Why Karuna?

Why Karuna?

Ken & I have been attending UUCC since February 2001, but I never got involved with the Karuna Ministry until August 2018. Being a nurse, you would think this would be a natural fit, but it wasn’t; until something happened.

My (late) brother & his wife, in Sydney, Australia, were going through some rough times in their family life, with their only son. Whereas our nephew was a fun loving, happy-go-lucky teen when Ken & I visited in March 2004; by November 2007, when we visited again, it appeared he’d gone over to the Dark Side. This involved flagrant disrespect toward his parents; using foul language when speaking to them; keeping bad company; dabbling in drugs; flouting curfew; driving without a license; and even having the temerity of raising his hands to BOTH parents! Per my sister-in-law, it got so bad, that it became routine for the neighbors to witness a police car parked outside the garden gate about once a week – to – once a fortnight. Very rough days indeed… And embarrassing.

I stood up one Sunday, during the sharing of Joys & Sorrows, & shared this sorrow with the Congregation, requesting healing thoughts, and any prayers, for my brother and his family.

A short time later, I received a beautiful hand written note from Anne Gould, acknowledging my sharing, and offering me emotional and moral support. I was so touched by this gesture! A few Sundays later, I was invited to Lunch with Anne Gould and Candy Wachterman, and that’s when I began to Feel the Caring in Karuna. Whilst I was impressed, it still did not impel me to join. The urge assailed me a few years later, when I felt a Calling on my heart, to go deeper, and one-on-one, with Congregational Connection. And so my Journey began…

I’ve been able to serve in many ways: cooking & bringing food, when needed; just sitting with people and listening; phone visiting; connecting with new attendees to UUCC; being part of a small support group to a congregant whose husband was actively dying; assisting at Memorial Services; and with my nursing background, being a resource to congregants having Hospital/Home Care/Social Work related questions, either for themselves, or their loved ones.

Here’s my perceptions about the Karuna Ministry at UUCC; & why I remain. In Karuna, no one cares about what Political Party you belong to; how you Vote (or even if you vote); what Religious Tradition you come from (or even if you don’t have one). In Karuna, the essential operating principle is that when one finds out about Anyone in need, one steps up to meet that need as best as possible, among its willing, able, and available members. For me, the Joy is inherent in Service to Others; it comes built in. And bearing one another’s burdens reminds us of our Human Condition. And keeps us Real.

This is why I remain.

And our nephew? Now well into his thirties; living on his own; has a steady job; is fending for himself; and per my sister-in-law, has an excellent work ethic, so much so that he’s been rewarded with promotions! Miracles do happen! 😉


  1. Stuart TenHoor

    Bernie thanks so much for writing your thoughts. Helped me learn more about Karuna and am so glad you’re part of it. And glad to hear some good news about your nephew!

    • Sunanda Apte-kakade

      Thank you Bernie for sharing the story .The word KARUNA. , attracted me to UUCC Karuna means Compassion in Sanskrit . I have moved from Columbia MD to Seattle WA and joined a new UUC ( University Unitarian Church ) which is similar to UUCC but do not have KARUNA . They do have other volunteering opportunities that I am looking into . I do miss UUCC .
      Sunanda Kakade
      Seattle WA

  2. Gail Thompson

    Beautifully expressed Bernie. Your big heart shines through and I’m so glad you have chosen to shine it in UUCC’s direction. Karuna members are very special people. Thank you. Thank all of you.

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