Give Your Heart ~ Christmas 2012

Dear Trinity Family,

One of my favorite Christmas songs is “The Rebel Jesus,” written by that great hymnologist :-) and 70s rocker, Jackson Browne. Here’s what he sings:

…Once a year when Christmas comes, we give to our relations And perhaps we give a little to the poor if the generosity should seize us But if any one of us should interfere in the business of why there are poor They get the same as the rebel Jesus

Not exactly one of our more popular feel-good carols, but poignant in its message of calling us to action, the kind of action that makes Christmas count, and not just for ourselves, but for people hurting all over the planet. Trinity is committed to both kinds of actions that Browne mentions: charitable giving that addresses immediate needs and working toward systemic change that interferes with the oppression keeping so many people down, isolated, and powerless. We want our giving to really matter, to permeate those areas that change lives and lift the ceiling of hope in others’ lives. In these uncertain economic times, it’s good to have places and people we can count on. I want to assure you that the money you’ve given this year to Trinity for our ministries and mission has been that kind of meaningful investment. Just look at some of the causes you supported with your heartfelt gifts to Trinity in 2012:

Reading Is Fundamental, Reconciling Ministries, SafePlace, Griffin School Community Gardens, Pastors for Peace, iACT, Austin Interfaith, OutYouth, Africa University, Hurricane Sandy Relief, Methodist Children’s Home, Homeless Ministries, Hope Food Pantry, North Central Caregivers, and Thanksgiving & Christmas Baskets for Ridgetop Elementary School families.

Thank you. One of the blessings of being a part of a community is that we can accomplish so much more together than we can alone. Your generosity in 2012 is the best example I know that testifies to this.

Many in our own church are hurting, yet one of the ways we’re blessed as a community is that our efforts don’t hinge on any one of us alone, but on all of us together. Together, we make a great impact. That’s why I need your help with one more thing before this year closes. We’ve accomplished much, but we’ve also committed to even more ministries. This isn’t for staff salaries or for utility bills; it is for Apportionments, commitments we have made to fund real ministries in the larger Methodist Church—“a portion meant for others.” Together, we’ll be able to fund ministries like these:

Interrupting Poverty by training and placing 50 native leaders with strategic mission partners in poor areas to respond to critical issues important to women and children; Impacting Global Health to work with international partners to reduce malaria-related deaths of children under the age of 5 by 66%; Assist with pensions and insurance for 242 retired pastors and 121 surviving spouses; Provide academic scholarships and loans for United Methodist students (ask Jessica and Britt how important this is!); Support traditionally black United Methodist colleges (such as Huston Tillotson University right here in Austin); Underwrite activity with the World Council of Churches and all the justice work they carry out; and Support local UM outreach centers to poor citizens like the Montopolis Friendship Community Center & the Southside Community Center in San Marcos. These and literally thousands more ministries—all made possible through Apportionments.

For your Christmas offering this year, I’m asking you to dig down deeper, give to Trinity, and stand with the Rebel Jesus for these important causes. You generosity won’t be wasted or squandered. Instead, you’ll do your own part in making a huge difference in people’s lives and improving circumstances much more difficult than our own. Please send in your gift by the end of the year or place it in the offering plate on Christmas Eve or on Sunday, December 30th.

Christmas blessings!

Sid Hall

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