By Dave Phillips
(Knocked on the lectern) Knock, Knock, Who’s There? Usually it’s Jehovah’s Witnesses. They come to visit me because I live out in the woods. Here is an opportunity to talk religion as they take their religion seriously. Once I asked one of their young men how he thought about abortion. His face lit up and he leafed through his material until he found a paragraph stating his church’s position on abortion, which he read to me. I asked again for his thoughts, but he had no thoughts of his own.
The person responsible for my becoming a Unitarian Universalist was A. Powell Davies, the minister for whom this church is named. In 1948, my Dad was East with a new job and wrote to us in California “that he had looked all around the D.C. area and that he had found the man!” – A. Powell Davies, minister of All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C. I respected my Father’s opinion and was eager to listen for myself. During my college years at the U. of MD studying chemistry and physics, I made many Sundays at All Souls to enrich my education with his genius and insight.
When the College Park Unitarian Center (now Paint Branch UU Church) opened on the U. of MD campus in the Fall of 1954, I went to hear Dr. Davies via the telephone line there. The first person I met was Ruth, my wife of 46 years. She contributed a lot to my enthusiasm for Unitarian Universalism and we were married by A. Powell Davies in June 1955.
Jessica mentioned in her talk about religion helping one determine what was right and I agree whole heartedly. Ruth and I found that Unitarianism had its roots in Puritan values, but was growing upward like a tree in its search for truth. This search for truth led us with a group from All Souls in 1963 to the March On Washington and to hear Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech – the outstanding speech of the 20th Century!
In Davies Church, we study “Building Your Own Theology” and find the truth most relevant to each person. We also study the World Religions, where we have found religious jewels of great value from the various religions and incorporate them in our own core beliefs. The search leads through the Memorial Committee where we address the most significant religious questions of life and death.
We need to be true to our search for truth because it makes us free to be better and more significant persons and it is a continuous and dynamic process!