Do you remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014?  The premise was simple—donate to help find a cure for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) or dump a bucket of ice water over your head.  The challenge swept the nation, raising $115 million.  My grandmother, Mary Doutrich, died from ALS in 2013 after a three year battle.  So the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was especially important to my family as we had just lost my grandma.  Like many, we both dumped ice water on ourselves and donated.  Raising awareness for anyone who’s been affected by ALS was important, as was raising money to help find a cure and help people live with the disease for however long they have left on this earth. 

In the spirit of doing something good and contributing financially to a good cause, we were having conversations at Stewardship about how to address our $26,000 budget deficit.  How can we encourage generosity to our spiritual home—the people, programs, and place— that provides hope and healing? 

So, here’s a Lenten challenge, and we hope that you’ll accept it.

For Lent this year you may be giving something up or taking something on.  No matter what you do, challenge yourself to give financially to the church based on your Lenten practice. 
-Maybe you decide that you’re giving up swearing.  Every time you swear, put some money in your swear jar and give it to CFC by Easter!
-Maybe you want to get outside and walk some more.  How about for every walk you take during Lent you give the church a certain amount per walk?
-Maybe you’d like to support wonderful local businesses—for every $1 you spend, could you match that amount for your church home? 
-Maybe once a week you and you family will sit down and watch a movie together.  No other devices allowed to be on either.  Each time you succeed, give to benefit your church family too.
-Maybe you decide to adopt a stretch of road and clean up any litter that may appear.  Wonderful!  Could you give the church money for each item you’re able to throw away or recycle?

Here’s the thing, this is a personal challenge for you.  The possibilities are endless! 
It all depends on however you’re observing the holy season of Lent.
And if you’re not observing Lent in any particular way, maybe you can give because generosity is a Christian spiritual practice in and of itself.  Any amount is greatly appreciated.
You get to decide how much you’re willing and able to give.  As I am fond of saying, don’t give until it hurts, give until it feels good.  Give so that our congregation can continue to be a beacon of hope for our community.  Lent has begun, may it be a time of transformation on our respective journeys of faith.

Love,
Pastor Lauren

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This Week’s Thoughts 2.17.21