Gaining a Bigger Insight

John/Gwynn Templeton

picture courtesy of
John/Gwynn Templeton

John/Gwynn Templeton presented this testimonial as part of Sunday services on February 9th 2014 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula.

I am John and Gwynn Templeton, a transgender person who identifies as their birth gender, male, as well as female.  This also more commonly known as two-spirit or bigender.  I prefer the term gender fluid.  My preferred pronouns are he, him, his or she, her, hers depending which gender I am presenting at the time.

I am a member of both Resist Apathy! and the Social Justice Committee, chair of the Welcoming Congregation Committee.  I have been a member of our Fellowship since 2011, and have been honored to have given my time to the Fellowship’s wonderful education programs.

It seems most who find our Fellowship are coming from another Unitarian Universalist congregation, or are looking for the sense of community that they grew up with, but with values that meet with their own.  That was not me in either case.  I did not grow up surrounded by a faith group or faith in my own household.  So in short, I was not looking for the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula, but it seems it was looking for me.

The UUFP’s agent came through my wonderful and lovely Spousal Equivalent, Daneene Kelley.  She is a member of ChorUUs and asked me to attend services at which she was singing.  This began my exposure to the Fellowship, attending the occasional service and meeting the members.  My interest was certainly piqued and I started my learning of the UU faith and the UUFP specifically.  The nail in the coffin that convinced me to join was our Minister, Andrew Millard.  I knew this was a safe place to be me, all of me, a community I want to be part of, a community I want to help improve and to which I want to contribute.

Shortly after joining I found myself going from a person who works, plays video games, and runs role-playing games to a person who works, plays video games, runs role-playing games, and volunteers at my church.  Those words: “volunteering at my church”.  Years ago that is a sentence that would have never passed my lips.

I had found causes that I was passionate about and a way to support those causes in the same place.  I joined the Welcoming Congregation Committee to see what I could do for LGBTQ+ rights and public education.  I was asked to volunteer for RE where I discovered I like to teach.  In Resist Apathy! I have made life-long friends, and with Social Justice I have helped plan events while gaining a bigger insight of the Fellowship.

With a new year, and refreshed from a bit of a break, I am ready to get back into it!

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About acmillard

Andrew serves as minister to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula in Newport News, Virginia.
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