I loved this idea as soon as I heard about it. Five local United Methodist churches are sponsoring a project giving you an opportunity to tell us what makes you hopeful. Their question to you is: Where do you see signs of hope today?

Methodists will be out in public, at parks and town centers, inviting you to answer that question. The five UMC churches participating are: Cox Memorial, Green Street, Highland Avenue, East Pittston, and Dresden/Richmond. Each church’s website will publish event dates, times, and locations, and some of your responses will be posted on a Facebook page, Moveable Feast of Hope.

The goal is simply to give you a chance to tell us the ways in which you feel hopeful for your communities and the world. And yes, in the current divisive political environment, we all need this. I urge you to participate. If you need more information, contact Rev. Nancy Bischoff at 229-2094 or [email protected]

I see signs of hope and inspiration all around me, starting with my wife, children and grandchildren. They are thoughtful, caring people who make me proud and inspire me every day. The work of my brother Gordon and sister Edie give me hope too.

I find hope in the Pihcintu Multicultural Choir of Portland, all high school girls who came here to escape famine, war, bloodshed, and political turmoil in their home countries. Their music is amazing and inspiring.

And I don’t have to leave Mount Vernon to find hope. We live amongst the most wonderful people. As a trustee of our library, I am so grateful for our great librarians and volunteers. And it really warms my heart when I see the children’s room full of kids enjoying books. Yes, they are our future.

Just up the road our teachers are doing a great job of teaching and inspiring our kids. Down at the fire station, volunteers work hard to keep us safe. Every Tuesday morning we men gather for breakfast at our community center, and on Saturdays the entire town has an opportunity to share breakfast there — a great opportunity to get to know each other, including our summer residents who really love our town.

Volunteers keep watch over our lakes and ponds, clear hiking trails, pick up roadside trash, and look after each other and our communities. We have a group that is available to help those who need transportation, very important in a rural community.

Linda and I are blessed with friends and neighbors who take care of everything from our gardens to our cat while we are away. Yes, I see signs of hope in the friends who surround us here. Two friends who live in the village have a sign on their lawn: Hate Has No Home Here.

Throughout the state, strong support for conservation, from the Land for Maine’s Future program to local land trusts, inspire me and give me hope. We are saving — for all of us — our very best places.

We also have great medical professionals, ready to keep us healthy. We were so inspired by the kindness and service of the folks at the Togus hospice unit when Dad was there for the last six months of his life. Gordon, Edie, and I recently sponsored a weekly outdoor barbecue for patients at the hospice and dementia units and their families, a heartwarming event. I’ve had my own health challenges and I can tell you we are blessed by all the organizations and medical folks who are caring for us every day.

I’m given hope by friends who work in missions from India to Zambia to Haiti to America, some in dangerous situations, but eager to bring help — and hope — to those in need.

I also find hope in my own Methodist church in Kents Hill, where love and faith surround us.

I even find hope in you, the readers of my columns, when you express your own thoughts after reading mine. We all need to engage in these issues and challenges.

Which brings me to our political world. Hanging out at the State House this year, I found many legislators who are there for all the right reasons, to serve us and our state, and tackle and resolve our challenges. Someday — hopefully soon — they will find a way forward that works for all of us. Yes, I am hopeful that this will happen.

Where do you see signs of hope today? In addition to participating in the Methodist Church project, feel free to email your answer to me at [email protected]

George Smith is a writer and TV talk show host. He can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or [email protected] Read more of Smith’s writings at www.georgesmithmaine.com.