When I was a member of St. Matthew’s Parish Life Guild (PLG) in the 1990s, our mission was a concerted effort of outreach. Through our fundraising efforts, we were able to contribute financially and personally to organizations whose work affected those who were troubled and in need. As members of PLG, we all felt a feeling of satisfaction knowing we could assist others in some small way.
As I said, that was several years ago.
Fast forward to the last three years: Economic downturn. Jobs lost. Foreclosures in every city and town. Charitable donations on the decline. Our church’s PLG has had to focus some of its outreach money inwardly to assist with our operating budget. We still fulfill our mission, but the amount given has been less and fewer organizations have benefited.
When I became President of the PLG, my goal was simple. What could one person do to help others?
We have frequently heard the phrase, “Time, Talent and Treasure.” Not only can we contribute financially, if able, but the use of our God-given talents is also a way to fulfill our responsibility towards a greater good.
Through the blessing of a wonderfully active parish and the interest of others, I offered an eight-week quilting class to the women in our church. Some women had quilting experience; others were just starting out. All were enthusiastic and eager to learn an age-old tradition aimed at fostering community and warming the bed. We laughed, learned more about each other, grew in fellowship and had a wonderful time.
At the class’s conclusion, I gave a portion of the registration fee to our PLG outreach account. As I had learned about Episcopal Relief & Development through Teri Lawver, a board member and St. Matthew’s parishioner, my request was that the money be earmarked for the agency’s disaster relief efforts following the Japan earthquake.
We are each but a grain of sand in God’s world. However, just think about the gifts we possess! Individually and collectively, we can all make a difference.
Colleen Bell is a member of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Pennington, New Jersey, and President of its Parish Life Guild.
- What We Do
- Alleviating Hunger
- Creating Economic Opportunities
- Promoting Health
- Responding to Disasters
- US Disaster Program »
- Our Programs »
- Power of Partnerships
- Millennium Development Goals
- Where We Work
- Who We Are
- What You Can Do
- Gifts for Life »
- Donate Now
- Monthly Giving
- Other Giving Opportunities »
- Act »
- Stay Informed »
- Press & Resources
- 2013 Press Releases »
- Six Months After Hurricane Sandy, Dioceses Continue to Aid Community Recovery
- NetsforLife® Encourages Communities, Stakeholders to 'Invest in the Future. Defeat Malaria'
- New Website Gives Episcopal Relief & Development a Fresh Look, New URL
- Post-disaster Prayers and Resources: Boston and Texas
- Prayers and support after earthquake in China
- Photo Gallery
- Video Gallery
- Online press kit
- Media contact information
- Resource Library
- Link to our site
- 2013 Press Releases »
- Church in Action