2022 Christmas Offering: Community Benevolence Fund

Dear Church,

One Sunday after worship, a young man and his family came to the church seeking help. They were migrant farmworkers trying to get back to their home in Arizona after the harvest. Their van needed new tires, which they could not afford. It was not clear who in Coeur d'Alene could help meet their need, particularly on a Sunday afternoon, and they were not sure where to turn for help, so they came to the church. We were able to purchase the tires and a donor put them up in a motel overnight. We did what we could and then sent them on their way with traveling mercies.

This is just one example of the many asks that the church gets from community members struggling to make ends meet. Church staff often refers requests for aid to area charities that are better equipped than we are to help meet requests for food, housing, and medical care. But sometimes it is not clear who to refer a request to. Other times the charity we refer to is not able to help. Staff are then left wondering whether and how the church can help.

At their November meeting, the Coeur Team approved a proposal to establish a Community Benevolence Fund at CUMC. This is a designated fund that will be used to address benevolence requests that come to the church. The fund can also be used to help meet benevolence requests from area charities or to help church members who are struggling to make ends meet. The Coeur Team will designate checks and balances on the fund to guide staff in how to use the money appropriately. (If you would like to be part of this discussion, please talk to Pastor Amanda.) We hope that the fund will support staff in addressing benevolence requests. But more importantly, we hope the fund will be a blessing to our neighbors in need. Even as patterns of church attendance change, the church is still seen as a place of refuge where people who are desperate can seek a compassionate ear and a helping hand.

Our Christmas offering this year will be the seed money for our new Community Benevolence Fund. If you would like to support this initiative, you can mail a check to the church with "Community Benevolence Fund" in the memo, bring your offering to either Christmas Eve services, or donate online at cdaumc.org/give - choose "Community Benevolence Fund" from the dropdown menu. The fund will also be available to donate to year-round.

At Christmas we recall that God came among us as a tiny baby born into poverty. This demonstrates God's preferential option for the poor and reminds us that our calling as Christians is to seek the welfare of our most vulnerable neighbors. Thank you for your support and generosity as we launch this new ministry!

In Christ,

Pastor Amanda

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