By Lauren and Mike Worley
Lauren: Hello, my name is Lauren Worley and I have been a member of Neighborhood church since my childhood
Mike: and my name is Mike Worley and I have been a member of the church since 2016. If you don’t see us in the service or on the patio, it’s because we can be found in the Senior High room advising the church’s amazing group of teens each Sunday.
Lauren: Let me set the scene. The year is 2006. I have recently graduated from college, and am on the first of many post graduate jobs. I am in the car with my dad and two good friends and I am going to Mexico for the first time. We cross the border, we get lost, I’m uncertain about what to expect, and a little anxious about my first Esperanza trip. We finally figure out where we are going and arrive in La Gloria. We turn left at the Pemex, right at the bejeweled round steps, and arrive at Posada Esperanza. As we pull in I see other Neighborhood members relaxing on the patio, I see smiles, I hear laughter, and I start to feel at home. The weekend ends and I’m sore, dirty, and hooked. Fast forward 12 years and I continue to go to what feels like a second home. The anxiety is gone. The joy remains. I’m thrilled when I get to share this trip with other folks. I love being the person on the patio welcoming the new Esperanza converts. I love sharing my joy with the teens who come with us to build, and with my friends and family. My year is not complete without this Esperanza trip.
Mike: The year is 2012, I had met Lauren the year prior, and was getting ready to travel with the church to Mexico. I was hesitant to go with the Esperanza group because I hadn’t decided if I should become a member of the church yet and I’d never been to Mexico before. What I saw when I went was awe inspiring. Local members of the community in Tijuana-adjacent neighborhoods came together to help build each other’s houses. We helped them tear down a concrete-filled tire wall that was eventually replaced with a more stable, safer, cinderblock wall. I laughed and smiled throughout the entirety of all the hard work with many members of the church working by my side. I felt like I made a difference in the Esperanza community. That trip helped shape my decision to become a member and contribute at Neighborhood.
Lauren: We are both life long Unitarian Universalists. Our lives are tied to our faith. Our vacations are centered around advising at senior high camps at deBenneville. We even met at the young adult camp there. A huge group of our friends are people we have known growing up in the UU community.
Mike: Our relationship has grown in connection to this church; we can attribute the first “I love you” moment to Esperanza, we got married in the labyrinth in the courtyard outside, our honeymoon was built to include Esperanza in our trip, and our Sundays are spent watching the newest generation of UUs be amazing. This church has given us so much and helped develop who we are, it only makes sense that we give back to the church.
Lauren: Our pledge isn’t at a sustaining level, that’s not what we can give yet. But we recognize that our community is tied to this church and the people in it and so we give in order to sustain that community.
Mike: We give in order to sustain Esperanza.
Lauren: We give in order to sustain the youth group.
Mike: So please join us in giving to sustain what you love about this community. And please join us at Esperanza next month; we will be the ones greeting you from the patio.
The 2018-2019 Pledge Campaign is underway. Please consider submitting your pledge as soon as possible online or via mail. You can submit your pledge online at http://neighborhooduu.org/pledge/. Have any questions? Email Liz Murphy, the Membership & Stewardship Assistant, at firstname.lastname@example.org.