From Rev. Dr. Ginny Brown Daniel, Conference Minister, Missouri Mid-South Conference
I don’t know about you, but years from now when we are finally all vaccinated and the Covid-19 pandemic is a memory within our collective conscience, there are some aspects that I will gladly forget because of the pain they caused. And there are other aspects that I will give thanks to God for sustaining us through those painful moments. I am so grateful that in the hardest times, generosity nourished us for the barrenness we experienced through the pandemic. Generosity inspired retired healthcare workers to return to hospitals, neighbors to check on vulnerable neighbors, New Yorkers to come together every night at 7 pm and to give loud sounds of thanks to the weary essential workers, and patrons to contribute extra dollars to their favorite service providers during the shutdown.
And the UCC embodied that generosity as well. Our churches learned how to worship virtually while our pastors generously provided pastoral care in new and substantive ways. Our Conference staff gave guidelines and webinars while also creating space to care for the clergy’s bodies, minds, and souls. Every organization within the United Church of Christ banded together to share resources, support, prayer, and love. And as much as we gave, we also received that love as precious gifts from God. Our generosity given and received told us that God would never leave us in the toughest moments of the pandemic.
When the pandemic first started and churches had to close their buildings and move solely to online worship, I worried that financial giving would decrease as well. I was joyfully surprised when clergy shared that financial giving was stable and, in some places, actually increased. Upon reflection, it makes perfect sense to me that our generous spirits would include our financial support of our church. Our gifts became a sign to ourselves, each other, and to God that we will get through this pandemic because God is with us!
And isn’t that the core message of the sacred scriptures? God is with us in the scariest moments of our lives. Do not worry about tomorrow because God will be with you through every breath of your life. Therefore, love, give, and receive the fullness of God’s love from others. Gifts that God calls us to give through the hardest moments of life. That is Beloved Community now and forevermore. Amen.
—Generosity Reflection is an occasional musing by United Church of Christ generosity professionals committed to supporting UCC churches across the country.