Bill Fields & Walter Davis
Bill: I was born in a small town in southeast Kentucky. After my parents died when I was 13, I moved to Indiana. I later went to Berea College.
Walter: I was born to a poor family near Louisville, Kentucky. I was very active in my Baptist church and was President of the student body at a Baptist College. I fled the draft and went to Toronto. I was under federal indictment for five years before the charges were dropped.
We met through correspondence when Bill was at Berea and Walter was in Canada. We moved in together and later moved to the plains of western Canada. We were LGBTQ activists and edited a gay journal in Saskatoon. We were later highlighted in the award-winning book “Prairie Fairies” about the LGBTQ movement in Canada. We finally had to decide whether to become Canadian citizens or move back to United States. We wanted to return to our southern roots and moved to Knoxville in 1988.
Now Bill is a social worker at a nursing home in Knoxville. Walter is a community organizer for The Appalachian Community Fund which is a non-profit organization working for social change in Appalachia.
How did you come to attend TVUUC?
Walter: I was familiar with UU churches from Louisville – that was where good works got done. Bill: I became disenchanted with the Baptists when as a child I asked the question “If God created the world in seven days, on what day were the dinosaurs created?” and I was told that God didn’t create dinosaurs. I knew dinosaurs were real and then that being a conservative Baptist was not for me.
We had a tough year in 2004 with lots of personal losses in our lives. We came to TVUUC to attend a forum on Palestine. We didn’t want to be rude and leave before the service so we stayed. We heard the youth do a service on “The Spirituality of Tigger” and thought this might be the place for us.
Why do you attend TVUUC?
Bill: I missed the church worship rituals on my childhood church. I also missed the community of having a church. I am happy to have a community of people that I see every week and can be with. I also enjoy watching the children grow up before my eyes.
What church activities have you been involved in?
Walter: I have been on the Personnel Committee, worked at the Welcoming Table and Pride events, and was on the Nominating Committee.
Bill: I was on the Board, was on the Entryway Task Force, on a Search Committee, and on the Nominating Committee. I have also been active in working the Welcome Table and on Pride events.
What difference has TVUUC made in your life?
TVUUC gives us a community we do not get anywhere else. It also fought for our marriage. We don’t have to be embarrassed when we are asked about our spiritualty, do we know Jesus, or where we go to church.
Bill: I care about TVUUC. It’s worth it.