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Kasey Castleberry Wordsmith http://www.svin.us
I have always been a Universalist, though I was unfamiliar with the term until much later in my life. I believe that All-That-Is vibrates at the frequency of Love, so how could any “Father” damn His children to Hell?
Mind, I have lots of “less than orthodox” beliefs about reality and about the Divine. I never seemed to fit in with any mainstream faith organization. Somehow, I stumbled upon Mountain Light Unitarian Universalist Church and found that all of my “weird” beliefs would be tolerated, some even encouraged – so long as my personal search for Truth was both free and responsible.
This was the beloved community for which I had been searching. I found a new family when I found Mountain Light and Unitarian Universalism.
I came to Mountain Light as an act of defiance towards a fundamentalist Christian rehab group that required my daughter to attend church each Sunday that she was allowed home. I could not bear the churches that were approved for her and, in desperation, remembered Mountain Light. My daughter and I walked in not knowing what to expect and immediately I felt that I had arrived home! The rehab group wasn’t happy with my choice but I definitely was.
My experience here is one of love and acceptance no matter where you are at in your life or spiritual journey. I love being surrounded by thoughtful, intelligent people who allow me to better understand other viewpoints on many different subjects and agreement with those viewpoints isn’t a requirement. How joyful and freeing that is!
I understand now why I was never quite comfortable in the religion of my childhood. I was a Unitarian Universalist my entire life but I just didn’t know what it was or what to call it. I can’t imagine not having this loving community of friends to lift my spirits and challenge my world view each week!
I have been a Unitarian Universalist for over 50 years and was delighted to find MLUUC when we moved to Ellijay from Atlanta. It is so great to have a group that doesn’t tell you what you have to believe, but lets you follow your own path. This is such a warm, nurturing group that both challenges me to be my best and loves me anyway when I’m not perfect.
My husband and I have visited Unity and UU Churches for many years but this is the first time we have become members of a UU Congregation. Why? MLUUC is BY FAR the most friendly, kind, and accepting congregation we have ever encountered in our lives!!! The people of MLUUC genuinely care about each other and newcomers. It is obvious that the people of MLUUC are enlightened, are open to new and different ways to be spiritual, and also focus on giving back to their community. We love the positive energy of MLUUC and the way the members take care of each other. Thank you to Kasey, Helen, Gayle, and Bruce…just to name a few of those members who have made us feel so welcome.
Just a little background on us: Since my husband spent 33 years as a Navy Chaplain we have been a part of and visited many faith groups. No matter what faith group we were part of as a result of my husband’s military career, we always have held our UU belief system close to heart. My husband and I were both raised in fundamentalist churches but eventually left that ideology many years ago for a UU belief system that is more accepting of all people no matter where they are on their spiritual journey. Personally, I slowly left fundamentalist Christianity at the age of 20 when I saw my friends and mentors and family judging and being judged and shamed for their life choices. I raised my first two children in a Unity church in Washington State and Pensacola, FL, and we are happy to have found Mountain Light to be part of when we are in Ellijay. I’m happy my youngest son gets to learn the fundamental teachings of UU as a child which will help guide him to be an open minded adult…. accepting and kind to all people regardless of their faith group, gender identity, and life choices. 🙂
My husband, Bruce, and I first discovered Mountain Light in May 2011. We had been hoping to find a Unitarian church in north Georgia since moving to Talking Rock in 2010. We knew immediately we had found our church home.
Mountain Light exemplifies the Unitarian belief in the acceptance, as well as the celebration, of all individuals. It is a joy to experience MLUUC members welcoming visitors and friends every Sunday. Visitors are delighted when they realize their beliefs are embraced and not rejected or criticized. Whether a family of one or a family of 15, you are supported at Mountain Light.
I have found the more involved I become at MLUUC, the happier I am and the more I love the members and friends I meet. I was raised as a Methodist in Oklahoma. Today, I embrace the inclusiveness of all people, which is an inspiring foundation of Unitarian Universalism.
Bruce and I were married in a Unitarian church in Oklahoma City. We attended UU churches in Little Rock and Atlanta with our two grown sons, Jacob and Jordan. I joined MLUUC in 2012 and Bruce joined in 2015. We could not be more pleased. You will be pleased when you experience UU-ism, too.
I was raised Catholic and went to a women’s Catholic college, was married at a Catholic Church. Left the church in 1970 and gave up church entirely. When I retired, I decided to move to Georgia to be near my daughter. A good friend told me that if I wanted some liberal friends that I should look up a Unitarian church. I tried Mountain Light reluctantly, as I did not have a good opinion of churches. Other than vacations I have not missed a Sunday.
Mountain Light is my second home. It is filled with people who not only accept you for who you are, they will love you. It is a place to learn and expand who you are, to become a more loving and accepting person. Come and see what a loving, welcoming and unusual group we are.
My first encounter with UU was 60 years ago in Rochester, NY, at the church Susan B. Anthony had attended. Since then I’ve been affiliated with UUs in Brooklyn, Muncie Indiana, Atlanta, and now Ellijay. At each location, I always felt welcome, included, listened to, and did not have to park my brain at the door to enter the church. MLUUC stands out as the exemplification of UU values, and I feel lucky to have found this place. Good people, good services, good thoughts. I love being a Jewnitarian.
Why Mountain Light UU Church is my faith community
Way, way back in my youth I was raised Catholic. The questioning part of me had a terrible time staying within the well-defined lines and walls Catholicism had drawn centuries ago…so much so that one day, the nuns who taught catechism called my parents and suggested I find another activity on Saturday mornings. It seemed my constant questioning about the concept of the Trinity was frustrating them to no end. Of course, they didn’t take into account my frustration since they never gave me answers that made any sense.
So, upon renouncing my affiliation with Catholicism in my early 20’s, I was unchurched and happy to be. Until my daughter came along, and I realized I was the one being shortchanged. None of the more “traditional” churches appealed. One day, I attended a small Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Alfred, NY. What a life changing day for me! Once again, I could explore my spirituality, and this time I would be supported, encouraged, and loved.
After moving from Upstate NY to Ellijay, GA we found Mountain Light Unitarian Universalist Church. At that time, back in early 2010, this church was about the size of the fellowship up north. We met at the local Arts building downtown, and there were Sundays when if 10 of us were there, we felt huge! We were clearly at home with this small group of spiritual seekers as well, and joined rather quickly. We were always “in the red” financially but always found a way to pay the rent as well as our “fair share” to the Mother Church. We protested the KKK Rally held at the local Courthouse and stood on the side of love for our Latino population. Slowly, we grew!
Mountain Light Unitarian Universalist Church is my “soul food”. As much as I love collard greens, cornbread, black-eyed peas, and okra, I get all that and so much more every Sunday I am at MLUUC. Reclaiming my spirituality and finding like-minded spiritual sojourners has given me strength in oh so many ways. Knowing I can have my soul food every Sunday fuels me for whatever comes before me in the week ahead. The amazing group of Sunday speakers who share their passions, whether sharing another religious tradition, or something of interest to such as health insurance, living wills, mindful eating always offer me much food for thought throughout the week.
However, the very best part of MLUUC is our members. WE are an amazing community of love, hope and service. We support and affirm the LGBTQ community, our local Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Ellijay’s community Thanksgiving Dinner, and not so local-Doctors without Borders, Smile Train, immigrant rights, and places that have suffered enormous tragedy such as Man O’ War Cay after Hurricane Dorian. As much as all of that lifts our hearts, we serve our members. MLUUC is one of the main reasons Ted and I are still together. During a life threatening illness six years ago, my faith family was there in prayer and in service. Lifting Ted up when there seemed little hope. When the day came I was finally able to come home, MLUUC came together and had our home cleaned top to bottom. They were a daily presence in the myriad of hospitals and the nursing home. The cards they sent, the songs they sang….I would not be writing this if not for MLUUC.
Unitarian Universalist Churches are open to all who enjoy community, exploring philosophy and theology with an open heart and mind. For me, MLUUC is a part of the fabric of my being. A shelter from the storms that rage outside our walls, a safe place to be who I am, with unconditional love surrounding me.
I first visited Mountain Light just a few years ago–Terry [Woehr] said I would like it, and she was right. And when I signed the membership book Gayle said I would be a better person for it–and she was right, too. And here is my spiritual family, which is something I never before had in my life. And it is all good!
Growing up I attended the Baptist and then the Christian Church with my parents. It never felt right. I never felt at home. As an adult I hardly ever attended church. Once I moved to Ellijay I was told about Mountain Light UU Church. I attended and really enjoyed the people and the services. However, I drifted away for several years. I have been attending now for about two years. What I like most about the church are the people. The people are the biggest asset of MLUUC. The congregation is an open, caring community. Everyone is accepted for who they are, regardless of beliefs or self identity.
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