Sharing My Story: Why I am a Mayflower Legacy Giver

by Dan Quillin

I have included a legacy gift for Mayflower in my will. Here is why.

Mayflower has been my spiritual home since 1995. Probably before then but I just did not realize it.

My first interaction with Mayflower came in fall 1975. As a 25-year-old city council member I took part in a debate at Mayflower set up by the League of Women Voters. Like many coming out of college in the post-Vietnam era, I was a community and political activist. My political career had a fast take-off but fizzled quickly…but that’s a whole other story.

Raised in Catholicism I have always embraced the social justice and abundance teachings of the new testament—the two great commandments to love God (whoever and however you perceive the Creator to be) and to love your neighbor as yourself. These have always been pillars of my belief system.

Over time, the restrictions, man-made interpretations and Catholic church rules caused internal conflicts and gradually became too confining for me. I did not realize it, but I was moving to a non-credal based form of spirituality.

For variety of reasons, including the Sunday School program for 7-12 graders, our family (former wife Mary and sons David and Michael) made the switch to Mayflower in 1995 from a smaller south Minneapolis congregation. It was a good fit.

I was careful initially not to overextend myself at Mayflower given my work responsibilities as a state employee and father of two young sons. I took part in a “Cookies, Coffee and Contemporary issues” adult education group. It satisfied my need to discuss current events, social justice issues as well as socializing with a wonderful group of people, many of whom are no longer with us. I attended Sunday services that included thoughtful sermons and wonderful music. At that time in my life, that was the right level of church involvement. I looked forward to Sunday mornings as a relief from outside stressors. I did not take on any additional church responsibilities. I did not feel I could take on more. This was my level of involvement for the next ten years.

Fast forward ten years to 2006. A childhood heart murmur went south requiring open heart surgery to repair my mitral valve. Fortunately, everything went well. I had great insurance and avoided a family financial meltdown. But it reminded me of my mortality and the fact others did not have the health care access that I benefited from. Mayflower’s social justice messaging also re-ignited my dormant activism from the 1970s. I decided to up my game a step and engage in the issue health care access and affordability not driven by party politics but rather by my faith values. As a 30-year state employee with retirement within sight and children grown, I now had the time to try to make more of a difference.

Mayflower was engaging at this time with the faith-based social justice group ISAIAH whose mission included battling draconian cuts to the state Medical Assistance program in 2007. I agreed to become a member of the ISAIAH health care task force and joined our Mayflower ISAIAH core team. We beat back the cuts. The next year Obama was elected president and the Affordable Care Act was passed. I had the opportunity as part of a busload of statewide ISAIAH members to travel to Washington, D.C., to lobby for its creation and later the expansion of the State Medical Assistance program (funded largely by Obamacare) in Minnesota that today serves 1.1 million Minnesotans.

In 2010, my marriage of 30 years ended. A difficult period for anyone. My situation was no different. One questions their approach to life and what they may have done to cause this? During this period Sarah’s encouraging words as well as those of Mayflower friends were meaningful. I was back in the saddle and engaged in the next phase of my life.

Nice work, Sarah and friends.

In 2013, clergy went the extra step supporting my good friend and frequent Mayflower visitor Kate Peppler as she battled cancer, visiting her in hospice and attending her funeral at Kate’s home church.

In 2014 I retired from the state after 38 years. Over the last six years I have gradually expanded my commitment to Mayflower and ISAIAH.

Along the way I have interacted with and benefitted from the wonderful people that make up this congregation. It is the openness and welcoming nature of the congregation that I treasure. Each of us on our own journey but all of us there for each other.

My dear friend Donna Becker who now often attends church with me remarks on how welcoming Mayflower members are and how much she gets out of our services and the wonderful music we have.

So, Mayflower has been there for me and I will always be there for Mayflower.

 

Isn’t that what a legacy gift is all about? Click here to read more about Legacy Giving at Mayflower and here to fill out the form.