Unexpected Money Can Become Unexpected Generosity

Unexpected Money Can Become Unexpected Generosity

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Dear Partners in Ministry,

As you have probably heard, the federal government started distributing CARES Act stimulus checks of $1,200 per adult and $500 per dependent child on April 9.  I encourage you to invite members and friends of your congregation to donate a portion or all their stimulus check to a charity.  Unexpected money can become unexpected generosity.

I’ve made a available a sample letter (Word version; PDF version)  you can modify to fit your local congregation’s specific context and ministry. Mail, or email, a version of this letter to your congregation according to your time and resources; for example, do you have someone(s) who could help you with this? Personally, I think a mailed letter will likely get more attention, but you may not have the capability to do this. If you do email it, please consider using, “unexpected generosity from unexpected money” in the subject line.   

I strongly recommend the letter come from someone who is also donating a portion or all the stimulus check as it will be most effective if it speaks with the voice of “please join me in doing this.”  If you need the stimulus check for your household, I completely understand, and that is perfectly okay. In that case, recruit a lay leader who can send this letter in their name. Indeed, it might be more effective to pursue this option anyway for we know that sometimes our people hear things differently when they come from respected lay leader than they do from us.

Next, include 2-3 charitable organizations people can donate to that would appeal to your congregation.  Because of the disproportionate effect of the Coronavirus and the economic toll on communities of color, I would ask you to please include an organization or program that addresses racism and/or its structural effects. 

With regard to receiving these gifts, your congregation may want to create a “stimulus fund” to ease accounting and enhance transparency. Include addresses of where to mail checks and links for electronic giving for the organizations you identify. If you need help setting up online giving, please let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

The stimulus checks may be crucially important to some of our households. That is the intent. However, for others it may not be crucial. Instead, they may be in a position to use to this unexpected gift to improve other people’s lives. Together, we engage in unexpected generosity.
                                                                                                           
Your brother in Christ,
 
David Cleaver Bartholomew
Transitional Associate Conference Minister for Stewardship and Financial Development
Southern New England Conference, UCC
 
 

Author

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David Cleaver-Bartholomew

Rev. Dr. David Cleaver-Bartholomew is the Transitional Associate Conference Minister for Stewardship and Financial Development for the SNEUCC.

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