Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Relief after Hurricane Gustav

While we were at the pastors retreat in Blackstone, our District Superintendent, Larry Davies, gave us and our churches a challenge. He had visited the offices of Gleaning for the World and had met with Rev. Ron Davidson. It seems that GFTW had 3 truckloads of supplies ready to got to Louisiana, but needed the funds to ship it. The organization God's Pit Crew was ready to take it to Louisiana, but the money to cover expenses just wasn't there.

Larry had committed the Lynchburg District of the UMC to raise the $10,000 needed to ship the $780,000 worth of supplies. He challenged each pastor at the retreat to return to their church or churches and ask the congregation to meet this challenge. For me, this is one of the great things about the United Methodist Church. We have a connectedness that makes it possible for small churches to join together with other small and large congregations to do things that would be totally out of the realm of possiblities otherwise.

This past Sunday I asked the three churches of the Mt. Airy Charge, Republican Grove UMC, Providence UMC, and St. Andrews UMC to pray about what they would do. I told them it was totally up to them as to how much they would or would not give. I simply told them to send the check to the district office and earmark it for GFTW/Gustav Relief.

By coincidence, divine I think, the sermon that Sunday was the last in a series on the "5 Practices of Fruitful Congregations". The title was "Extravagant Generosity". I had actually considered putting of the sermon off for a few weeks. But who am I to change what was, to me at least, a case of heavenly scheduling.

In the newspaper article Larry commented on the fact that many churched in the district had memberships below 100. My three, considerably smaller, churches got a real belly laugh out of that.

My three small congregations contibuted over $500 to help those in need. I will never cease to be amazed at how God's people rise to the call and truly demontrate extravagent generosity.

No comments: