The Rev. Christine Riley has let me know that calls and emails from all over the country are rolling in to offer support and encouragement for Holston Valley UUC. Holston Valley UUC is in a very conservative rural area and your response to their plight is helping to cheer and inspire them. Thank you for your generosity and kindness to these folks whom most of us will never know in person.
This, it seems to me, is the meaning and heart of religious community---that we the faithful reach out to those we see struggling. That we are generous, not just when it's convenient and easy, as Lizard Eater has remarked, but when we don't know the people we are helping, when we're feeling poor or troubled ourselves, or have no strong identification with the situation.
I am grateful to all of you for your willingness to give a helping hand to my colleague and her church.