June 20 - 26, 2005




 Six months later, awash in relief
When she heard about the Tsunami that pounded nations of the Indian Ocean on the day after Christmas, Mary Zimmerman wondered what she could do to help.
But rather than sit and wring her hands, Zimmerman got busy baking pies and selling them for $6 each at her church, St. Mary's Catholic Church of Winona, Minn. She has sold 400 pies so far and raised enough money to build two houses in Sri Lanka.
"I feel that God was very good to give me this little job," Zimmerman said in a news report. "I feel honored to have been chosen to do this for God and the people over there."
Her can-do attitude exemplifies how Christians have responded to their neighbors in need, raising millions to help the Tsunami victims get back on their feet. Now six months later, the disaster no longer makes daily headlines but Christians are still at work. Items in this week's Gleanings provide some details of how.
For example, Lutheran World Relief and Episcopal Relief have each geared up for the long-term recovery efforts. Meanwhile, congregations still continue to pass-the-hat, such as Oakland Christian Church in Chuckatuck, Va., which gave a check for $10,147 to the Red Cross for Tsunami relief.
Getting people excited about ministry from which they themselves do not benefit is one important way to deepen discipleship, develop generous hearts and open people to the Good News. When Christians take a genuine interest in the welfare of their brothers and sisters, they begin to live out Jesus' teaching that we should love our neighbors as ourselves. And that provides a solid foundation for stewardship.
Mary Zimmerman baked pies. What will you do?
Oakland Christian Church raised money. What will your congregation do?
-Rob Blezard, editor and webmaster
(P.S.: To learn where to donate to Tsunami relief, click here.)
New This Week:
  Resource set: Generations of Generosity
Here is the 2005-2006 collection of stewardship resources for congregations prepared by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. As with their previous years offerings, the set includes stories, Bible studies, Children's sermon ideas, small-group activities and other practical, hands-on ideas for promoting stewardship in a local church. Click here for the Resource set. From the ELCIC stewardship office.

 Opening our hearts and pocketbooks

"We always expect pastors to make sacrifices and to be willing to live frugally for the sake of the Gospel.  I am sure the pastor of my Grandfather's church did. But everyone sacrificed to make sure the church was still there. Click here for the Rev. Dana Reardon's weekly stewardship column.



  Poverty, justice and the environment

This essay explores the connection between the polar opposite issues of poverty and overconsumption on the one hand, and environmental degradation on the other. A thoughtful exploration of the issues. Click here for Poverty, justice and the environment. From the Web of Creation



 Christian Giving in God's World

This insightful essay answers some of the fundamental questions. "Is giving money to God optional? Absolutely not! Christians are commanded by God to give of their possessions to the work of God," writes the Richard Bucher, pastor of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, LCMS, Lexington, Ky. Click here for Christian Giving in God's World. This week's Treasure Chest offering.


  One step ahead

Faced with split-second decisions, sports stars excel because they have repeatedly thought through the situations their games place them in. Churches can learn from this by thinking through financial scenarios and how to handle them before they occur. Click here for One step ahead, the column by Tuck Aaker, who writes for ELCA Stewardship Resources.