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Ministry Engagement & Support 2
While tummies are still full from Thanksgiving and hearts have just begun to glow with the first candlelight of Advent, the secular calendar offers yet another important observance — #GivingTuesday.
During the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) #GivingTuesday 12-hour digital telethon set for Dec. 1, the Rev. Dr. Kathryn Threadgill and team will celebrate their Vital Congregations ministry. Along with dismantling structural racism and eradicating systemic poverty, building congregation vitality are the three foci of the denomination’s Matthew 25 invitation.
When the decision was made earlier this year to hold a virtual assembly, not only did Ruling Elder Elona Street-Stewart and the Rev. Gregory Bentley, Co-Moderators of the 224th General Assembly (2020), have to forego a trip to Baltimore, but they also missed out on the time-honored tradition of gathering with their predecessors who have also held the denomination’s highest elected office.
Thanks to #GivingTuesday, their wait is over.
When I joined the foundation related to a small military school in Virginia, my boss, a retired U.S. Army colonel, made it clear. “If anyone wants to designate a gift, you say, ‘yes sir/ma’am and thank you.’’’ Not having been in the military myself, I thought this was a grand time to make a joke. “Well what if it’s for something silly, like basket weaving?” His look made it very clear, “Yes sir/ma’am and thank you” was the correct response.
When the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020, most Americans did not yet have year-end charitable giving on their mind.
Now is the time that they should.
Among the many challenges of the current pandemic, charitable giving has not been one of them.
Jesus points to a widow who gives out of love. She did not seem embarrassed about a small gift, nor did it prevent her from giving.
When I was a child growing up in the United Methodist Church, I remember that my parents once got a little cardboard folder to put quarters in. Although I don’t remember whether you were supposed to put the quarters in every day or every week — or even what the project was for — it really made an impression on me that kids could be a part of giving.
With nearly all of her trips to see family and friends temporarily on hold during the pandemic, Lucy Janjigian simply lets her fingers — and her imagination — do the walking, straight through every colorful page of the Presbyterian Giving Catalog.
What has the Presbyterian Mission Agency been up to? What’s it going to be up to? What might get in the way of progress?