Summer is here, and with it perhaps a slower pace, a lightening of the “to do” list, a lessening of school pressures, meetings and other obligations.

While the church and your Board of Deacons hopes you’re enjoying a change of pace, please remember—the needs of the poor in our community, as well as financial emergencies in our membership, do not take a holiday in June through August. In these months, just as throughout the year, the Fellowship Fund, administered by the Board of Deacons with the support of the church staff, will continue receiving numerous requests to aid needy individuals and families in our surrounding communities. Our ability as a church to help those facing eviction or loss of electricity or water due to an inability to pay, or to help one of our members facing a financial crisis, depends on the continued generosity of our congregation in supporting the Fellowship Fund.

In his recent sermon entitled “Getting in the Way of God’s Work,” Pastor Mike Clingenpeel spoke of the Fellowship Fund as one of the ways he sees God at work at River Road Church. “Since every human concern is a concern of God,” he summarized recently, “every human concern is a concern of the Church. When we have in our hands the resources to alleviate human suffering and we use them, then we are doing the work of Jesus.”

While the first Sunday of the month is traditionally set aside to remember the Fellowship Fund, gifts are welcome at any time. Fellowship Fund donations may be placed in the offering plate on Sunday, dropped off at the office, or made online through the website. A recent summary compiled by Susan Young in our church office reveals the magnitude of what is accomplished through your gifts.

In the last 18 months or so:

  • Our congregation assisted 334 individuals or families, making payments totaling more than $35,000.
  • Of those gifts, 129 paid the rent or mortgage, 142 kept the power or gas turned on, and 53 paid the water bill.
  • Ten gifts provided food and medicines for those who otherwise might have gone without.

To put a face on these numbers, your gifts:

  • Kept the electricity turned on so a young family could bring their teenaged daughter home to recover following a lung transplant.
  • Sheltered a family of five in a hotel while a social services agency worked to line up available housing.
  • Provided needed medicine for an elderly diabetic man who could not pay the $25 charge.

The needs are many and the requests continue. Please help River Road Church do Jesus’ work—winter and summer—by remembering the Fellowship Fund throughout the year.

by Karen Collier, Board of Deacons