Good Morning! I want to thank Joanne for giving me the opportunity to speak to you all today. You may know me as a member-at-large on the UUFP policy board. I also participate in fellowship circles and I’m a member of the Sunday Services Committee. But I’m betting that most of you know me as a member of the Social Justice committee.
I treasure the work we do as a congregation to put our mission statement into practice--”Grow in wonder, connect in love, engage in service, inspire generosity.” I wanted to share with you all some of the experiences I’ve had as a member of the UUFP that have enriched my life.
The enriching experience I wanted to tell you about was the first community meal at our new site, Trinity United Methodist Church in downtown Newport News. This happened just a week ago, on the last Saturday in March. We were not sure that it was going to happen at all, at least not anytime soon. But Donna Sprock, together with the pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church, the Rev. Burton Mack, worked out a way to keep the volunteers and the guests safe. A small group would prepare the food in the church’s huge kitchen while keeping a safe distance from another. Then we would set the food out on a table, packaged in disposable containers. The guests could pick up their meals without having to come into contact with anyone.
It was exhilarating to be together with some of the members of our community again, even for a couple of hours. We connected in love, sharing news of people we hadn’t seen at our online services, while we engaged in service; working together, separately, to assemble the meal. We set up a table outside for the food, and it was a beautiful warm spring day. While we waited for the guests to show up, some of us went up to the sanctuary, one or two at a time, to admire the church’s Tiffany stained-glass windows shimmering in the late afternoon sunlight. It was a first-class opportunity to experience wonder.
When the guests came to get the meals, they spoke to us about their fears. Some of them had only recently become homeless. All of them were concerned about hygiene. They shared their small bottles of hand sanitizer with each other. Just about all of them thanked us for coming out, especially now. I was grateful for the opportunity to be there and for the generosity that made it all possible.
I wanted to tell you all about this to let you know that even in the time of social distancing it’s possible to make a difference in the world. When the blessed day comes that social distancing is no longer required, we hope to fill the kitchen at Trinity with volunteers and sit down at the table with the guests. It’s your generosity, dear fellow congregants, that makes this possible. It inspires me and gives me hope. Thank you.