Saturday, August 26, 2006

Small things, great love

“In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”

Although the words belong to Mother Teresa, Ken Medema cemented them in the minds of National Youth Conference (NYC) participants as song lyrics. The lesson, one of Jesus’ teachings, took root in the hearts of many. It was not hard to see the fruits of the spirit growing rapidly.

The generosity of young people is often discounted because of a perceived lack of resources or apathetic attitude. In fact, the generosity of people in general is underestimated for a myriad of reasons. And while the Church of the Brethren is not isolated from financial concerns, sharing resources as a sign of faith is still common practice.

On July 23, the hottest day of NYC 2006, thousands did one small thing with great love by participating in the REGNUH 5K Walk/Run to “turn hunger around.” Event supporters gathered pledges, and youth from 30 congregations even tithed 10% of their NYC registration fee. In total, the amount collected from the REGNUH Walk/Run and a worship offering garnered $87,078 for the hunger ministry of the Church of the Brethren General Board, the Global Food Crisis Fund. However, since NYC, money has continued to pour in; $8,000 additional dollars have been given, and donations are still arriving. Walking five kilometers to benefit those who face hunger is indeed a small thing; yet because it was done with great love, the blessings have also been great.

Perhaps the generosity of the youth is indicative of a wider and growing generosity in the church. Two funds of the Church of the Brethren General Board recently gave three grants, totaling $68,555, for the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon, rebuilding following Hurricane Katrina, and a hunger relief program in Guatemala.

The Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) has given a grant of $25,000 to support a Church World Service appeal for the humanitarian crisis created by the Israel/Hezbollah war in Lebanon. The EDF also granted $25,000 for Brethren Disaster Response to open a new rebuilding site in an area affected by Katrina.

The Global Food Crisis Fund allocated $18,555 to help increase food diversification through community greenhouses and patio gardening.

While these offerings may not end world hunger or humanitarian crisis, they are evidence that our Church of the Brethren identity as those who act according “to the glory of God and our neighbor’s good” lives on.

Souce: October 2006 Tapestry Newsletter

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