This I Believe

Welcome to the new This I Believe web page and archive!

Thanks to a diligent team of volunteer members and staff, you now have access to dozens of talks delivered from the mid-1960′s to the present. There are more to be located and new talks will be added continuously to the archive.

This beautiful preservation of our living history offers the latest opportunity to share what we value about our faith and our spiritual community. Take some time to read, reflect, and discover how our unique and common experiences have led us to this particular spiritual community over the decades.

We’re sure you’ll be moved by the wealth of insight and wisdom housed in this archive.


It is a longstanding practice here to invite members of the congregation to share with us their journeys of faith. It is a rare opportunity for us, to be given this glimpse not of opinions and ideas and knowledge – but of wisdom, and doubt mingled in with the faith, and questions circling the answers, and convictions hard-won and wonder still emerging. This I Believe is a hard assignment; we ask of these speakers that they speak the truth as bravely as they can, that they tell us a story, that they model for us this essential spiritual work: making a narrative out of all your experience, making meaning out of the days we are given.

The presenters are charged with speaking to us as openly as they can, and we in turn are charged to listen as openly as we can. This circuit of speaking and hearing is important because religious life unfolds in community. There is the solitary journey of the soul on its own, and there is the return to the circle of companions who will hold our story as sacred (and ordinary), companions who both embrace us and challenge us to deeper growth. (That’s your job at coffee hour – to challenge and embrace our two speakers, in love and gratitude).

Victoria Safford


This I Believe: Lisa Sem (2016)

Posted by on Dec 4, 2016 in This I Believe | 0 comments

I’d like to start by saying that, if I had another year to prepare for this talk it might be very different.  With another year I may have been able to write a few more drafts, explain things from a few different angles, challenge myself to divulge more, and to find a way to say everything I wanted to.  Maybe.  As it stands, there is only so much time. So there is much more to this story, which will remain untold. Today I’ll start by sharing a little of my religious history… I grew up Catholic. The parish I was raised in, on St....

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This I Believe: Jon North (2016)

Posted by on Dec 4, 2016 in This I Believe | 0 comments

I’m a Unitarian – and the reason I know I’m a Unitarian – is that for the last ten years, I’ve driven a Prius. However – in the words of our friend Bradley Bush – I have an “unapologetically heavy foot”. Which isn’t very Unitarian because driving fast lowers your fuel efficiency, and metaphorically it means I’m rushing through life and not relishing the journey. . But I believe my heavy foot is very Unitarian. That it represents my belief in radical justice, that I won’t be slowed by conventional doctrine until social...

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This I Believe: Dick Ottman (2016)

Posted by on Jun 12, 2016 in This I Believe | 0 comments

Introduction I want to first thank the Worship Committee for inviting me to speak.  In 1993, 23 years ago, I gave a “This I Believe” to this church where I presented two major themes.  I am an environmentalist and a believer in the lump sum method of teaching children money management.  As an environmentalist I brought a sample of the effluent from the wastewater treatment plant where I worked.  The lump sum method involved giving each of our children a fixed sum of money when they graduated from high school to attend college.  Both...

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This I Believe: Mary Hauser (2013)

Posted by on Nov 3, 2013 in This I Believe | 0 comments

REFLECTIONS ON LIFE My introduction to religious practice in my youth was limited to one year of Sunday School at Macalester Presbyterian Church in St. Paul when I was eleven years old.  My parents enrolled me there, I think, to give me the same experience as the other kids at school had…to fit in.  I am not sure why they picked that particular denomination, but was very convenient, only 2 or 3 blocks from home.  Mother and Dad did not attend that church, or any church for that matter.  I have a dim recollection of sitting in the church...

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This I Believe: Peg Guilfoyle (2013)

Posted by on Mar 3, 2013 in This I Believe | 0 comments

Intro:  Peg Guilfoyle has been a member of this community for more than twenty years and has worked in the arts, and particularly in the theater, for longer than that.  She is the author of regional history books on the Guthrie Theater and the Basilica of Saint Mary and many commentaries. This I Believe I have struggled with this.   I have avoided it like poison.  Like the plague.  I agreed to do it almost a year ago, when it was safely distant and I remember thinking  ‘ it’s your turn, Peg’.  I am very big on taking my turn. ...

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This I Believe: Kathleen Keating (2012)

Posted by on Nov 25, 2012 in This I Believe | 0 comments

Right now, in an endeavor to “Grow my Soul” I’m in the midst of a chaplaincy internship at a large local hospital. Shortly after that internship began, I was telling my husband, Dick, about the qualms I had about being a UU and serving a huge population with diverse spiritual and theological backgrounds. Dick mildly observed that it would be interesting if I wrote a “This I Believe” and then looked at it when I complete the internship, to see if there would be any changes. Within a week of that conversation, I received the invitation...

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This I Believe: Mary Duncan (2012)

Posted by on Apr 1, 2012 in This I Believe | 0 comments

I was born the first child of a young Lutheran minister and his 20 year old wife on a country parish in northern Iowa. I was grounded in Lutheran theology from the time of my baptism, through the early years of bedtime bible stories, followed by Christian day school beginning in kindergarten and not ending until I left the Lutheran junior college I was attending after my freshman year to attend the University of Minnesota. Even my first and long-time piano teacher was Lutheran. This training gave me a great deal of stability. By hearing Bible...

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This I Belive: Louise Pardee (2011)

Posted by on Jul 31, 2011 in This I Believe | 0 comments

HOW DID I GET HERE? How did I get HERE? It does seem like a strange place for someone brought up as an evangelical Christian and who spent half of her life as a Presbyterian. Last April, I signed the Membership Book. The ink was barely dry when an old friend, Laurie Kigner, called and asked if I would be a summer speaker. I happily accepted. How DID I get here? There is no brief answer. It involves a process of change in thinking throughout my life, affected by family, church, friends, books, music, politics, and then a fateful fall, which...

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This I Believe: Klay Eckles (2011)

Posted by on May 22, 2011 in This I Believe | 0 comments

I Believe in the Four Leaf Clover I was with the kids in the backyard playing kick ball. My daughter fell down in the grass, and quickly proclaimed, “Hey a 4 leaf clover.” I was excited, having never successfully found one. As I was trying to explain the rarity and good fortune of finding one, my son spits out, “Hey here’s another one!” After 10 minutes on my knees I gave up in frustration and returned to the life lesson about how lucky they were to find these. So months later when I rediscovered the preserved clovers in a counter...

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This I Believe: Jane Bacon (2011)

Posted by on May 1, 2011 in This I Believe | 0 comments

My Religious Journey We all have stories.  It’s an honor to be able to share mine. Childhood into adulthood:  I grew up in a family of ex-Catholics.  My mother had been deeply wounded by the Church; she thought religion was dangerous and should be avoided.  My father also had been wounded; he thought that religion was irrelevant.  My aunt had a more positive experience at a Catholic boarding school, staffed by liberal nuns. Although we never attended church or read the Bible, I knew that in the outside world religion was important. ...

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