Caught in the Act of Generosity: Mary Wright & Keith Christopher

by Christina Socorro Yovovich of the Radical Generosity Committee

Mary Wright and Keith Christopher searched for a spiritual community for their family in the late 1980s. They found First Unitarian, joining in January of 1990. Soon, Keith became Board Treasurer; both joined the task force that crafted our Mission Covenant in the 1990s; and, in the early 2000s, Keith joined the Board again, and became President during the term where they created a budget that included funding for a full-time second minister. They describe board and committee work as “very rewarding in what was accomplished,” but the work they did in Religious Education was where they had fun; “UU kids are very interesting people.”

What fun they had! After attending overnight family camps in 1990, Mary joined a camp task force, and the first UU Kids’ Camp was held in 1991. Mary has held a role at camp every year through 2023, serving as counselor, director, “queen,” medical staff, photographer, “queen-mother,” and more. The first camps were “crazy, chaotic, and fun.” Everyone learned a balance between structure and boundaries, but freedom within those boundaries was essential. Camp became an intentional community where children, youth, and adults lived UU values. As kids got older, they kept coming. They returned as CITs and adult counselors. Their daughter Meara was camp mascot in 1991 and grew up to become co-camp director and camp queen for many years. Their eldest daughter Micaela also attended camp and eventually grew from a camper, to CIT, to adult counselor, to member of First U’s Board of Directors.

Around the same time, Mary was asked to step in as youth advisor, a role she shared with another member for a number of years. She observed a gulf between youth and adults—many youth had never been inside the sanctuary. The Coming of Age service was developed and helped bridge this gulf. In the early 2000s they became aware of a new lifetime sex education curriculum: OWL, short for Our Whole Lives. They were a part of one of the first OWL leader trainings and then led mid-school OWL, and eventually
high- school OWL. Mary, who worked in nursing with a focus on maternal-child health, brought in knowledge from OWL as she trained new nurses.

Mary and Keith describe their work at First U as “self-serving,” as they needed a healthy spiritual community for their family. But it was Radical Generosity, too, and they have helped shape First U for the good.

 

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