“A Soul on Fire – One Woman’s Impact” by Rev. Judy Voght (UUMS 2014)
“It is because of the mentors, teachers, and classes at Unity Urban Ministerial School that I am able to minister in the urban area. I am most grateful for the teachings that I received at UUMS and for having been blessed and honored to have known Rev. Dr. Ruth M. Mosley. Because of those teachings, I understand and contribute to those in and around our church in Gulfport, MS in a more meaningful way.” ~ Rev. Judy Voght
As I was speaking during a Sunday service at Unity Spiritual Center on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I quoted the following lines from the 80’s song, Higher Love by British singer/songwriter Steve Winwood: “I could light the night up with my soul on fire; I could make the sun shine from pure desire; Let me feel that love come over me; Let me feel how strong it could be.” In an amazing coincidence, I was told that it had been performed just the day before at the Coronation of King Charles.
The Story I’m telling now is about one woman, a superstar who exemplifies a soul on fire and a desire for higher good and higher love, one who actively participates in our church and in the community. Our church building is within the boundaries of an old neighborhood with a tremendous history in Gulfport. Unfortunately, many of the residents are in financial distress. For at least ten years, Nay Boler has dreamed of making a difference in the lives of the children in this distressed community. She exemplifies this “soul on fire” for good. Her mission began slowly while visiting churches asking for Christmas gifts and donations for needy families. As it turned out, other churches helped but ours was the one that continuously gave the most. Nay painstakingly researched and compiled lists of families and children in need, including names, ages, and sizes. For years, generous congregants would shop for that child/family and bring them to her gift-wrapped and ready for delivery. This work expanded to Easter, back-to-school, and backpack drives. Nay credited Unity of Gulfport for consistently responding to and supporting her efforts. In fact, she eventually joined and became the Children’s Coordinator at our church. Recently, she and twelve young people she brought with her lovingly provided lunch for seventy-five homeless people in the community. By engaging youth in this way, she is teaching them the most valuable lesson of all–the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” A couple of years ago, her organization, “It’s All About Nay’s Kids,” was awarded 501c3, non-profit, status. While she had been creative in obtaining funds and participation, she still needed safe, reliable transportation to get the children to Sunday service and other events. Realizing how hard Nay had been working to raise funds for a safe, reliable vehicle, I decided to step in. I posted a message on our church Facebook page that I was starting a fundraising campaign to help Nay buy a safe minivan. I saw it not as a church project, but rather as a way for her friends to support her efforts. Without having to set up a GoFundMe page or other public effort, donations poured in from friends wanting to assist this Superstar and the kids she championed. Within less than a week, enough money was raised to purchase the minivan. In a few more days, there will likely be more contributions to help Nay with insurance and other expenses.
This is a simple tribute to Ms. Nay for what she does for the children, the community, and the world. Nay, our beloved friend, we honor you and recognize your heart’s desire for good. You are making an enormous difference in the world. If interested in contributing to “It’s All About Nay’s Kids,” contact Rev. Judy Voght at ju*******@ya***.com
NOTE: Rev. Judy Voght graduated from UUMS in 2014 and was ordained by Unity Worldwide Ministries at the UUMS 36th Anniversary Banquet on May 1, 2015. She was the Curriculum Coordinator on the UUMS Staff from __ to __.