It’s been claimed that Eskimos have several words for snow. The Greeks can rightfully say that there are few words for “love”. In the Greek (Koine) New Testament, agape love stands out. It is love not in the sense of “rom coms” (aka romantic comedies) but “refers to a pure, willful, sacrificial love that intentionally desires another’s highest good.”
Rooted in the Christian tradition, Reverend Larry Fultz, Executive Director of the Arizona Interfaith Movement and Baptist minister, has embodied this ideal in his life and ministry. On his 80th birthday (in 2017), Larry reflected on his life’s experiences. He said that “Three F’s” are most important for all societies: family, friends, and fellowship. It is with great joy that we had the “Three F’s” prominently celebrated when we honored Larry on Friday, August 12th, on the occasion of his retirement. By his side, we also honored his wife, Lily, who has supported Larry through the years. Gathered were many of his AZ Interfaith friends; those from afar sent their good wishes.
After years of pandemic lockdown, we finally saw each other in the flesh, shared a great meal together, and enjoyed fellowship. We all sang a song composed for this special occasion led by our very own Kendra Ruth. We listened to the mystical music dedicated to Larry from the dilruba and tabla. It was most touching to hear various voices of prayer and tributes to Larry. The most poignant for me were the stories of spiritual guidance that touched our lives. In metropolitan Phoenix and beyond, he encouraged people to be strong in their faith and build communities that live the Golden Rule.
On a personal note, I have to note that Larry is a good husband of Lily, a father of six, grandfather of nine and great grandfather of four. Here’s the secret: It’s all about loving people, as you preach the gospel of love, or work in the community of other faiths. Larry has a gift from God, to be joyful and love all people no matter what race, religion, or creed. He makes an effort to be personally involved. Wherever he is, Larry is actively involved to benefit the lives of others. His family is a blending of different religions, races, and disabilities. Because of his understanding of the Golden Rule and of leadership in Christian life, all who he comes in contact with are nurtured and loved dearly.
Albert Celoza, Ph.D., Executive Director
Arizona Interfaith Movement Board and Council
PS Consider being a traveling billboard for Kindness and Civility with an Arizona Golden Rule license plate!! – Available at www.servicearizona.com