Dear people of God:
During all the changes and stresses we are experiencing, it’s nice to be able to tell you about something positive and new. Your Session has established a new fund, inspired by one of you, and I want to tell you about it.
We’re calling it the Benevolence Fund; some of you may want to contribute to it and some of you may need to ask for help from it. I’ll tell you the story, and then tell you about the mechanics of the fund.
You may recall that back in March I told you of the suggestion from one of our elders: when you get your CARES Act money from the government, consider whether you really need it. If you don’t need it, then give it away to someone who may need it. Many of us have done that; I gave mine, for example, to two community food banks. But some people really want to make sure that it goes directly to a family, and some may want to help out someone in their own church.
So one of you came to me and asked if we have a fund that you can contribute to so that your CARES Act money will go to a family in our Church that needs help. We didn’t, so I talked to our Stewardship Committee about it; they recommended to the Session the creation of two funds (I’ll tell you about both of them) and the Session agreed.
The Pastor’s Discretionary Fund will be a small amount of money budgeted from our regular contributions to the Church. If a member or neighbor needs twenty bucks for groceries or a bus ticket to Lincoln to visit a sick parent, there will be small amounts available for such assistance.
The Benevolence Fund is something people can contribute to and will be available to church members for larger emergency needs: a month’s groceries during unemployment, or catching up on the electric bill; the sort of thing that happens during the Pandemic. This is not part of the budget, so it doesn’t have any money in it until people contribute. But the money doesn’t disappear at the end of the year; it stays in the bank until needed.
If you are holding onto your CARES Act money, or you have a windfall that you would like to do some good with, you can give it to the Benevolence Fund. Since you don’t control the recipient, the gift is tax-deductible. Give the money to Presbyterian Church of the Master and indicate that it is for the Benevolence Fund.
If you find yourself in an emergency need, contact me and inquire if there is any help available from the Benevolence Fund. I report all disbursements from it, but do not report who receives them, so the request and any assistance are confidential.
Thank you to the one who suggested it, thank you to your Session for making it happen, and thank you to all who contribute to it.