What’s in a Name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II

This is my second column as your president - "El Segundo" in Spanish. Forgive me while I ramble a bit.

The second half of my career I worked for a company whose headquarters are in El Segundo, California. I wondered why anyone would name their city "Number Two". The story had more to do with oil wells than ranking and I lost interest.

When I found myself living in Idaho in the fifth grade, I began attending school in Smelterville. I wondered why anyone would name their town after a smelter, an environmentally destructive form of removing metal from ore. They just did - but being there placed me in the classroom of one of the most brilliant teachers I ever had and put me on a path to learn Spanish out of sheer joy.

So what's in the name Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church? We are less close, at least physically, to the coast than when it was created some fifty years ago (incorporated as Universalist Community Fellowship). But we proudly persist with that name because, I think, it doesn't describe a place in geography but a place in the heart - in the hearts of all of us, really.

This place in our hearts is so important that we attend services regularly, do the hard work of maintaining our buildings, take on daunting tasks to keep our organization financially sound, pledge and pay to cover those costs, pay our staff to keep us and our children enlightened, and generally behave as if we are smitten by love, not unlike the two lovers in Shakespeare.

This "Coast in Our Hearts" can only persist, I believe, if we continue the dream of building the sanctuary that was envisioned by those who planned and executed the move from the property on Victoria to our present location. We should be growing and moving toward that goal each day, month, year. The alternative is probably stasis and eventual withering in place.

Though we seem healthy and stable, I am afraid we must grow in size and power to become the really stable church that fills the hearts of many, many who do not yet know we are here because they've never heard of us. If you found Unitarian Universalism as an adult, as did I, think back to what a wonderful discovery that was for you and how much joy and enlightenment we can bring to many others in our communities by being here and being inviting and caring and stable with our special journey to find truth and meaning in life.

“We can change lives with what we share”,
Don Martin
president@ocuuc.org