By Mary O’KEEFE
Rev. Gordon Clay Bailey is enjoying the warm California fall as he settles into his new position as head of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Verdugo Hills.
“I am a native New Yorker,” Bailey said.
Prior to accepting the job at the La Crescenta church Bailey served at two churches, one in New York and one in New Jersey, traveling between the two.
“My wife is [originally] from Montana but went to high school in Sonoma and all of her family lived in the Bay area. She wanted to come home [to California],” Bailey said. “We were California dreaming.”
And with last winter the Bailey’s were even more inspired to head west. The timing was perfect as the UUCVH was looking for a new leader.
Through Bailey the congregation is reaching out to the public to introduce themselves to those who are not familiar with the church including young adults and young families.
“I would like to bring an ethic of love,” Bailey said.
The Unitarian Universalist Church welcomes all.
“We welcome folks along all the faith spectrum, we even have atheists,” he added.
According to the UUCVH website, “The Church’s historical roots are in the Jewish and Christian traditions, Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion – a religion that keeps an open mind to the religious questions people have struggled with in all times and places. We believe that personal experience, conscience and reason should be the final authorities in religion, and that in the end religious authority lies not in a book or person or institution, but in ourselves. We are a ‘non-creedal’ religion: we do not ask anyone to subscribe to a creed, but instead affirm and promote the Seven Principles.”
Those principals are:
1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
“We are the denomination for the modern era,” Bailey said.
Bailey is enthusiastic and positive about the future of his new church and has plans to reach out to all communities to welcome them to his church.
“We do have religious education for [youth] and are going to grow that program,” he said. “And I offer a world religion class on Tuesday nights.”
He added the church has not faced the controversies surrounding other faiths when it comes to issues like LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community equality.
“Ultimately the LGBT community … those are the children of members who sit in the pews,” he said.
Respect is given to all of those who want to join their congregation, Bailey said.
Church services are Sunday at 10:30 a.m. The UUCVH is located at 4451 Dunsmore Ave. For information contact (818) 248- 3954 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org