Things have been very busy around the church this week. You, as members, friends and neighbors of Greenbelt Community Church have provided an abundant outpouring of support for the victims of the Turkey-Syria earthquakes. Gratitude is an inadequate word for all you have given, both financially and needed supplies.
Over a decade ago this church was engaged in interfaith conversations with the Rumi Forum. The pastor at that time, a member of GCC now, the Rev. Dan Hamlin, was instrumental in fostering the interfaith and intercultural dialogue. Now, a decade later, these connections made it possible for us to support the needs of the earthquake victims in a very tangible way.
I am grateful for Dan Hamlin and Kyla Hanington for asking if Greenbelt Community Church would be willing to collect some needed items. Within one week (the last pickup is today, February 15th), you have made a difference.
Not only have we collected coats and blankets and tents and boots and sleeping bags, you shared what this church was doing with your neighbors. This outreach project became a community project and a witness that “Community” is our middle name (Greenbelt Community Church). You have also given to the United Church of Christ’s disaster relief fund. We thank you. Your church (the United Church of Christ) gives an immediate response to people around the globe caught in disasters. https://support.ucc.org/global-h-o-p-e/turkey-syria-emergency-appeal/donate The money goes directly to where it is needed. It goes before we start writing individual checks because the UCC knows that time is important and that we will faithfully respond to need and replenish the coffers. Again, gratitude.
We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia, for during a severe ordeal of affliction their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity of their part. For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means and even beyond their means, begging us earnestly for the favor of partnering in this ministry to the saints, and not as we expected. …
The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not regretfully or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 2 Corinthians 8:1-4a; 9:6-8.
Paul is writing about how the church of Corinth was generous in its support of the needs of the church in Jerusalem which had been decimated by the Judeo-Roman warfare and by extreme poverty. In this section of 2 Corinthians Paul is boasting about the outpouring of generosity by the Corinthians. Caring for others, even great distances away, is a hallmark of faithfulness.
Thank you for your faithfulness to the people of Turkey and Syria.
(Here are two pictures showing how GCC has made a difference in people’s lives – two different days, two different carloads.)