A Word About Charitable Giving
Shalimar UMC is a generous church! Aside from regular giving to the
operating fund and no small amount given to designated projects and
ministries, we also have a lot of giving to those in need. In the life of
the church, we often become aware of the needs of people in our
community and respond as a part of our mission to be the hands and
feet of Christ.
We have several avenues for making sure these needs are addressed.
One of those is the Agape fund (Agape, from the Greek word for love).
The Agape fund is a designated fund that makes money available for
pastors to use as the need arises. People from the community are
often beset by temporary hardship, and assistance to keep their
utilities on or their car running can be a blessed relief. The staff works
as a team to verify need and consider the appropriateness of the
assistance. Generally we give the money directly to the company they
need to pay, not to the individuals themselves. Also as a general rule,
we try to avoid giving to the same person more than once. The idea is
that we try to help them through a temporary crisis not create a
chronic state of dependency. On average, we spend about $7000 per
year through the Agape fund, and it is funded by individual giving
specifically to the fund (not part of the operating budget).
Another avenue for giving is the “Communion Rail fund.” Whenever
we serve communion, we offer the opportunity for people to leave
money on the communion rail. It is a good spiritual exercise to
consider the poor when receiving the body and blood of Christ. This
money is accounted for separately distributed quarterly: 25% to
Catholic Charities, 25% to Children in Crisis, and 50% to the Agape
Sometimes people want to give to help a particular person, often a
member of our church. The same procedure applies as with the
Agape fund. We verify need and consider the appropriateness. The
money given for that particular person is treated separately and is
always dispensed as quickly and discretely as possible.
Of course, there are many other ways the people of Shalimar UMC
give to help others. Individual classrooms give to various charities and
people in need. People give money to offer camp scholarships to
children who would otherwise not be able to go. We will sometimes
have a special offering to support a particular effort to help others in
need. For example, last year we gave many thousands of dollars in
money and in donations to help victims of Hurricane Michael. All of
these reflect the love that God has sown in our hearts. It is a blessing
to be a blessing to others.
One final word: Virtually all of our ministries are supported directly or
indirectly through our general operating budget. All of the charitable
giving described above is what we consider to be “second mile” giving.
It is money we give after we have given our basic tithe to the
operation of the church. Without our operating budget, we would
have no structure and no personnel to handle the other charitable
giving. So thank you all for your generous support of our church and
for your second mile giving to help those in need.