Service and Community
KATHYby Kristen Psaki kristen [dot] psaki [at] gmail [dot] com @kristenpsaki Kathy Glatz
First Unitarian Society of Denver
“After being raised Catholic and having 30 something years of agnosticism, I was in a life-threatening car accident. And, I pondered, ‘why did I live?’ In my pondering my dear friend Jan Owen said, ‘Well, come to church with me.’ She was with First Unitarian at the time and it, uh, just felt right.”
And so, in 1999 Kathy went to church.On #LivingUU
Kathy Glatz is covered in buttons. From “End Israeli Apartheid” to “Migration is Natural” to an image of the word “Racism” underneath a big red prohibition sign that carves through the letters.
Service. Kathy is clear and consistent when she describes why and how she has been a Unitarian Universalist for over fifteen years.
“I’ve always been a volunteer and I used to focus on the environment, and I continue to do that. But, there were more opportunities for service it seemed through the church. If not at church directly then they could guide me to other opportunities. So, service.”
But the community helped too: “And the philosophy that people held regarding political beliefs. It was absolutely imperative to me that I had to be around liberal people. That wasn’t true my entire life. But at that time, when I was healing from the car wreck I was also healing emotionally too. So it was important to have people that thought like I did around.”
“And they didn’t play a lot of organ music either, which always gives me PTSD.” She adds with a chuckle in reference to her Catholic upbringing.
“My family doesn’t understand how the congregational churches work and why we don’t have people telling us what to believe from the top down. And I tell them about our principles (personally I would limit them to 5 and consolidate a couple, but anyway!), and how our principles guide us. And to me, that’s very very helpful.”
“I don’t feel like I need commandments from somebody else. It was actually a grassroots writing of the principles.”Hugs and Smiles
“I love hugs and smiles, selfishly.” Says Kathy openly in response to why she’s committed to a life of service.
“So, immigration is my number one passion right now as you know Palestine took a back seat and so did the environment. And so, hugs from Arturo, selfishly (she laughs).”
Arturo Hernández García faces a final deportation order and is currently living in sanctuary at Kathy’s church, which is part of a larger interfaith New Sanctuary Coalition.
“But when I volunteered with youth or the Sierra Club’s Inner City Outings* which I’m not doing right now because I’m burnt out but I’ll go back to, the hugs and smiles from the inner city kids was worth a lot. And that’s a selfish way of looking at it, but I like to think that even when we don’t see immediate results maybe someday someone will be hugged and smiling. I hope.”
*Sierra Club changed “Inner City Outings” to “Inspiring Connections Outdoors” in July of 2014.Find more stories of #LivingUU here.
The authors of #Living UU are Beth Neavel-Cortez and Kristen Psaki. Beth is a free-lance journalist based in Austin, Texas. She is a life long Unitarian Universalist who knows that story-telling is what saves us. Kristen is a member of First Unitarian Society of Denver. She is pursuing ministerial ordination with Unitarian Universalist Association. Kristen loves chocolate and coffee, together or separately.