Friday, May 13, 2011

Faith community's role in helping others in times of need

Gary Reierson
I attended the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches' (GMCC) annual meeting earlier in the week.  Gary Reierson, the CEO and President reflected on the fact that they are working to do more with less.  Resources have diminished while the need for services has increased, with greater numbers of people of finding themselves unemployed, homeless and or hungry.  GMCC has a number of programs which engage people of faith to meet human needs.

GMCC's 2010 Annual Report
With the public's inability or opposition to raising taxes to provide a safety net to the vulnerable among us, it seems that the faith community is going to be looked upon to do more to respond to human needs.  One current example of this is the flooding taking place in Memphis, Tennessee.  I've heard that the faith community has taken the lead in sheltering and housing those impacted by the flood.  The American Red Cross, typically the first responder for situations such as this, has welcomed their intervention.

Looking at the role of the church in the future it may be wise to consider redefining its primary function from being a space for worship, to one for feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, nurturing infants and toddlers and providing counseling to people in their times of need.  Who knows, with the continued rise in health care costs, churches might even find themselves needing to serve as clinics for those under/uninsured.

A Minnesota Without Poverty, has a skit "Budget holes and hotdish", which speaks to the folly of trying to plug the serious financial needs of the state with church funding.

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