Leaving Utah

I told my church this week that I would be leaving them and leaving Utah at the end of this coming June.  It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but it is a good one for me and for my family.  Although it might take awhile for them to realize it, I think it will also be good for the church that I will have served for seven years.

My reasons for leaving are many.  I miss my friends and family in California.  I also want to live in a state where my marriage is not only legal, but where our rights as a family are respected not only by the laws of the state and nation, but also by most of the elected officials, and by the vast majority of the citizens.  Even if court cases eventually bring marriage quality to Utah, it is still going to be a hostile environment for years to come.  I am just tired of it.  Having had a taste of real equality in California, to stay here would feel to me like choosing to remain in chains.

I am also tired of the increasingly bad air, the crazy gun laws, the lack of sex education in the schools, the suicide rates, the meth and prescription drug addiction, the teen pregnancies, the domestic violence, the crooked politicians, the rampant child abuse, and the callousness of a governor who refuses to expand medicaid.  People are dying and he and most of the legislature just don’t seem to care.  Frankly, things only seem to get worse every time the Utah legislature actually passes any laws.  California has some of these same problems of course, but the state government there tries to work on them in ways that make at least some sense to me.  They wouldn’t raise the speed limit to 80 miles per hour without at least considering the environmental impact.

Then there is the weather.  Spring and fall are the only seasons that I really enjoy here.   Summers are too hot and dry, and winters are too cold and too polluted.

It is hard to minister to a church and to the wider community unless you love them and are also happy to be with them where they live.  I deeply love the members of the church.  I also love much of the wider community and am thrilled that environmental activism is increasing in the state.  I am proud of Utah’s GLBT community and awesome organizations like CORC, OUTreach Ogden, Equality Utah, Peaceful Uprising, Utah Mom’s for Clean Air, and the ACLU.  Organizations like Mormons for Equality and Ordain Women also bring hope for change.  I wish I could take all these good folks to California with me.   Then the only thing I would continue to miss about Utah is the glow of the setting sun on the mountains.  That is true beauty, it really is.  The Pacific Ocean also has its charms, however.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden is an awesome congregation.  They deserve a minister who will truly be happy in Utah.  I was happy here for a long time, but things have changed.  Maybe I am just getting older.  The congregation is very easy to love, so whoever follows me will certainly love them as well.

I am so proud of the work we have done together.  The Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden has made a positive difference in so many people’s lives.  We have helped change the wider community as well.  The work of the church will go on without me; of that I have no doubt.  The people and the good work they do will always be in my heart.  Namaste.

Click (here) for the sermon where I told these good people that I would be leaving them.

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