As you'd expect, a covenant to support one's church with time, talent and financial resources is vital to its health! Our thanks to Steve Farthing, who is serving as UUFP's 2018 Canvass Chair. We are grateful for Steve and a number of fellow members who have been sharing their testimonials about "What UUFP Means to Me."
By Steve Farthing
This reflection was read aloud by its author from UUFP’s pulpit on Sunday, March 4, 2018.
We needed to be able to speak freely with friends who shared our values and goals. Our region has many challenges; we needed to do our part to make it better.
We attended a Christian church early in our marriage, but we were not Christians. We found that a moral foundation could not be built on religious hypocrisy, no matter how well-intentioned. A newspaper article written by UU of Williamsburg’s minister introduced us to Unitarian Universalism. The article seemed to be written for us just when we needed it.
We joined the UUFP in 2005 and sent our son, Ethan, to The Mountain, a UU camp in the mountains of North Carolina. We had to get him away from computers, where he insisted on spending most of his summer playing games. There are no gaming computers, no TVs, and almost no phone service at The Mountain. He was there for two weeks; we were expecting a call to pick him up at any time. Instead, we arrived at the end of those two weeks to see him happily hugging new friends and telling us how much fun he had.
Ethan has attended and worked as a counselor at The Mountain for eight years. He has gained an appreciation of nature and the importance of preserving our few remaining wild places. He has embraced our UU values. This summer he plans to hike the Appalachian Trail for a few months, but he will take an all-important detour to The Mountain to visit friends.
For Jeanne and me, the UUFP has given us a chance to experience something beyond making money and accumulating things. Sunday services are insightful and inspiring. The friends we have gained are accomplished, interesting, and kind. The time we spend helping the church is acknowledged and appreciated (FICOM meetings, however, could be a little shorter).
We give to charities and our alma maters, sometimes with mixed feelings. Is our money being used wisely? How much of what we give is rolled back into asking for even more? Giving to the Fellowship is an immediate return on our money and an investment in our future. There is nothing nebulous about what we do at the UUFP. If you need proof, please join us in feeding the homeless tonight at PORT (People Offering Resources Together).
I have recently become much more interested in our Social Justice work. “Why?” you might ask, if you have been stranded on a deserted island in the Pacific for the last fifteen months? UUs have a proud tradition of holding our government accountable; we must do our part. I will be marching with the UUFP in support of “March for Our Lives” on March 24th in Washington. Please join us physically or in spirit.
Why am I leading the Canvass? Because it needs to be done. We have seen the UUFP make great strides during the time we have been members. The Fellowship has doubled its footprint, adding the office/multi-use building and extending our property to Warwick Boulevard. We now have a full-time minister dedicated to the Fellowship and comprehensive child and adult RE programs. We have grown in numbers and in outreach to the community. I believe that we are just getting started and that we should, can and will do even more. The Canvass is the financial foundation that supports us all.