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Stimulus Seed Fund

 

In these times of constantly emerging and changing needs due to COVID-19 and the increasing need to address the systemic, imbedded racism in our culture and society, our Presbytery has offered each church a $1,000 grant to use as seed money to address emerging needs. The idea is patterned off of the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) where seed gifts are given and the idea is to receive them and multiply them for greater use and service. This is not $1000 to simply give away charitably, but to see how it might seed a fund that could increase and have a greater impact over time.

Simply by sharing this news with Session, our $1000 has increased to $3500 (through anonymous gifts). And another church in the presbytery, Community of Pilgrims (the only New Church Development in our Presbytery, with whom we worshipped last summer and whose pastor, Brett Webb-Mitchell, has preached for us twice in the past year), asked if we would be open to partnering with them (and offering their $1000 seed grant to that end). Thus, without any invitations to our congregations or the broader community, our fund is already at $4500. Multiplication is already happening!

A small team was formed to do research into possible options for sharing the funds and ways in which to raise and grow the fund. Kathy Stromvig and Rick Warner from our Missions & Peacemaking team, along with Dennis Gilliam, Marshall Welch, and Debbie Warner joined me for initial meetings. Brett Webb-Mitchell and Kathy Fukuyama from CoP joined us more recently. Over the past 5-6 weeks, this group has done extensive work in discovering and discerning a way forward for us all, balancing immediate needs with longer-term needs, current partners with other entities beyond our regular partners, various ideas for how to grow the fund, etc. And this is the proposal and opportunity that has emerged (approved by Session).

MEETING NEEDS, PLANTING SEEDS
Loving Neighbors in the Age of COVID-19 through the Stimulus Seed Fund Initiative
FOUR areas of focus (two current partners, two special opportunities*):
  • Meals on Wheels – As most of us became homebound neighbors in the crisis, this greatly increased the need for meals to our most vulnerable community members (seniors and un-under employed families), and so, multiplied the need for financial resources at Meals on Wheels (one of our central Missions & Peacemaking partners). www.mowp.org
  • Oregon Workers Relief Fund (through EMO – Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon/IMIrJ – Interfaith Movement for Immigrant and Refugee Justice) – Individuals and families who have undocumented members are not receiving government stimulus funds, AND do not qualify for unemployment benefits. OWRF takes 100% of donations and channels them directly to these individuals and families in need (thanks to other sources which cover administrative costs). causaoregon.org/oregon-worker-relief-fund/
  • *Street Roots – With the health crisis keeping people home, Street Roots was forced to cease publication and distribution of their weekly paper. This has impacted all of the nearly 700 houseless partners they employ, leaving them with only a stipend that is a fraction of what they usually earn. 100% of donations go directly to aid those partner employees in these times (again, thanks to other sources that cover administrative costs). news.streetroots.org/2017/01/01/about-street-roots-what-we-do
  • *Human Solutions – Based in SE and NE Portland, Human Solutions provides direct aid and support to those in most pressing need, focusing on families and people of color. (Comm. of Pilgrims brought this organization to our attention, and as we learned about their work, we were greatly impressed with the breadth and depth of their outreach, especially with their focus on people of color.) humansolutions.org (Read more about their vision and focus: humansolutions.org/about-us/ …and their focus on racial justice: humansolutions.org/our-work-must-be-driven-by-and-toward-racial-justice/ )
Potential sources for growing the Stimulus Seed Fund:
  • Moreland members/friends for individual, one-time gifts, or matching gifts
  • Stimulus recipients in congregation paying all or part of their checks ‘forward’ into this Fund
  • Partnering with other faith communities (denominational, ecumenical, inter-faith) beyond CoP
  • Locally-based businesses as additional investors
Timeline for the Initiative:
  • June 28 – Introduced campaign in with a preaching on Parable of Talents in collaboration with Community of Pilgrims
  • July 5, 12, 19, 26 – personal stories on each of the four organizations as a part of worship
  • July – invite people to consider giving to the fund, either as a general donation (going equally to all four groups) or as a designated gift towards one or more of the groups)
  • *Gifts could be distributed all at once, or in phases, depending on needs and donations

With every crisis emerges opportunity. Even in this pandemic, we have been blessed with gifts of time, talent and treasure to offer to others whose most urgent and essential needs have multiplied in this crisis. We invite you to mindfully, prayerfully, faithfully and joyfully consider being a part of multiplying our resources by investing in the Stimulus Seed Fund Initiative. You can donate to the Fund as a whole and your gift will be evenly distributed between the four areas. Or you may designate your donation to one or more specific area. Donations can be made directly to the church office through cash or check or direct deposit, or online on our website by CLICKING HERE

Through our communal efforts and the empowerment of the Giver of all good gifts, we can bring not only relief but encouragement and empowerment and Hope to our neighbors in need so that new opportunities can emerge…for ALL of us.