“And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: they gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But since you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you – see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”
2 Corinthians 8:1-7 NIVUK
One of the core values we want to model as a community is generosity. Generosity in every area of our lives. Generous with our faith, our words, our time, our talents, our love and our money.
In November we're going to have an opportunity to model that generosity with our money, through our gift days on the 15th and 22nd November. We want to raise £100,000, all of which we want to give away either locally, nationally or internationally.
Locally we want to give grants to people doing great work in our community. That could be a charity, a school, a church or any other locally based group. We'll be asking people to nominate organisations to give to - we'll announce how that process is going to work nearer the time. In the meantime please be thinking about who you might want to put forward, but please don't speak to anyone in any of those groups as we wouldn't want to end up disappointing anyone.
Nationally we're going to partner with Cinnamon Network, a brilliant Christian charity which specialises in giving grants of £1,000 or £2,000 to churches looking to set up social justice projects in their local communities. This is a list of the amazing range of projects they sponsor, some of which we'd be familiar with and others which I think will be new to us. Hopefully we can help in the launching of a whole load of new initiatives all around the UK, helping churches to make a real difference in their communities just as we have.
Internationally we'd love to have money to give to our friends in Albania, Estonia, Serbia and Lithuania, specifically to help them with making improvements to their church buildings. The amazing thing in those nations is how much they can achieve with what to us would be relatively small amounts of money - our giving there will make a huge difference to the life of those churches.
I'll write more on each of those areas over the coming weeks, but in the meantime please be thinking and praying about how you are going to excel in the grace of giving.