Emily Tien is the Volunteer of the Month for November. During her seventeen years with UUCSS, Emily has been involved in a wide array of activities. The first volunteer activity she remembers is being on the search committee for the music director and interviewing Michael Holmes. She has taught mini-courses and middle school Owl, and just wrapped up a stint as a YRUU advisor. She joined the inreach groups when they were formed, served as a facilitator for several years, and still attends an inreach group, a communal activity she finds very rewarding. She served as an ABD co-chair with Eric Leaver and was one of the original members of the diversity committee. She has also been a member of the board twice, the first time as an at-large member and currently as the VP of Planning. She enjoys her role as the VP because it has defined responsibilities (which include organizing the annual leadership retreat and devising agendas for board meetings) and she enjoys planning. Currently she is facilitating the Board’s strategic planning taskforce.
When Emily first came to UUCSS, she was searching for a place to expose her sons to religion. She had not been raised within a religious tradition, and she was seeking a compatible community that was not Christian. What drew her to UUCSS initially were Liz’s sermon—she particularly remembers Rev. Liz Lerner Maclay’s first post-9/11 sermon—but she has continued to come, as her sons grew up and ministers came and went, because of the community. For Emily, the community is the heart and the soul of UUCSS. She recommends that new members and others looking to become more engaged to seek out social events, such as the Auction and auction events, the women’s retreat, the men’s groups, and inreach groups to build relationships with other members and friends. The social ties developed in those activities will lead to greater involvement and investment in the community.