I spent this past weekend as a guest of the Pennsylvania Universalist Convention at the Smithton Unitarian Universalist Church. As I learned when they first contacted me a few months ago, a number of the Universalist state conventions did not dissolve at the time of the merger in 1961, and have continued to operate since that time. At this point, the Pennsylvania Convention includes seven churches covering every corner of the state.
It was a wonderful time and I met some very interesting (and colorful!) folks. It is definitely a small world. One long time participant just finished a term on the Meadville Lombard Theological School Board of Trustees, so we had much to talk about. A few folks were familiar from General Assembly. And, the pianist for the Saturday evening concert and Sunday morning service was someone who used to be friends with my next door neighbor 35 years ago.
Networking is something I’ve always had to work at. I envy those folks for whom it comes naturally. But, the returns can be very rewarding. Especially in a religious organization, the development of social networks can lead to so many opportunities and inspirations that might not otherwise occur. And, of course, as someone who considers himself a somewhat old school Unitarian atheist humanist, it gave me a great chance to brush up on our Universalist heritage, which is alive and well in Pennsylvania!