Hold on firmly to the faith that you share

Within a few days last week, two area United Methodist churches were destroyed by fire. The first was the Milford UMC on Sunday evening, March 12, followed by the Fonda-Fultonville UMC on Tuesday evening, March 14. The entire faith community mourns with these two congregations.

I am not personally familiar with the Milford church, but generations of my family have been members of the Fonda-Fultonville church. My experience with the FFUMC began as a child when I attended services there with my grandparents. My sister and I always sat in the same back pew with my grandmother and ate peppermint Life Savers during services. My grandfather sang in the choir. I was introduced to “sausage gravy” at their Shrove Tuesday pancake suppers,

When I was still a certified lay speaker with no intentions of going on to be ordained, I preached from that pulpit. The pastor and church members encouraged me to consider a life of pastoral ministry. I stood in that same pulpit to eulogize my beloved grandparents.

The FFUMC building was more than just a wooden structure where people spent time on Sundays. It was a place where people came to know Christ, where relationships grew, where families and friends celebrated and mourned together. It was a community of faith that reached out to others through such ministries as the monthly Acoustic Cafe and support of the community’s food pantry.

At present, the members of the FFUMC aren’t sure what the future holds. I say to you, dear brothers and sisters, hold firmly to the faith that you share. Remember that God has promised to never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). Remember also that, while many wonderful events have taken place within the walls of the church building, it is not a building that makes a church. It’s the people who come together to worship and serve Christ; the people who love one another, Jesus, and the world around them. You are the church.

Be assured that you are in our hearts and in our prayers.

The Rev. Judy Humphrey-Fox is the pastor at the Broadalbin and Edinburg United Methodist Churches.

By Patricia Older

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