March 25, 2020
To Cascadia District local church pastors, Church Council/Board Chairpersons, and Lay Leaders
Grace and peace to you in the name of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit. I hope and pray you and yours are healthy and staying home as we all seek to keep the Covid-19 pandemic in check.
These are unprecedented times with over 1.5 billion people being urged to stay home, with the ban on gatherings and with all the other elements of this pandemic impacting lives and routines and almost every facet of daily life. And as is the case in situations like this, those that are most vulnerable are the ones most adversely impacted. To help the United Methodists of this District continue to be the hands and hearts of God the District Church Extension Society has decided to grant to each local church and faith community $500.
A hard copy of this letter and the check will arrive at your church by mail within the next week or so.
It is critical to understand the purpose of this grant. It is meant to assist each of you in spreading the love of God and Christ to the most vulnerable; those that have been dramatically impacted by this pandemic. As thousands of our neighbors lose their jobs, see sources of income dry up, and worry about how to provide even the most basic of things for themselves and their families we are still the Church and we are still called by God to serve the least and the vulnerable.
The Church Extension Society is making this grant to you and your congregation to buy gift cards to share with families or to help other ministries that impact the critical needs of the most vulnerable among us. There are some limits and boundaries to this grant:
- It must be used by April 30, 2020 or returned to the District Office.
- It is intended for the purchase of grocery gift cards from local stores for local families to use for whatever they need to make it through this time. Suggestions for how to do this are in the attachment to this e-mail. (See the Files link below the signature line of this e-mail)
- If doing the gift cards is beyond your capability or doesn’t meet what you perceive as the most critical need then you have two other options:
- Give it to your local food bank, church food pantry or meal program for them to use in their work OR
- Give it to your local senior center or senior meal program for their work.
- You are to write a brief paragraph describing how you used the grant and take a picture of where you used it and send both to the District Office (email: Cascadia@umoi.org ) and to the President of the Church Extension Society, Carol Douthit (CascadiaDCES@umoi.org).
Together we can make the love of God real for those who are most in need. God bless, stay safe and well, and make sure to practice all the recommended protocols and personal distancing. We will make it through this by helping each other and with trust in God.
Rev. Tim Overton-Harris,
Cascadia District Superintendent
President, Cascadia District Church Extension Society