by Jonathan Peter Belling, age 15, annual attendee since 2014
Each night of UUMAC (UU Mid-Atlantic Community) in the blistering heat of July my friends and I went on a walk. Despite having just met each other we formed a deep bond. Our destination was a large stone and metal statue of Jesus at the top of the hill. This was an ideal spot providing a place we could call ours. Once we arrived we would sit there for well over an hour. We would watch the sunset and the day to fade into night.
I remember one walk. It was Thursday night and we were making our usual journey up the hill. The week nearing its end, someone brought up how great UUMAC had been. We went around sharing what our favorite part of the week had been. One person mentioned how thankful they were that this group was so accepting. Others echoed similar things saying they hadn’t felt this comfortable with a group of people in a long time.
This was an emotional conversation; showing our appreciation verbally wasn’t a thing any of us did often. The sharing was seemingly coming to a close when someone pointed out how much they were going to miss us. And how they wished we all lived close to one another. We all started to cry. These were not sad tears though, they were tears of gratitude. Appreciation that our parents and, at the end of the day, our faith had brought us together. This morphed into a two-hour long conversation about things we were grateful for. That night I felt such an overwhelming connection to other people. An intangible energy connecting all of us. This is the spirit of UUMAC, one I encourage you to join.
UUMAC 2022 will be July 10-16 at DeSales University near Allentown, PA. UUMAC is a fully multi-generational, intentional community, with programming in the morning for children and youth, teens, and YAs/adults. Afternoons include scheduled and ad hoc activities both on and off campus, with intergenerational time and “Night Owls” socializing after dinner. Individuals and families return year after year because UUMAC is an essential part of their lives and faith practice. Registration is open! Learn more at the UUMAC website.