Fellowship Matters: Faith, hope and love abide at UUFR

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three…

When my sons were young – about 5 and  3 – our family attended a Presbyterian church in the Hudson Valley region of New York. The kids earned a gold star sticker each week if they could memorize a Bible verse. The “faith, love, and hope” verse was the second verse they learned (“Jesus wept.”, considerably easier, was the first). All these years later – my elder son is nearly      40 – I’m reminded of this verse as I consider the things our UUFR congregation is doing.

We are walking the talk when it comes to faith and hope. Through some of the darkest times in my memory, UUFR is a bright light of hope that things can get better and faith that the situation will improve. We haven’t been able to be physically together in months, and we will not be able to get back together for at least a few (maybe several, possibly a lot) more. Yet look at what we’ve done trusting that we will come physically together again soon.

    • We’ve refurbished our parking lot (who needs a parking lot now?).
    • We’ve installed solar panels to provide electricity to a building that, for the moment, is essentially unused.
    • We’re rehabilitating Peace Hall, our other building that we aren’t using now.

All because we trust, in the immortal words of Harvey Fuqua, that “someday, we’ll be together”. (Click here to spend a few minutes with Diana Ross and the Supremes contemplating those words. Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

but the greatest of these is love

To me, the second part of the verse is more important, however. For most of a year now this congregation, UUFR members and friends, has lived the love part, just as we did before the pandemic and just as we’ll do afterwards. We’re taking care of each other – through the amazing work of the Care Team but also online, over the phone, from 6 feet away, checking in, listening, comforting, commiserating, (distracting!), encouraging. We’re helping and partnering with our neighbors – check out our work as part of One Wake, or drive through the parking lot any Friday late morning and see what’s going on with Love Wins food collection, refugee support, get out the vote, and more. We’re even connecting via Zoom with folks from miles away who are attending our Sunday services, joining us for social hour and Wednesday night dinner and Wednesday Wellsprings.

We have faith, and hope, and love. Although we may trust they will abide, we do more than trust. We work to make it true.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love 1 Corinthians 13:13

Jim VanKirk

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