It’s true. Kids do say the darndest things. After dance class one day, my 6-year-old daughter, Emily, said to me, ”Mommy, you know what? I think that Dr. King's dream came true!” We had recently honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Bible school, and Emily was proud of her African-American best friend. “I mean, we hold hands and dance together all the time.” What a simple reality in a complex society. With God as our parent, aren’t we all brothers and sisters?

I feel affirmed that I’m raising my children the way I want to, in a diverse community where anyone can ask any question they want to — when they want to. UCC is a family of many families. Not all of us look alike or live alike, but we all tend to worship in local churches that value our differences as strengths. I want my children to experience both. I want to raise my children in a loving church where we can find unity through diversity.

The UCC also tends to be early on many social issues — often before society is ready to do the same. From working to free the La Amistad captives in the 1800s to working to free the Wilmington Ten in 1973, the forbears of UCC have been at the forefront of national and regional racial equality. Many of our churches provided the community foundation for the Civil Rights Movement. I want my children to help lead their generation toward social justice. The church I grew up in didn't study the bible or ordain women as pastors. It is important to me to raise my son and daughter in a church where women are pastors and language is gender-neutral in our hymnals.

In the UCC, actions and words speak loudly and lovingly. This love and commitment are so clearly communicated in every baptism, as we declare to each new member, “We promise to look over you with love and affection.” We build a community through our words and we build unity through our actions.

It’s comforting to know there are services for my children, my husband and myself as we get older. As a mother and wife, I find safety, comfort and faith in knowing this. I’ve learned so much about my own faith by watching their faith develop. The faith and compassion my kids express is so natural — it’s almost like it’s in their bones — and this makes me feel more confident and assured in my own interactions.

Every parent worries they'll raise their children well and, inevitably, every child will develop some views different from their parents. In the UCC, we are committed to these differences. It’s as though parents and children covenant to learn from each other. The church helps our family understand change and, often, to embrace it. I John 3:18 tells us, “Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in action and truth.” We all must speak and act in truth and devotion. I feel confident my children will feel a sense of place in the church. I look forward to hearing even more “darndest “ things as they grow older. I know my church will, too.

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