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Even now, signs of hope are everywhere

We are nearing that time of the year when election signs will begin competing for space

on just about every yard and street corner throughout town. Though this jostling for

prime real estate seems to happen earlier and earlier each year, it seems only a few

signs have entered the competition so far.

That’s what made a new sign I began seeing widely across town a couple of weeks ago

catch my eye. I initially assumed it was the work of an ambitious candidate capitalizing

on some free time to get their campaign started early. After driving by dozens of these

signs, I finally stopped to take a closer look. To my relief, it wasn’t a sign of the

campaign season that’s soon to descend upon us. Instead it was a message that

immediately lifted my spirits. The sign read in Spanish and English, “The only thing that

is more contagious than a virus is hope.”

I’ve since learned this project is a joint initiative of North Range Behavioral Health and

Bank of Colorado. Nearly 1,300 of these signs dot communities in Weld County, so I’m

guessing you’ve probably noticed them as well.

The specific impact of this unprecedented time certainly varies among people. But it’s a

pretty safe bet to assume that the anxiety and worry we are experiencing is shared by

many others in our community.

While it’s never entirely accurate to say to another person, “I know how you feel,”

possibly more so than ever before, our personal experience offers us the opportunity to

have a deeper understanding and a greater empathy for the struggles and challenges

our neighbors are facing.

In the midst of this shared experience of upheaval and uncertainty, there is one thing we

all are looking for right now – signs of hope.

My faith tells me that I should be as concerned about signs of hope existing for my

neighbor as I am about them existing for myself. It’s natural during difficult times for our

circles of concern to be drawn pretty small. While that may be our natural tendency, I

believe we are each called to the sacred work of being carriers of hope for our broader

community, not just for ourselves or those closest to us.

A section of the well known prayer of St. Francis speaks to this sentiment beautifully:

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace…where there is despair let me sow hope.”

I have a strong conviction that religious communities have an important role to play in

this work of cultivating hope. I have been encouraged by the way I have witnessed


people showing their faith through works of generosity, kindness, and compassion. I

have also seen how people’s spiritual convictions have led them to hold a particular

concern for the needs of our most vulnerable neighbors right now: the elderly, the

unemployed, the immunocompromised, the immigrants and refugees.

But it is certainly not only faith communities who are serving as signs of hope for our

community. Just to name a few examples: Weldwerks and Tower 56 have produced

thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer; The Weld Recovers Fund set up by The Weld

Community Foundation and United Way has raised well over $100,000 to support the

relief efforts of local non-profits; and a newly formed Facebook group called the NOCO

Mask Making Team has made and distributed nearly 7,500 masks in our area.

This broad-based community involvement in the essential work of bringing signs of

hope into people’s lives is such good news to me. The more of us who commit

ourselves to be carriers of hope for others, the more widely hope will spread in our

community.

So before all those signs that tend to divide us start popping up around town, I hope that

we will continue turning towards signs that have the purpose of uniting us right now.

Rev. Ben Konecny

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First Congregational Church
United Church of Christ, Greeley

2101 16th Street

Greeley, CO 80631

970-353-0828

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