>Image via WikipediaLast week I sent the following e-mail out to the congregation. I sent it with some fear and trembling, recognizing that I was asking a lot when we’re having some economic difficulties (to say the least). But I sent it out believing that it was a faithful response a need from the community — that I really can’t say too much about.
Here it is:
We have a need in our community that has come to light just recently. This is a financial need in the amount of $1,300. In order to protect the privacy of those involved I cannot reveal much more than this. I know that my vagueness might make it difficult to get behind this request. I understand this. However, I hope that my 11 years here has built up some trust and you understand that I wouldn’t ask the people of our church to get behind a local mission need if I didn’t believe that it was the right thing for us to do as we try to faithfully witness to Christ in this place. This is so particularly in light of the financial realities we have as we live into our new facility,
I have been in dialogue with __________ and _________ (two of our financial leaders) along with some of my clergy colleagues in Anchorage. We have talked about how to best meet this pressing need while allowing the greatest chance of resolution of the current problem by maintaining the anonymity of those involved. We also talked about how best to phrase this very email, recognizing that it was a difficult thing to do. Please know that, beyond the financial component, other steps are being taken to help.
This is a leap of faith…faith in my judgment and faith that God can use our collective gifts to help bring healing to a troubling situation. The identities of those being helped may or may not be revealed at some point in the future. It will be up to them. This is hard. But, perhaps, as we try to pay off debt, as we make improvements to the building as required, as we look at heating bills and lighting bills, etc….perhaps this is a way for us to really BE the church.
If you can help in any amount, your gift will be well-used. It will be used to help a very local mission situation.
We’ll take up a special offering this week. Please pray about how you can help meet this very real need.
Remember our mission: “Love God. Love others. Change the world.”
Well, on Sunday, I made the appeal again recognizing that it was asking a lot of the congregation. I know persons are more inclined to give when they “know” where the money is going. I know it helps to see the faces and hear the stories to make it personal. But it couldn’t happen this time around.
And the congregation responded very well. I asked for $1,300. $2,150 was given. And the persons to whom the money will go are relieved…for now. There are other issues at hand and we’re trying to hook them up with the resources they need. And, hopefully, we can start to meet some of the immediate needs in the day-to-day running of the church (e.g. light bill, mortgage, construction bills still needing to be paid).
But this was a time “for the church to be the church” giving because it is good to give.
It was a good thing.
It was a God thing.