life?

I grew up in the Catholic tradition, going to parochial school through eighth grade, attending mass before school and I was also an altar boy. I am intrigued by Buddhism based on what I have read and my encounters with Buddhist speakers that have visited United.
 

3. What was your childhood dream job?

As a kid I wanted to be either a pro football player or a farmer.  Throwing rotten tomatoes in the garden is the closest I came to either of those professions.
 

4. What is the one thing about life that has surprised you the most?

The thing that surprises me most is the level of injustice that has been tolerated throughout our country's history.
 

5. Describe yourself in three words.

Husband, Dad, amaze-errific
 

6. Who is your hero and why?

I have two heroes: Leonardo da Vinci because he was accomplished in so many fields - anatomy, inventor, artist, sculptor.  The second is my Mom.  She raised 11 kids, was the hub of the family, and we still all get together for holidays three times a year.   Those gatherings generally have more than 50 in attendance and if all of the children, grandchildren, spouses  and great-grand children attend there would be more than 100.   She used to tell us as kids to 'count your blessings' which I never understood until I was an adult, which I interpret to mean ' be happy with what you have. Good advice to live by.
 

Meet Herb and Dona

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1. How long have you been at United and what drew you to United?

We have been at United since the congregation moved to Waukesha in 2012. We were pleased to have a UU congregation so close to home, but the reasons we chose United are the warm welcome we received and the uplifting messages we heard. We were the first folks to sign the book in the Washington Avenue location!
 

2. What other faith traditions have you encountered in your life?

Dona: I have been Presbyterian (elder), Congregation and Lutheran. I enjoyed playing in handbell groups and singing in the choir.

Herb: Roman Catholic (alter boy, ad al tare dei award), Lutheran (ULCA) Council member and lay leader and Presbyterian (elder)
 

3. If a movie was made about your life, what actor would play you?

Dona: In a movie about my life, I would be the ordinary neighbor lady who tires to enjoy each day with family, friends and hobbies. Jean Stapleton would be my choice (but not her Edith Bunker persona)

Herb: Jack Klugman in the "Odd Couple"
 

4. What are you passionate about?

Dona: I am passionate about the individualism endorsed by Unitarian Universalism.

Herb: I am passionate about my family. Each person is respected and encouraged to be a positive role model every day.
 

5. What is your favorite word?

Dona: My favorite word is honesty. One needs to be honest with oneself first and hope that a little rubs off on others.

Herb: 'WHAT' and/or 'WHY'
 

6. What is one thing about life that has surprised you most?

Dona: The surprise in my life is that I have been retired for more years than I taught public school.

Herb:That is has lasted so long but still, there is so much to do.
 

7. What have you been some of your greatest challenges?

Dona: Striving to keep a healthy balance in my daily life is challenging.

Herb: Completing requirements for a PhD from Syracuse University, writing my dissertation ("Central Place Theory: Non-randomness of Early Settlement Patterns - Upstate New York), and leading three different 4-week student study tours to the USSR during Brezhnev's reign.

Meet Shallece

1. What drew you to United?
From my very first interview, United presented itself as a warm and open-minded environment. This non-judgmental and non-creedal setting allows people to follow their faith, as they see it, while including a community to support personal growth, faith, and family. These ideals, supported with a wonderful staff and congregation is what drew me to United. I'm looking forward to becoming a part of this community and making beautiful music together. 

2. What other faith traditions have you encountered in your life?
Surprisingly, I was raised Mormon. While, I no longer practice Mormonism, my personal experience, as a child, was wonderful. They place high value on family, which is what I remember most about my time in the LDS Church. As I became an adult, I began having issues with some of their principles and teachings, which is why I became inactive. I often find myself defending the church, because I think it is greatly misunderstood. Nevertheless, I have a very strong faith and am still discovering my relationship with religion and God. 

3. Who is your hero and why?
My mom. She has the most beautiful soul I have ever met. Her intentions are always good, her faith never falters, and she loves so deeply and unconditionally, it amazes me. I can only hope to emulate the love she displays not only to her family, but to everyone she comes in contact with. She makes any and all sacrifices for the ones she loves, and she is strong through the toughest of times. 

4. What was your childhood dream job?
As a small child, I wanted to be an astronaut. I was always fascinated with space. That changed as I became a young adult, which is when I fell in love with music. 
 

5. If a movie was made about your life, what actor would play you?
Melissa McCarthy. No question. She is my soul-sister! Our humor is exactly the same, and I know she could capture my personality.

6. What is the one thing about life that has surprised you the most?
The saying, "If you put your mind to it, you can achieve it,"  is true! My mom always use to tell me this, encouraging me to follow my dreams. For a while as an adult, I doubted this, but in the past 4 years I proved myself wrong. Now, I truly believe that if you put in the work, persistence, and passion, you can do anything you put your mind to! 

Meet Darlyn

1. How long have you been at United and what drew you to United?
I've been coming with my partner sporadically for about 3 years, and we became members early this summer. I grew up Lutheran and was heavily involved in a Christian organization in college, and I wanted that sense of community back but without all the "rules" that so many churches place upon their members.

2. What other faith traditions have you encountered in your life?
I grew up in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) church. I was baptized and confirmed there.

3. What is your favorite word?
I can't pick just one! I have a degree in Language Arts Education--I love words in general!

4. What is the most unusual thing you've ever eaten?
7 years worth of summer camp food. Most of it is pretty unusual.

5. What is your guilty pleasure?
Netflix.

6. What are you passionate about?
Loving everyone, no matter what. I believe that all people deserve to be respected and treated well, no matter who they are. It isn't our job to judge others. We never know what life has thrown at someone. It's our job to love people

Meet Paula

1. How long have you been at United and what drew you to United?
I have been at United for 20 years.  We first began looking for a church when our children were young, 6 and 3.  My husband is Jewish and I was raised Catholic so we were searching for something that would work for both of us.  We wanted our children to grow up in a church with that type of community.  We were also looking for a liberal safe haven.

2. What other faith traditions have you encountered in your life?
I was raised by a devout Catholic mother and a father who was also Catholic but did not really practice his religion.  I worked as an oncology social worker at a hospital in Chicago and was the team leader of a hospice program.  The hospital had a large Jewish population and I worked closely with the rabbi who was the hospital chaplain.  I then also married into a Jewish family so I have had experience with that religion also.

3. What activities/committees have you been involved with at United?
I have been on the Board 3 times and have served as the Board facilitator twice.  I have been on the auction committee since the inception of the auction, 14 years ago.  I have taught religious education and been the chair of the religious education committee.  I have served on the nominating committee, the committee on ministry and have been very involved in finding several interim and consulting ministers.

4. What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
The obvious answer to my greatest accomplishment is raising my children to be independent, productive and happy adults.  I am also very proud of the fact that I have worked as a social worker and a lactation consultant for many years and I feel that I have had the privilege of helping people during significant times of their lives.

5. What is your guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasure is reality T.V., from wedding dresses to shark week!

6. What is your dream vacation spot?
My dream vacation spot is almost anywhere!  I love and live to travel!  My favorites are: anywhere in France and the Valentin Resort in the Riviera Maya.

Meet Evan and Chad

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1. How long have you been at United and what drew you to United?
We were drawn to United because we moved back to Wisconsin and we had the desire to find a spiritual community.  We have been at United since January of 2014 although we became members in March of that year.  We instantly felt at home here at United.  The people, the music and of course the coffee kept us coming back. 

2. What other faith traditions have you encountered in your life?
Evan: I was confirmed with the Methodist Church.  I have privately studied Buddhism and more recently Taoism.  I love that my community at church embraces me fully along with my interests in other faith traditions.

Chad: I grew up in the Catholic Church and in my early adulthood I explored other Christian denominations.  Later my spiritual affinity shifted to the philosophy of Taoism.  Tai Chi and Chi Kung are activities I continue to practice. 

3. What do you enjoy in your leisure time?
Evan: Reading, tutoring, gardening, watching Star Trek (any and all) and painting

Chad: Playing with our dogs, watching LOST, visiting family, time at my parent's cabin and traveling.

4. What is one thing about life that has surprised you the most?
Evan: This is sort of a funny question, right? If I have to respond, I'd say birth would be the one thing that surprised me the most.

Chad: I had a near death experience last year when my heart stopped for 17 seconds.  There was no white light.

5. What is your favorite word?
Evan: Heart

Chad: Tree

6. Describe each other in three words:
Evan: Devoted, inquisitive and compassionate

Chad: Loveable, determined and explorer