This I Believe

Welcome to the 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: Jess Banks (2017)

Posted by on Jul 17, 2021 in This I Believe, Uncategorized | 0 comments

So, I had this teacher in high school (don’t the best stories start this way?). Judy Zigler was a social studies teacher, and she was our yearbook advisor, so I probably spent a thousand hours with her in that school. She was and is an amazing mentor. And when the school tried to say that boys couldn’t wear headbands like this one, made from the cutoff sleeve of a t-shirt, and we were outraged because it discriminated against our friends while we girls could wear them without incident, she threw down a copy of Title IX on the table where...

read more

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....

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

This I Believe: Becky Myrick (2015)

Posted by on May 3, 2016 in This I Believe, Uncategorized | 0 comments

From the poet Shadow Hamilton: “Take a journey through the African Plains soaring temperatures of 100 degrees. Set up camp the old-fashioned way under canvas, only then will you truly experience the spirit of this dark continent. … Admire the windswept trees, their tops completely flat, and smell the deep-red earth, so pungent and rich in scent. Feel the ground shake as elephants file past on their way to drink. Marvel at the sights of lakes painted pink by the wading flamingos, the vast rift valley and magical waterfalls. All this and far...

read more

This I Believe: Sara Wolff (2014)

Posted by on Mar 19, 2016 in This I Believe, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I answered the doorbell earlier this summer to a man I didn’t know.  I didn’t know him but maybe I recognized him.  I was a little bit bothered approaching the door, expecting that since I didn’t know him, it was likely a door-to-door fundraiser or someone wanting to mow my lawn.  An interruption in any case. The young man asked if I remembered him.  He said that last fall he had come by and mowed my lawn.  He said that we had agreed on $15, and that all I had was a $20.  He said that he was going to bring back my change. Except...

read more

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...

read more

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. ...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more