I received a letter from a very dear friend of mine in Southern California. She wrote about a situation which recently occurred in her church. I felt that those of you who read my blog might enjoy her account of two churches who have learned to cooperate in touching the lives of the marginalized in their community and in teaching their kids to do the same. Perhaps it will inspire others to follow their example.
I feel a little bit of a need to preface this story. This year I began to team teach Sunday school. The children are between the ages of four and six. I try as often as possible to engage the congregation with the children, as sometimes it seems the children are in Sunday School and forgotten. One of the on going projects that happen at the church is a “Service Board” – the board has various food items on it, which are donated to our local food bank. I serve on that committee as well, and thought it would be great for the children to see the adults model giving.
The service board was set up with all the basic elements for Thanksgiving Dinner baskets- a turkey, yams, potatoes, vegetables, stuffing and etc. Our goal is to feed fifteen families in need for Thanksgiving. In order to participate, people needed only to pull the tag off the board and return the food item to the church. My home church, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, also rents our facility to the local Calvary Korean Presbyterian Church. Over the years we have shared worship together on special occasions and fellowship.
On one Sunday after worship Pastor Paul from Calvary asked me how they could participate in the service board project I explained the process and he said “okay I will talk to the congregation.” The following week Pastor Peter approached me and asked the same question and I explained the same process. He responded as Pastor Paul did and then asked, “Can we give money?” I told him, “Of course. I would be very happy to do the shopping.”
The next week I was in the Sunday school classroom when our current congregational president came in. Her name is Joan. She said to me, “I have a pleasant surprise for you.” I basically rolled my eyes and said, “Now what?” That essentially comes from other hats I wear at church, such as being the property chair. I was certain something else was broken, leaking or needed replacement. She said to me, “No, really it’s a very pleasant surprise. She handed me an envelope and there was a check inside from Calvary for $1000.00. I was stunned. She then said to me, “There is more.” She handed me an additional envelope with $1030.00 in cash. All I could do was to sit down and cry. It was more than I could have ever expected. Calvary, as a congregation, gave the $1000.00 and one of their members matched the $1000.00 and the additional $30.00 came from another member.
Between Good Shepherd’s food donations and Calvary’s graciousness families were fed for Thanksgiving. This left me with nearly $1700.00 to assist families for Christmas. Praise God for His infinite mercy!