Hannah Hamilton – President (returning member)

Why did you become a Unitarian Universalist?
I became a Unitarian Universalist in 1993 because it made sense to me. I find that Unitarian Universalism nurtures me spiritually, challenges me intellectually, and calls me to service.

Why did you become a member of UUCS?
My husband joined first, and I listened to the sermons online while I was overseas. It felt very comfortable, like home on my first day, so I kept coming back.

Why did you become a member of the board? What do you hope to accomplish?
I said yes because I want to serve this community which is my spiritual home. I want to be part of UUCS continuing to grow in community during this time of transition, as we determine who we are and what we want to be as this point in the life of our congregation.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
My spare time usually involves something to do with making a quilt. I find sewing a great way to relax while creating something that will be used in a way that provides comfort to the recipient. Reading, getting in a good nap, and exploring new places are also on my list of things I enjoy.

 

John Botts – Vice President (returning member)

Being part of UUCS’ Board of Trustees has been an exhilarating and rewarding experience.  I look forward to continuing my service and working with the congregation to build on UUCS’ success and shape a promising future.

Why did you become a Unitarian Universalist?

I was introduced to Unitarian Universalism by a friend who recommended going to the Columbia

Maryland UU church. Ostensibly, I was looking for a religious community for my new family. Nurturing my daughter in a welcoming community was my first priority.  Yet, I soon realized that my own spiritual growth would be key to sustaining my family.

Why did you become a member of UUCS?

When we later moved to Northern Virginia, we immediately sought out a new UU church.

Unfortunately, my wife, and I separated soon after arriving, and I scrambled to find a supportive community for both my daughter and me.  I was introduced to UUCS.  Our first Sunday there, I was impressed with the congregation and my daughter’s RE program. Most importantly, members stepped forward to support us in our time of challenging transition.

Why did you become a member of the board? What do you hope to accomplish?

After 10 years at UUCS, I agreed to become a board member because I am convinced we have much to offer to Loudoun and Fairfax counties and the Washington D.C. metropolitan region.  I want to help UUCS become an even brighter beacon of hope and inspiration to those seeking to practice shared principles of love, justice, liberty and peace.

 

Mark Lorenz – Secretary (returning member)

Why did you become a Unitarian Universalist?
I was raised in the Catholic Church and did all of the compulsory things required of good Catholic boys. I was really drawn to the youth group where I found a community of love and acceptance. It wasn’t until I was older and in recovery that I again experienced the value of a loving community and began to transition to a more personal style of spirituality. As a UU, I’m encouraged and supported to grow in that spirituality. Moreover, we’re not focused on after-life, but rather on making the world into the place we dream through application of the 7 principles in our lives.Why did you become a member of UUCS?
UUCS was the first UU congregation that I visited. We came to UUCS to help plan and attend my wife’s ex-husband’s celebration of life service. I was moved by the outpouring of love for him and the connections that he had made with the congregation. The congregation was also very welcoming and supportive of us. We began attending regularly shortly thereafter and continued to experience the love and acceptance of the community.

Why did you become a member of the board? What do you hope to accomplish?
I felt honored to be asked to serve on the Board during this important transition period as we exit the interim ministry phase and enter the settled ministry phase with Rev. Aileen. I see this as an opportunity to work with the board to help the congregation and minister live our mission and vision statement.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy spending time with my wife and family. Being retired, I’ve had an opportunity to increase time spent with my family, and also other friends. I enjoy listening to and performing music, so I’m in the choir and the rock band. I also enjoy tending to our bee and butterfly-attracting gardens at home.

 

Susan Reese – Member at Large (returning member)

Why did you become a Unitarian Universalist?
I have never belonged to a church before, but after I attended the first service here and stayed for the Inquirers’ Meeting, I knew this was where I belonged. What I learned that first day led me to believe that Unitarian Universalism was aligned with my beliefs and my philosophy—from social justice to responsible stewardship of our environment. I also love the inspiration and encouragement that it provides for both intellectual and spiritual growth.

Why did you become a member of UUCS?
From the first day that I walked through the door at UUCS, it was clear that the people I met here were going to be my new community. I was welcomed warmly and sincerely. Since then I have developed true friendships and shared laughter and tears, and joy and solace with this congregation and its members.

Why did you become a member of the board? What do you hope to accomplish?
After all the gifts that I have been given by this congregation, how could I say no when asked to be on the board? I hope that we can grow our membership, not only for the sake of our congregation, but because I believe that there are so many people in our community who would benefit in the same way that I have benefited when they are given the same gifts that I have been given.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
In my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing (for fun instead of for a job), painting (not always successfully), and playing with my grandchildren.

 

Sharon Williams – Member at Large (returning member)

Why did you become a Unitarian Universalist?
Raised a Presbyterian, I didn’t feel that Christianity had anything to offer me and the church community of my youth did not fit with my spiritual values. I became a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington 11 years ago because I wanted to join the choir and have a greater sense of community. I joined for the 7 principles and the Choir but I stayed because of the many opportunities to explore the world and my community through social justice. I felt that UUs try to live their faith authentically even it comes out imperfectly most of the time.

Why did you become a member of UUCS?
In 2017, I moved back to my home in Sterling. I wanted to explore the community out here in Loudoun rather than continuing to go to the Arlington Church. I felt welcomed here and felt a connection to UUCS because I had been to a previous poetry slam and a regional racial justice training held in the UUCS sanctuary.

Why did you become a member of the board?
I would like to help UUCS during this challenging “transition” period in our small community. I want to give back to UUCS for what all of you have already given to me in the past year. I hope I can help with recent volunteer burnout. Revitalizing Social Justice and Racial Justice are a top priority of mine. I hope we can build beloved community by using the racial justice lens to all of our work at UUCS. I have a lot to learn but I am excited to get out of my comfort zone. I am open to new ideas and suggestions.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I live by myself with roommates in my house in Sterling. I hike in the woods, putter around my garden, work on various home improvement projects and paint or draw mandalas as a spiritual practice. I work for FirstNet, an independent authority aligned with the Department of Commerce as an Executive Assistant. I am a member of a national racial reconciliation group called Coming to the Table.

 

Raj Mehta – Member at Large

Why did you become a Unitarian Universalist?
I was born into a Jain family in India. I attended church services in my graduate student days in Knoxville, TN.  I quickly found that at each church that they required me to renounce Jainism and become a Christian.  I first attended Holston Valley UU Church in Gray, TN in 1971 when I was invited to speak.  I quickly discovered that I can be a Jain AND a UU.  I became a UU in 1976.  My previous UU affiliations are Holston Valley UU and UU Church of the Highlands, Meadowview, VA.  I have also been a member of Church of the Larger Fellowship (virtual UU church) since 2011.

Why did you become a member of UUCS?
Following my retirement from corporate life, we decided to move to DMV area to be closer to family.  As we investigated Maryland and Northern Virginia locations in 2016, which UU congregation would be our home was an important part of our consideration.  Reverend Anya made us feel very welcome. Long before we moved, she helped us with information about the congregation.  When we finally moved in 2017, we already knew that UUCS would be our home church.

Why did you become a member of the board? What do you hope to accomplish?
I have served on UU Board for eight different times at Holston Valley UU over 41 years.  I held positions such as At Large Board Member, Treasurer, VP, President, Membership Trustee, Founder and Co-Chair of Lay Pastoral Care Team, and Coordinator, Adult RE, Delegate to two GAs.  I have also served as an Investment Advisor for Friends of the Kingsport Library Foundation.  In my corporate and non-profit life, I have grappled with a variety of strategic and financial issues.  I also have substantial of group facilitation experience.  When we moved to UUCS, I fully expected and intended retire from all roles in church leadership.  However, UUCS called and I could not say no.  I am hopeful that UUCS Board will find some uses for my background.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
My spare time involves reading poetry, listening to audiobooks, travel (halted for now), managing our investments, and mentoring.

 

Ruth McDonald – Member at Large

Why did you become a Unitarian Universalist?

I was raised as a Protestant in a very small, poor French Catholic community.

I found that I could not relate to the teachings of either religion. Furthermore, the practices of the French Catholic Church helped maintain the extreme poverty of our town. After I moved to Virginia, I attended religious services in a variety of churches. After a period of time, I knew that I wanted to become a Unitarian Universalist.

When I married Mark, who also became a wonderful father for my son Chris, and then later, when I retired from the practice of medicine, my life became less complicated. I began looking for a Unitarian Church where my husband, who is Jewish, and I would feel welcomed and comfortable.

Why did you become a member of UUCS?

We found the right community at UUCS. It was a warm, inviting community and it was involved in community issues. The Church was helping to support a Middle Eastern widow and her two children. The church was also doing many community things such cooking meals for the poor, providing warm items for the homeless, and helping members of the congregation when they needed it. It also provided lectures on religion that were of special interest to my husband.

Why did you become a member of the board? What do you hope to accomplish?

I joined the board because I was asked. I found that I had become more of an introvert after stopping the practice of medicine. I have always felt best when I could do things for people. I am hoping that I will be able to help UUCS by joining the board.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I enjoy working out at the gym and regaining my strength after various injuries. I enjoy hiking with my husband and dog, going to the movies and trying out various restaurants. I also enjoy reading books, especially historical fiction, and also participating in a book club. I am just starting water coloring which brings back fond memories of doing art as a young person.

 

Maggie Lum – Youth Representative

Why did you become a Unitarian Universalist?

I’ve been coming to UUCS with my parents since I was born, and it has provided me with a loving and safe community to grow up in.

Why did you say “yes” to being on the Board? What do you hope to accomplish?

I said yes to being on the Board because I thought it would be a good way to help out the church by sharing my perspective. I hope to find ways to help the youth become more involved at UUCS.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I am a rising junior at Potomac Falls High School and I love playing flute in the band program there. I also enjoy spending time with friends, reading, singing, and listening to music.