LOVE DEMANDS COMMITTED SERVICE
Like giving, one can say that love is service. Dr. M. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled, clarifies that love is not a feeling, but an activity and an investment. He defines it as “The will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth” (p. 85). Jesus would agree; he defines love as treating others as you would like to be treated, and if you need clearer evidence, he shows us what a life of intentional love looks like:
- Reaching out to women and minorities
- Taking time to listen to and pay attention to children
- Spending time socializing with marginalized people
- Speaking truth to power and confronting unjust societal norms
Here at Union Church Berea, we believe that the kind of love that demands that we stretch toward our highest and best selves is more powerful than the kind that just feels warm and fuzzy. But you might be surprised how warm and fuzzy you feel when you do something for someone just because it’s the right thing to do, and without expecting a return.
Serving the Community
With Union Church:
- There are many ways you can offer direct help in our services, whether physical or virtual. The Worship Board is always seeking greeters, or readers, singers, and help with audio-visual technology, both in person and virtual.
- You can ask to be involved in any one of our ministries, or help with physical necessities around the sanctuary or grounds.
- You may look into serving with a board or committee.
- You may email firstname.lastname@example.org and offer any special skills you may have, to see if or where they might be needed.
Outside Union Church:
- There are ways, especially through Mission & Service Board or Nurture & Care Board, that you can work with Union Church to serve the wider community. We support Berea Faith Community Outreach, Room In The Inn (a multi-church homeless shelter during winter), Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, and others, and also work for political and social change. Many of our members were instrumental in founding a service called Berea Home Village to allow community members to age at home.
- There are also endless ways you can serve your community without Union Church knowing anything about it! Are there people in need near you? Do you know whether elderly neighbors have enough heat and food? Do you know whether single parents have the help and support system they need? Something as simple as mowing a lawn or cleaning gutters can have a profound spiritual impact. Not so much on the receiver, though it’s a real blessing, but definitely on the giver.
Service. It’s what love is for.
LOVE DEMANDS A BROAD OUTLOOK
Love for the world can take many forms. It encompasses, at least, understanding that there’s only one human family, and we’re in it. What happens “over there” is not separate from my life and my reality. At Union Church Berea, we believe that godly love demands that we pay attention to the whole, rapidly shrinking, globe.
Those Are My Brothers and Sisters
The time is long past when we could pretend we knew nothing about humanitarian crises of all kinds, in all parts of the world. Today’s streaming world throws unbearable amounts of news of unbearable crises, from wars and terrorism to child trafficking, and dozens of other horrors. It is easy to become overwhelmed and feel powerless. The fact is, none of us can do everything, but all of us can do something. And the minute you lift your hand to help one person, a little of the fear and powerlessness lifts.
You may have causes and charities that you already support. When you do, rest assured that you are reaching out to a real person in real need, whether you ever meet that person or not.
This is My Planet
One of the most important ways to help each other is to take care of the world we all share–it’s the only one we’ve got! We believe that God made this world, and made us out of it, and that the story in Genesis suggests that we are responsible for its care. This means that even something as simple and personal as using a non-disposable drinking bottle can make a difference for your sisters and brothers all over the planet. But it doesn’t stop there. Recycle, for example, doesn’t come until after reduce and reuse!
Here are some ways Union Church works for a healthier planet, which creates healthier people. All of these are ongoing projects and change as we learn more or are able to accomplish more.
- We reduce our usage, reuse and repurpose what we can, and only then recycle what’s left.
- We volunteer to do local church and street cleanups–watch for announcements to join in special days, but in the meantime, if you see it, pick it up!
- We learn all we can, and seek to educate ourselves, each other, and our children.
- Union Church uses solar panels to supply over 30% of our electricity.
- We support local farmers and farmers’ markets, seeking to shop and eat sustainably. Many of our members are heavily involved in Sustainable Berea, with its urban farm, education and outreach, and annual Victory Garden Blitz, which provides raised beds, seeds, and education to help people grow some of their own food. We also encourage each other to pay attention to the whole food chain from which our food comes. Who grew it, picked it, packed it, trucked it, and sells it, and under what conditions of safety and pay?
- We began changing all church light bulbs to energy-efficient ones several years ago and are now updating that as technology changes. We are currently adding LED lights in heavy use areas.
- We encourage lots of walking and biking, and less driving. (Part of the way we encourage this wasn’t exactly intentional–large parking lots were not a consideration when this building was erected!)
- Many of us plant trees and maintain gardens (mostly without chemicals) to help combat climate change and clean the air.
- It’s your planet. Serve it your way!