“Love is the spirit of this church...” But love is more than a noun; it’s also a verb — an action verb! UUFP's February 25th sanctuary services were replete with love in action! Through stories, responsive readings, meditation and personal testimony, we explored what it means to answer the call of love in our own lives. And since "Love" always bears repeating, we wish to share here the testimonials given that day.
Expressing Love through St. Paul's Weekend Meals Program
By Marcy Stutzman
Eating a meal together is an opportunity for shared bread and conversation. The same sense of sharing is an essential element of the UUFP’s longstanding participation in the Weekend Meals program at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in downtown Newport News.
Year round, the very small congregation at St. Paul’s works with the Community Action Network to provide services for those needing assistance in our community. At St. Paul’s, located in a historic building on 34th street amongst the shipyard parking lots, there is a food pantry; breakfasts are offered daily; and the community can access laundry facilities and substance abuse counseling.
The UUFP has participated in the Community Action Network through the Weekend Meals program at St. Paul’s for years, providing a hot, nutritious meal for guests from the community that might otherwise go hungry the third Friday of every month. Preparing and sharing a meal with the less fortunate, to me, is an act of love for our community.
Through this Social Justice outreach program, I have learned and grown in my understanding of and relation to those less fortunate in our community. Donna Sprock, who was pivotal in initiating this ministry, sets an example I am striving to follow in showing compassion and empathy for the guests and all their needs. She accommodates the guest who won’t eat a salad with any yellow vegetables; and gently reminded those supporting this outreach that the inebriated guest seeking a blanket should not be considered a moral failure to be rebuked, but a fellow person coping with life in the best way he was able at the time. I believe that Donna has set an excellent example of love for the community without any strings attached
This ministry of the UUFP community is one of the many ways the UUFP expresses love, supporting both those within the church and those in need in the community. I find camaraderie working together with others to cook in tight quarters.
Some days we have many hands to help and find work to keep everyone busy. Some days we find that a very small group is able to provide a meal for 30 guests with remarkable efficiency. Many who are not physically present help, as well. The shared basket funding, the support of the social justice committee, and all those who form this strong UUFP community enable us to pursue outreach such as this.
After the cooking, we are able to sit down with the guests at the dinner table and share the meal and conversation with people we find are not so different from us.
The February 25th services were offered through collaboration between the Sunday Services Committee and the Music Committee, with special music provided by the ChorUUs!
Wish to read other testimonials from the worship services that day? Click the following: Answering the Call of Love, with more to follow