Jeffrey grew up in Takoma Park and has lived there most of his life. His mother is Presbyterian and his father is Catholic. For most of his early years, his family attended Takoma Park Presbyterian Church for services and Sunday school. When the time for First Communion approached, his father wanted him and his siblings to get Catholic sacrament preparation as well and so they started also going to Catholic mass and CCD (equivalent of RE) classes, first at Our Lady of Sorrows and then St. Camillus. While there was a great deal of good in both traditions, Jeffrey found a lack of fit for his own goals and beliefs. The Catholic church seemed too top-down with fewer opportunities for congregational leadership. While the Presbyterian church had a more congregational leadership structure, formal leaders receive a form of ordination, a recognition of calling he appreciates, which requires affirmation of the Book of Confessions that he did not fully believe in. After much research, he determined he was a Universalist. UUCSS was the closest UU church, and he found our welcome warm and engaging for a lifelong introvert.
Jeffrey has sung in the choir and has been our Worship chair. Worship was a good fit because it is integral to church life and an opportunity to give to the congregation what spoke to him in the Presbyterian and Catholic worship of his youth. It was also a major vehicle for personal growth. Helping lead services and giving his first sermon allowed him to continue to practice the public speaking skills he had just started developing during a run for Takoma Park City Council. As for his words for the congregation, “Find something that you have a passion about that the church needs. Don’t hold back, it will create a sense of connection you cannot imagine.”