When Neil and I relocated to Waynesboro almost five years ago, we began looking for a faith community. Since we met at a presbyterian church and have been members of PCUSA churches in our various moves over the 33 years of our marriage, attending local presbyterian churches was a good place to start. One Sunday after attending a service at WPC, Pastor April invited us to coffee to get to know us and we shared our faith journey with her. As we continued to worship at WPC, there were so many others who welcomed us. I was drawn to the acceptance and sense of community I experienced here.
When Covid was in restrictive mode, I enjoyed the creative ways the church continued on. My personal favorite was the Sunday service in the parking lot, sitting in the shade under the big oak trees. (A special thanks to those that lead the services in the sun.) There was a familiarity to attending and being a part of the faith community when in person activities returned as Covid restrictions were lifted. Later the support and care we received when my in-laws died were a great comfort to our family. I felt like the church had become an extended family.
There are so many ways that the church ministers to others, both for those they meet inside its walls and outside in the community. I have seen the generosity of church as care is extended through members and friends to others in the community: whether it is providing a playground, a blessing box for neighbors in need, helping alongside the homeless, or running a drama camp for kids, just to name a few.
My initial views of generosity were influenced by my dad and grandmother. They didn't really talk about how they helped others but being around their friends the helper stories “slipped out” as friends would tell me how they were generosity recipients. As I grew in my faith, I was intrigued by Jesus’s teachings about giving. And not just about money. I was challenged to be a good steward of not only my finances but also time and talents. He presented a topsy-turvy world where the first shall be last and the poor are rich! I wanted to be part of that. A scripture that has continued to encourage me to give is from 2 Cor 9:6- 8: “Each of you should give what you have decided to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” It’s a great reminder of my priorities.
My prayer for all of us is that as Christ’s people we will embrace a generous lifestyle to one another in our fellowship and beyond.