Karl Perrin

Whenever I go to a Unitarian church or event, I feel “at home”. Unitarian Universalists are diverse, and congregations are diverse, but I find some things are common in most of them.

They are one of the few places where different generations enjoy each other: from babies to centenarians.  We are a rainbow of ages. Since I am a life-long Unitarian (I am also a Universalist, but too many syllables), I have experienced our religion from all the ages up to 72, so far.

A Vancouver Courier article featuring Karl from 2012.
I was born in 1945 in Detroit, Michigan. My mother was a devoted Unitarian.  As a self-educated farm girl, she loved the honesty and intellectual stimulation she found in our church. As a child, Sunday School was sometimes boring, sometimes fascinating. I remember curricula like “Jesus, the Carpenter’s Son” and “The Church Across the Street”, but my favourite was a class led by an engineer, where we each made an “electric whirli-gig”, which spun like crazy when you plugged it in. It was thrilling to learn science from people who loved science.

When I moved from Detroit to Vancouver. Vancouver seemed like a whole city of Unitarians, compared to Detroit. I came to church once annually for the Thrift Sale.

My 40’s were marred by major depression. I found that worship services were the one place where I could break down and cry, and that felt so good. Our minister’s passionate and courageous sermons give me the courage to persevere. Church saved my life: feeling worthless, I found the worth in worship. Through psychiatry, I recovered from major depression. In 1993, I read Al Gore’s Earth in the Balance and realized the enormous challenge of Climate Change. I vowed to my son and his generation that I would do everything in my power to prevent his premature death in 2050 from civilization’s collapse due to climate change. I decided that the best place to put my volunteer energy was our church’s environment committee.

In 1999 I decided to spread my spiritual wings and became a lay chaplain for a six-year term.

I contribute what I can. I have a lot of confidence that when a need arises, our congregation will respond. We are a force for good. I’m so proud of our denomination, down through the centuries, and our present expression. We are blossoming, once again.


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