Author: Libby Black
At the annual meeting in March the question was asked: What percent of our pledges goes toward Mission and Social Action? My answer is, absolutely, 100%.
Church is a place where we learn to be the hands and feet and voices of God; to walk in the footsteps of Jesus as he ministered to the poor, the sick, the homeless. The greatest contribution a church gives to the world is people – adults, youth, and children – who choose a life centered in actionable love. Church reminds us, nurtures us, and cajoles us to remember that to live in faith means to live a life of love: to serve the hungry, to reach out to the homeless, to work for justice for all of God’s people. It is the Church staff who are the reminders in chief: compelling us to respond to the Help Wanted sign in God’s window while simultaneously feeding and sustaining our souls to continue on the challenging path of service, love and justice.
In our Church, we do not put a dollar figure on lives of service. Our budget does not have a line item that reflects our members who are currently making breakfast burritos for the hungry and distributing them at the bandshell; or the Climate Team that is working hard to see how we, as a faith community, might contribute to solutions. It does not reflect the thousands of dollars in free rent that we give to 12-Step groups, nor does it show the hours that members of our church have spent supporting Mindful Works which supports job transition for those with mental health challenges. Over the past year, our members have collected and contributed hundreds and hundreds of pounds of food to EFAA – not in the budget either. The effort and time that members of our church have devoted to getting the local chapter of the NAACP operating and serving on its committees and boards is not a line item. How would we put a dollar figure on the time that many members of our church have and continue to spend in study together examining their own white privilege?
The money that you and I give to First Congregational Church is what makes all of these things happen: our church inspires and enables each of us to LIVE mission and social action. It is ironic, isn’t it, that all of the hours I and others have served, raising money for our beloved church, is for reasons that cannot be measured with a line item in a budget!
Call us. Motivate us. Inspire us. Remind us.
That to live in Your love is to live a life of service.
To feed the hungry, to clothe the poor, to empower the powerless.
To work every day towards living our fullest life in the service of more joy and more justice for the earth and the whole human race.