Leah’s Blog
Editor Albany UU | Apr 01, 2021

Creating our Belief Statements – What It Means to Be A People of Becoming – By Leah Purcell, Director of Religious Education and Family Ministry


From our Soul Matters partners on the theme for April, BECOMING

It’s become popular in our society to talk about spiritual journeys as a process of living into your full or true self, of letting the authentic seed inside you unfold. We UU’s agree. We even enshrined it in our principles that celebrate each of our unique seeds (inherent worth) and unique journeys (a free and responsible search). Often the journey of becoming is guided by one’s credo.  These statements of belief and purpose ground us, keep us on track and remind us who we most want to be.

Many of us adults have not really spent much time considering our credo. However, we support our youth to so as a is a core goal of our Coming of Age program. And some adults participate in the annual “This I Believe” service.

You may know Coming of Age by its former name – Rite of Passage. Our ninth and tenth graders are invited to participate in it; it’s separate from our Sunday morning high school youth group. In this program, each of the youth select from a pool of trusted, longtime, and active members of the congregation to be their mentor for the year. The youth and mentors meet with me several times a month via zoom and the youth/mentor pairs meet on their own at least once a month via zoom or in person socially distanced. The program covers UU history, philosophy and theology, governance, religious services, and social justice work. The mentors help the youth explore and discover their own guiding principles by which they make their decisions and remind them of who they want to be. We tell the youth that their belief statements are presentations of what they believe and what they value right now in their lives. It’s a snapshot of where they are now. The Coming of Age will present their believe statements to the congregation in a service they will create for the Sunday service on June 13th.  June might seem far away, but with warmer weather on its way, we are urging the youth to sit down this month to hammer out their statements.

As you can imagine, despite the adult’s best efforts to support and reassure the youth, this task is daunting to them. How many of us have written down our credo, let alone present it to the whole congregation? As I said, some adults in fact do! You may have heard some of your fellow Albany UU’s present at our “This I Believe” service in which adults present their belief statements. This year the “This I Believe” service is May 16th.

So, this month, I invite you to consider what you might put in your believe statement. This might be a way of being in spirit with the adults presenting in the “This I Believe” service and with our Coming of Age youth – a way just to send them good vibes as they get to work.

Our Soul Matters partners have offered us these credo-like pieces below. You might spend some time with them and figure out which one is the one you could have written. Think about why exactly it spoke to you. Was it a particular line or two? Or something more general?

Consider keeping your chosen piece (or part of) in front of you for a few weeks, allowing you the occasion to read it and see it almost every day.

Oh, and if you end up inspired to write your very own credo, by all means, go for it!

Credos to Choose From:

This Is What You Shall Do – Walt Whitman


Famous – Naomi Shihab Nye


If – Rudyard Kipling


Thirty Things I Believe – Tarak McClain


Jonah – Steve Garnaas-Holmes 


Advice to Myself – Louise Erdrich


The only dream worth having is… – Arundhati Roy


Try to Praise the Mutilated World – Adam Zagajewski


The Credo – Robert Fulghum


Things to Think – Robert Bly


“Hokusai Says” – Roger Keys


9 Learnings from 9 Years of Brain Pickings – Maria Popova


12 truths I learned from life & writing – Anne Lamott


9 Life Lessons – Tim Minchin