In January, 2015, under the leadership of Rev. Dan Bonner from the Center for Urban Congregation Renewal, Trinity crafted its current vision statement: “Growing in love and service through relationships with God and community.” I have always been passionate about our vision statement because it reminds us that Christianity is more than a belief system; our faith is about how we live in relationship with God and with those around us.
In the summer of 2015, several Trinity members took a field trip to Broadway UMC in Indianapolis. That spring, many members also attended a local United Way event led by Robert Lupton, author of Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (and How to Reverse It). As a result of those experiences, we began to give deeper thought to Trinity’s Care Fund and how to better serve those in need around us. In July, 2017, as a result of a conference grant, Ruth Smith, PhD, became our consultant for community engagement and helped us grow in our understanding of Asset Based Community Development.
Today, Trinity’s Caring Fund has become a tremendous resource to provide – not only financial assistance – but the building of relationship and development of skills. Participants experience the satisfaction of knowing their efforts help our congregation better serve our community and that their work is making a difference.
This summer, since mid-June (a span of less than two months), Trinity has provided 14 people with $775 in financial assistance in exchange for volunteer service at our church totaling approximately 79 hours. Tasks have included cleaning, office work, weeding the garden and working on a variety of maintenance projects. Volunteers worked alongside Trinity members so that relationships were built or deepened as individuals worked. Assistance ranged from gift cards to rental assistance depending on the expressed need of the volunteer. Many of these individuals have attended or participated in church events. Together, we are living out Trinity’s vision of “growing in love and service through relationships with God and community.”
This ministry has been able to grow because Trinity received a Ministry with the Poor grant through our conference. Beyond the grant, Trinity’s Caring Fund depends entirely on contributions collected on communion Sundays.
I would like to encourage your generosity toward this important life-changing, relationship-building ministry. Please contribute generously on communion Sundays.
Furthermore, as we move into fall and begin to prepare for Trinity’s fall pledge campaign, I pray that you will increase your overall giving to Trinity in 2019. As Ruth and I have frequently discussed the potential of our Caring Fund to change lives, we recognize that budgeting for this ministry would allow it to grow. It would expand our community partnerships. (We are currently focused on connecting with individuals in need through LUM, the Y Women’s Shelter, and Home with Hope.) It would allow us to set goals and plan on an annual basis rather than unpredictably fluctuating month by month. However, in order to designate a portion of our budget for this vital ministry, operating budget pledging must increase. I hope you will be in prayer for this ministry and for the 14 individuals who have been impacted by this ministry since mid-June. And I hope you will generously give to support Trinity’s vision of “growing in love and service through relationships with God and community.”
--Pastor Tracey Leslie
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