Jackie Roberts: Finding Home Within a Community 

When Jackie Roberts made the move back to her hometown of Seattle in 1985, it didn’t feel quite like home again right away. Her journey back from the Tri-Cities sparked a slew of transitions but walking into Seattle Unity was a whole different story.

“I just felt so at home immediately,” Roberts said. “It was a big sigh of feeling like home.”

Roberts is not the only one to report that feeling upon joining Seattle Unity. She said she had heard that same reaction from several other community members. 

“I don’t know if it’s what I saw, I think it’s what I felt,” Roberts said. “It was kind of emotional. When I say emotional, I mean that it was positive.”

Some time after Roberts settled into Seattle Unity, she had the idea to create a labyrinth. The Seattle Unity community supported her idea, and from there the project grew into a labyrinth in Denny Park. When they started the construction process, Roberts’ husband had just had a surgery that left him in a wheelchair. 

At first, the community project helped Roberts focus on something positive while so much of her family’s life changed, but then it became more.

Roberts enlisted the help of the Seattle Unity men’s group to construct the labyrinth, but their response was not what she expected at all—they didn’t want to simply help her with the labyrinth, they wanted to help Roberts herself. They helped with home projects that were added to Roberts’ to-do list when she remodeled her house for her husband’s wheelchair.  

“Every major step, Seattle Unity has been there and supported me,” Roberts said. “They’re like the wind beneath my wings.”

The labyrinth isn’t the only project Roberts took on at Seattle Unity. She also was a part of developing the Umoja spirit group—a group that embraces diversity and inclusion.

Umoja’s initial goal was to make BIPOC community members feel included and educate others on BIPOC history, but Roberts was blown away with just how effective Umoja has been. Kwanzaa has been incorporated as part of Seattle Unity’s services. 

“The way I feel about Seattle Unity is that I feel cherished, and I cherish the community,” Roberts said. “I feel valued, and I value Seattle Unity.”

Seattle Unity is not Roberts first experience in a spiritual community, but she feels like she’s always left with something to grapple with from lessons at Seattle Unity.

“I felt there was something to chew on all week—and that was the lesson,” Roberts said. “I felt intellectually challenged with some real food for spiritual thought.”

Moving forward, Roberts is looking forward to using the new building and hopes to attract more young community members to Seattle Unity.

“I’m looking forward to Seattle Unity moving into the future,” Roberts said. “I don’t know what that looks like—it’s going to be fun to see it evolve and unfold on its own—but I sure want to be in the center of it.”