This week’s Member Spotlight falls on Bill Allen. He said:
“I was born in Monmouth, Illinois. I attended First Baptist Church, which was an American Baptist church. I was very active there until I headed off to graduate school in Iowa. At the end of graduate school, I married my first wife. She was a Catholic and therefore I joined that church. After our divorce, I found I was feeling uninspired with the Catholic church and organized religion in general. Although I still felt very spiritual, I didn’t feel I fit anywhere. For several years, I practiced a religion inspired by Father Guido Sarducci called “Be-a Your Own Pope.” In 2007 I married my second (and final!) wife, Katie. We both felt that something was missing in our lives and thought maybe a church would fill that undefined void. When Katie suggested we try the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, I admittedly knew very little about the Unitarian Church. The sum total of my knowledge had come via Garrison Keillor and Prairie Home Companion; not the most authoritative of sources. But I looked it up on Wikipedia and found I was unlikely to be burned at the stake for being a biologist or believing in evolution, so we gave First Unitarian a try. I found that what I was missing was community and we joined this wonderful one in 2009.
I’ve been active here as well. I’ve been a member of the Religious Services Committee and the Celebrant Team; the Religious Services Committee was the predecessor of the Celebrant Team. I’ve sang in the choir and have been a member of the Sound Team since its inception. Although there hasn’t been much coordinating to do since COVID came on the scene, I’m currently the Sound Team Coordinator. This is only one of many things I look forward to resuming when we can meet again! I’m also looking forward to the Progressive Voices concerts; for several years, Katie and I have sold treats during the concerts’ intermissions. Outside of First Unitarian, I was laid off from my job as a research technician. After a bit of fiddling about, became a full-time free-lance artist in 2018. Katie, who may be sainted one day for tolerating my shenanigans, and I live with our two feline heathens, Moses and Lucy. In addition to my art, my passions also include the machining arts and railroad modeling. Finally, I once served as Brad Pitt’s stunt double. It was a great experience, but once was enough.”