Love Your Neighbor, Generously
By Jane Brady
Wayne and I recently heard a presentation by Ryan Cumming of the ELCA regarding the book, The Forgotten Luther, Reclaiming the Social-Economic Dimension of the Reformation. During that presentation, Mr. Cumming mentioned that Martin Luther said a church should have two pieces of furniture: the altar and the community chest. Here at St. Paul’s, we certainly have the altar but we also have the community chest. This community chest was to have funds within to provide help to those in need in the community in Luther’s way of seeing economic justice.
Our community chest is not an actual chest or box, our community chest is this entire sanctuary because all of you provide so much assistance to our neighbors, our community year after year.
Through the funds you contribute to local mission, we purchased 36 cookbooks on Eating Well on $4.00 A Day for some of our pantry clients, our neighbors in need.
Through the purchase of Boscovs discount tickets, you provided funds to purchase food as needed for the essential bags we give out once a month to our neighbors in need who come to the food pantry.
Speaking of the food pantry, we believe the St. Paul’s Food Pantry was established about 25 years ago. From January to June of this year, 2017, 410 people came to our food pantry. Even if we say 600 people come in a year, over the 25 years, you have provided essential food assistance to at least 15,000 neighbors. That is an amazing story of your generousity to the community chest.
Money from the local mission fund that you support is now buying food once a month for ten needy families at a school here in Edison so they have food on weekends when the children are not in school, to receive free breakfast and lunch. This new program, called Weekend Helpers started this month. Karen, the school nurse told me last Tuesday when I dropped off the 10 bags, that one of the little boys whose family will receive one of the bags, told her he cannot wait to get the bag because he loves macaroni and cheese and when he gets it, he will make it and take it to his room and eat all of it. Your generousity makes his smile possible.
With Thanksgiving around the corner , we will be asking for our community chest to assist 10 neighbors who are pantry clients with all the items for their Thanksgiving dinner as we have been doing for a few years. Our Sunday School students also helped to make baskets with specific items that you brought in already. See me next Sunday after church if you want to purchase one or more items for these baskets as we ask our neighbors directly what they would like in their baskets.
It seems to me that the St. Paul’s Community Chest is like the parable in the Bible of the woman whose jar of oil never got empty. Our community chest never seems to be empty which means we can continue to help our neighbors. Thank you.
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