Tuesday, September 16, 2014

125 lives and counting

How many lives do you affect for the good daily? With a hello or kind word? By sending a card to someone who's lost a loved one? Holding the door for someone whose arms are full? Volunteering at a local hospital or school of nursing home or church.

The opportunities to increase the sum total of good in the world every day are endless.

Today, I received an email about a possible project of the Diocese of West Missouri. Ideas are being solicited now.

The 125 Lives proposal will come before the Diocesan Convention in November in the form of a resolution. If approved--how could it not be?--the resolution would urge congregations to identify ministries and projects that are helping at least 125 people.

I responded to the email, sending along some of the ways that the people of Christ Episcopal Church are helping others:

FROM the Next-to-New Shop, which I just visited, which is providing clothing to people with modest resources, including job seekers; 

TO the Outreach Team, which provides the food, prepares it, and serves it to homeless teens at Rare Breed (Our team will be there tonight); 

TO the church staff here who daily pass out sack (or, today, box) lunches to hungry people; 

TO the Well of Life Center and our many volunteers there, which is distributing food to the growing numbers of hungry people in the area around church 

(Did you see the story in the Springfield News-Leader on Monday about hunger: Some 250,000 people in the Ozarks rely on food pantries for some of their food, and most of the hungry are working full-time; many of them used to be middle class.); 

TO our Crosslines' volunteers who collect, sort, deliver, and then distribute food to hungry people through the Council of Churches' feeding ministry; 

TO our Bissett Elementary School outreach, which just last week distributed new shoes to the students there, and to the people of the parish who contributed money and time to organizing, fitting, and distributing the shoes to a lot of happy children; 

TO the college work that we (and St. John's Episcopal Church) are doing, with 50 students at the first student gathering here a few weeks ago and some 20 or so attending weekly; 

TO our pastoral care ministers, who help hundreds of people through hospitality at the time of funerals, who cook and deliver meals to parishioners in need, who accompany people on their grief journeys, who deliver flowers to nursing homes and hospitalized people;

TO the St. Gregory Senior Choir, which periodically gives Sunday evening sacred music concerts, which people from the parish and the larger community attend, and which enrich and elevate them; 

TO our Haiti Team--contributors and volunteers, whose giving of time, talent, and treasure daily provides medical and nursing care, high-protein food to malnourished infants, schooling and much more to the people of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere;

TO the Vinton Fellowship, which monthly serves nearly 50 elders--people not just from Christ Church, but also from other parishes and from the wider community;

TO everyone involved in our worship ministries, whose contributions of music, word, and sacrament nourish with spiritual food 250 to 300 people weekly during the regular church year.

As I reflect on our positive impact on many hundreds of lives daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, I am awed and thankful for this community of faith and these people called Christ Episcopal Church. 

Thanks be to God!