We are excited about our new, local storytelling strategy - Spirit Stories.
Enjoy this next story of how and where the Holy Spirit is moving and dancing in our synod. Hopefully these stories will inspire you in your setting - to wonder, to imagine, to experiment ... AND we would like to hear YOUR stories of what God is up to in your neck of the woods. We will be sharing these via email, social media, and post them on our synod website at www.lutheransnw.org/spirit-stories .
Blessed to be a Blessing
By Charlotte Spada, Member at Celebration Lutheran Church in Anacortes, WA

There’s a buzz of excitement at Celebration Lutheran Church. Members gather following worship to share food, conversation and fellowship over coffee. It’s the first Sunday of the month--time to draw for Blessed to be a Blessing

Two names will be drawn from the jar containing names of each church member. Two members will receive an envelope containing $200.00. Each recipient will prayerfully consider a monetary gift to an organization or person in need. The following month, the members will then be given the opportunity to share the good news of their experience of joyful giving. 

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”  Luke 6:38.

Our church developed this program for benevolence after members read an article in Living Lutheran , August 2018, about a program at Prescott Meadow Lutheran Church in Plano, Texas. The article explained that church members arrived to church one Sunday knowing something exciting was about to happen. Only the council and staff knew that every family would be leaving with envelopes containing checks totaling $125,000. This was part of a mission in that church called “joyful generosity.” Some generous members of the congregation donated money amounting to $150,000.00 to be shared with the 1000 members of their church. When a representative of each family opened the envelope, each found a check for either $250, $500 or $1000 with directions to give it away where the need was greatest. 

Celebration Lutheran is a small congregation located in Anacortes, Washington. With fifty members, we gather each week at the town’s train depot. Our limited funds would not allow for giving at the level of Prescott Meadow Lutheran, but the congregation voted to implement Blessed to be a Blessing monthly, with money allocated by the leadership team.

Each recipient of Blessed to be a Blessing is given an envelope containing the money and this message: 

We are blessed to be a blessing, so look for those around you who are in need of this kind of blessing right now. People near or far to you, strangers, organizations close to your heart or or our church. Pay attention to where God pulls your heart.  

So far, Celebration Lutheran has made gifts to our local food bank, Holden Village, Helicopter Rescue for Vets, an individual with high medical bills, the Red Cross, and Meals on Wheels. Gifts have also facilitated the purchase of cook stoves for third world countries and supported organizations for the homeless and disaster recovery.  Blessed to be a Blessing has given our members a chance to listen carefully to the needs of our community and experience the joy of giving.

Connect with our Celebration friends here: www.celebrationanacortes.org .