By Marcy Stutzman
This reflection was read aloud by its author from UUFP’s pulpit on Sunday, January 20, 2019.
I have been attending the UUFP since 2005, when I had a year old toddler. In that time, we’ve added another baby to our family and have seen the children grow up to a tween and a teen. In this time, I have also slowly shifted my views of religion from being a Christian, unable to find a suitably liberal and dynamic church home, to an unapologetic Unitarian Universalist.
I find that the UUFP has allowed me a place to evolve slowly, but steadily, and to clarify my understanding of the world and my place in it. I’ve heard Rev. Millard state something along the lines of “religion seeks answers to the questions of why we are here and what happens when we die." The UUFP has been a supportive, loving community where I’ve been challenged to think about hard things, while on a faith journey, that can be described as Growing in Wonder. This is what makes the UUFP a church home rather than merely a service organization for me.
However, the activities that are at the heart of my participation with the UUFP are the many opportunities for service to the community and volunteering within the fellowship. Helping others has been important to me for a long time. I remember a freezing, muddy day, now about 25 years ago, when I was attempting to dig a ditch in rocky soil for Habitat for Humanity. This was a rather poor fit for my aptitudes. Through the UUFP, I have been able to do things that I enjoy and am relatively good at, including cooking for both the PORT winter shelter program and the Good Fridays at St. Paul’s church. I find a comfortable camaraderie, which could be described as Connecting in Love with the others who come to cook together. I enjoy the opportunity to serve others directly in a concrete way where we can see the benefit of helping hungry people.
I have also helped to organize food and coffee for another group of hungry people—that is, the people who enjoy a bite to eat and a cup of coffee or tea between the services here at the UUFP. Prior to the hospitality team format, I spent several years organizing volunteers for providing snacks, and now I am the leader of one of the four hospitality teams. Engaging in Service within the fellowship is essential for maintaining a strong, vibrant community which can be used as a base for our outreach and activism.
The final part of the UUFP’s mission statement is “Inspire Generosity.” I have been inspired by this fellowship to give of my time, my talents and my financial support to the UUFP. I am the secretary of the UUFP Board, a member of the choir, play flute for the UUFP winds and for service accompaniment as needed, cook for our local outreach programs, and coordinate a hospitality team. These are things that I enjoy, and participating in these ways, for me, is a means of using my capabilities to further the mission of the UUFP. In addition, my commitment to an annual pledge helps support and make possible these things that I appreciate about our fellowship.
Thank you so very much for listening.
In Marcy's avid volunteerism, she announced the need for a new hospitality team coordinator starting this summer. This opportunity is surely a way to live out our UUFP mission. Those interested, please contact Marcy or firstname.lastname@example.org.