We all need to know that we are loved.

So we have known and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.

1 John 4:16

Dear Congregation,

Next Thursday, February 14th is Valentine’s Day, the holiday that celebrates love. Flowers and candy will be bought. Valentine cards, fancy and funny, will be sent. Restaurants will be crowded with couples out for a nice dinner. While romantic love is usually the focus of the day, I think we know there are certainly other kinds of love, equally important. There are different opinions about exactly how many types of love exist, but in the Bible there are four which are expressed in Greek words—Eros, Storge, Philia, and Agape. Simply put, Eros is romantic/physical love, Storge is family love, Philia is the emotional bond in deep friendships, and Agape is unconditional, sacrificial, and pure love shown as God’s love for humankind.

We all need to know that we are loved. And we are, by God! And so to remind you of that truth you will each receive an “I Am Loved” button/ pin in worship this Sunday before Valentine’s Day. The story of the “I Am Loved” pins is really quite amazing as told on the Helzberg Diamonds’ website.

“The “I Am Loved” tagline was originally conceived in 1967 by Barnett Helzberg Jr., the then 30-something, third-generation president of Helzberg Diamonds. Shirley Bush had just accepted Barnett’s marriage proposal and he felt so elated that he wanted everyone to share his excitement. The euphoria he felt about his engagement to Shirley led to an idea for an ad –a  lapel button with the words I AM LOVED®. The ad copy told the consumer to, ‘Buy her a diamond or give her a button, but in any case, tell her she’s loved.’

He created the “I Am Loved” button to give away in stores, even touting it in ads in The Kansas City Star. Helzberg initially ordered 50,000 buttons, but the supply was quickly exhausted. An article by the Associated Press reported that the buttons were “the latest craze” to show your affection, and Helzberg says the pins were eventually produced in 11 languages, with more than 50 million given out.

Everybody everywhere wanted a pin. The New York Associated Press reported, ‘The newest craze is to show your affection by sending your heroes I AM LOVED® buttons.’ President Lyndon B. Johnson, Frank Sinatra, Joe Namath, Jose Ferrar, Sammy Davis Jr., and Snoopy creator, Charles Schulz, were among the many celebrities and public figures to receive I AM LOVED® buttons.” Since their inception, the pins remain available free in all Helzberg Diamonds stores to this day.

And so yesterday I drove to the Helzberg Diamonds store at Pembroke Lakes Mall to get the buttons/pins for you. I hope you’ll take one and wear it as a reminder to yourself that you are indeed loved by God!

In Christ’s love.

Pastor Candy Thomas
Interim Pastor
Christ Congregational United Church of Christ