SUUF and Me: Helen Knoll

Name: Helen Knoll

Place of Birth: Columbus, OH

When did you come to the Verde Valley and why?

My beloved, now-deceased husband, Bob Cleland, and I moved to Sedona in 2002 from Seattle. We were ready to dry out from the soggy Northwest weather and were captivated, of course, by Sedona’s unmatched beauty. Bob’s brother Jack and wife Sue, who’ve since passed away, were already living here, and helped us get acquainted with the community. Bob’s family is the gift that keeps on giving – brother George and wife Carole now live in my neighborhood! They and all our Sedona friends keep me tied to the area.

What is your religious background?

My childhood family attended whichever Protestant church happened to be closest to our home. While we kids did Bible study, were confirmed, sang in junior choirs, and joined church youth groups, our mother taught Sunday school. When I was in high school, Mom discovered Unitarianism and become very active in the local fellowship. I went along and have since been a member of UU fellowships in Cheyenne, Denver, Seattle and now Sedona. There have been many adult years, however, when I’ve attended Catholic and Protestant churches because of my husbands’ involvement. I found value in all of them, but never officially joined because of differences about doctrines.

What brought you to SUUF?

Bob and I were members of another church in Sedona for nearly fifteen years. Changes in our personal lives and the life of the church, however, caused us to search for a new church home. I decided to return to my religious roots at SUUF, where I feel I truly belong.

How does SUUF fit into your spiritual journey?

Having been raised with a church-going tradition, I enjoy the weekly ritual of having my sights and spirits uplifted in a gathering of friends. SUUF helps me explore fundamental questions about relationships among people and between people and their environment. Because UUs support independent thinking, we can speak freely and learn from each other, as well as through sermons and studies.