Corita Waters grew up in Greenbelt, Md. on the same road that she, her wife Andrea, and children currently live on. Her parents were very active members of the Lutheran church on the University of Maryland campus and Corita remembers going to church multiple times per week. She was an acolyte and sang in the choir and helped her mother decorate the church with lively banners and armloads full of wildflowers for Sunday services. She felt supported and loved. However, in the late 90’s Lutheran churches began an internal struggle about LGBT members and clergy that would not resolve for some years. Upon coming out Corita felt a disconnect between her values and a church struggling to define who could preach and lead.
Corita had been aware of Unitarian-Universalism for much of her life including an elementary school friend who was raised UU in an interfaith family. When Corita and Andrea were looking for a church community that shared their values there was a draw to Unitarian-Universalism and to a church that was proudly welcoming to queer people. It was a denomination that truly worked toward acknowledging the essential worth and dignity of every human being. Without a car in 2004 they took a bus from Silver Spring and made their way to UUCSS. They enjoyed it and afterwards Esther and Mark McBride drove them home and then offered to pick them up and drive them home any time they wanted to go to church. Corita will always remember this act of hospitality and welcoming.
There have been a lot of things to like about UUCSS. She particularly liked the ecstatic, spiritual, lively music and the pagan rituals that were more common in the 2000s. She and Andrea also like camping and went on Family LUUV camping excursions even before they had their two children, Kai and Maeve. The natural world is a key component of Corita’s life. She is a nationally recognized wild and scenic rivers manager for the National Park Service. Many of the things she likes best are outdoors – hiking, swimming, boating, camping, and Catoctin where kids could wander freely in nature. But then there is also dance class, ASL, and raising two children that keeps her busy. At UUCSS, Corita has volunteered in the nursery, was on the Welcoming committee and Racial Justice Task Force and took particular delight in her InReach group. She also remembers fondly, after Kai was born, friendly visits from Joan Lorr to discuss life and looks upon the experience as a gift. For Corita, UUCSS is about joy – the ability to laugh, as much as to cry, or be silent, and encourages UUCSS to nurture that joyful part of our spirit.