Caught in the Act of Generosity: Bill Miller
by Christina Socorro Yovovich of the Rad Gen Committee
First Unitarian is the first church Bill Miller has ever been a member of. He has had a connection to a local Lutheran church through his wife and children, but never joined himself as he is an atheist. Over the years he drove by First U on his way to work, seeing the new sanctuary being built, and reading the sign announcing the topics of the weeks’ sermons. In 2017 he started attending, and in 2018 he became a member. He describes himself as part of the “Trump bump,” as he joined during that time seeking a like-minded community and a way to feel less isolated. He wanted to be somewhere he could say what he believed.
Bill was surprised to be contacted for the column, as he describes his volunteer efforts as “nothing special”—but, what is special is that from the start he saw that many areas of the church were in need of volunteers and worked to seek out the best fit. He started by volunteering in the after-school tutoring program and then Family Promise. Currently he volunteers at the Connections Table 1 or 2 Sundays a month, for Earth Web, for the Landscaping Committee during their cleanup weekends, and in RE with the pre-K–3rd grade class.
At the Connections Table he is a friendly face who helps to sign up those interested in becoming members. One Sunday when the table was still set up outside, he recalls signing up 7 people. Lately, he signs up one or so people each Sunday. He started volunteering with RE in response to a plea from Mia Noren, who explained how much the children benefit from having volunteer teachers outside of the pool of church parents. He enjoys being around the kids with their enthusiasm, innocence, and openness. He says he often ends up reading them a story, helping them play a game, and talking to them about covenant. He says the children seem to understand covenant, that everything is connected and kindness with each other is important.
Bill volunteers because he appreciates the community at First U and considers himself fortunate to be in a position where he can give back. He enjoys how volunteering helps to connect him to what is going on here and to provide him with the fellowship of local UUs.