Dear Friends in Christ,

As we move into the New Year I’m filling out reports and evaluations for 2018. Various reports have asked questions about various aspects of our giving of the year. That has made me curious; I’ve been wondering what our total benevolence giving as a congregation for 2018 looked like. I’ve been wondering, if we listed out everything we gave – giving through the budget, donations to PATH, special gifts, food donations, what is the total amount that we as a congregation have given for others? So I did some figuring and here are the numbers that I’ve come up with.

$17,080 was our budget line item for benevolence. We split that amount between local work and work through the NALC. Half of our benevolence budget stays local and is overseen by our Social Ministry Committee. The other half is given to the NALC and ministries of the NALC.

So, half of $17,080 is $8540 and that was given to NALC related work. That giving included direct giving to support the work of the NALC, giving to our companion synod in Ethiopia, support for the Hispanic ministries in Dallas, and support for Sola Publishing House.

The other half, again $8540, was overseen by our Social Ministry folks and was given to local needs and overseas needs, members in need, food drives in the Tyler community, PATH and its various outreaches, etc.

Here is the listing of what our Social Ministry Committee has done in 2018:

January- Haiti Education Foundation- $300.00
February- Salvation Army- $300.00
East Texas Food Bank- $300.00
March- Meals on Wheels- $300.00, Tyler Smith County Child Welfare Board- $400.00
April- Bethesda $300.00, Hope Haven of East Texas- $300.00
May- St. Paul’s Children Fund- $300.00, Hands in Action Christian Association- $300.00
June- HiWay 80 Rescue Mission- $300.00
July- Church Under a Bridge- $300.00
August- Refuge of Life- $300.00
September- Pastor’s Discretionary Fund- $1000.00
October- Tyler Smith County Welfare Board- $300.00
November- Samaritan’s Purse- $873.00 (Postage for 97 shoeboxes), Azleway- $300.00
December- Heifer International- $1200.00 (4 treadle pumps @300.00 each)

In addition to this benevolence through the budget, we have also done a good numbers of things outside of our budget. Here is a listing of additional things we have done:

$11,000 (approximately) was given in special gifts for those in need in our congregation and community.
$2850 was given in scholarships so that youth could attend Bible Camp at Lutherhill.
$165 was given to PATH’s fan drive last summer.
$850 donated by the Primetimers to various charities in our local community.
175 quilts were made and donated by our quilters. Most of the quilts were given to the local police and fire department to help victims of accidents and home fires, to the Shriner’s Hospital, and to the Children’s Advocacy Center here in Tyler. (What a great ministry to our local community!)
200 lbs. of food were donated for our annual November drive for PATH.
149 lbs of soup were donated to PATH in the February Souper Sunday Drive.
97 Christmas Shoe Boxes filled with gifts for children all over the world.
4 senior citizens were given gifts for Christmas in our Christmas in the Neighborhood drive.

I’m impressed. I know we are Lutheran and are very concerned not to brag on ourselves. But I’m impressed. We gave over $31,000 in cash and many other donations of food and gifts and needed items.  That was a great 2018.

Let’s keep up the good work in 2019. As Christians Jesus always calls us beyond ourselves into the needs of the community. Let’s keep on growing in our giving!

And of course to you all – THANK YOU!

God Bless,
Pastor Mark

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