Bags of Blessing - by Carol Julius

For some, words come easy. For me, it is harder to express myself. For a little over 25 years I have typewritten other people’s thoughts in the form of minutes. My purpose has been to say what other people meant – not so much what I think.

One thing that usually comes from my thoughts is asking others to describe how the “money is spent” – mostly so I can ascribe the amounts to the correct budget item.  It is a bit of a bother for them because they have ministry on their minds. Oh, don’t get me wrong – we have a very conscientious staff – all very trustworthy – but nonetheless we have many ways to be accountable.

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I am honored to serve amongst the staff at St. John. There is much that is accomplished in the name of God the Father, Jesus the Son the Redeemer, and Holy Spirit the Sanctifier of our faith.

There is one area of ministry that I was instrumental in starting. Our pastors have always had a heart for people who come to St. John for assistance and often shared personal money (and still do on occasion) to help people through rough patches in their lives. In 1988 I experienced a number of those types of requests. In 1989 after my heart had been broken so often by sending people away because a pastor was not in the office at their time of need I was visiting with someone about this and they explained how a church they were involved with had a ministry that addressed such needs.

They called it the Bags of Groceries Ministry and they had volunteers who would fill a bag with basic items to feed a family of four for two days. The bag was designed to fill emergency food needs. That person, who still wishes to remain anonymous, gave the “list of items in a standard bag” and $1200 toward the start of this ministry at St. John. The council approved, and the ministry began.

Many of you have supported this ministry over the years. One anonymous person has supplied certificates for milk and eggs and many others have given offerings. The Sunday school has decided to support the ministry by decorating brown paper grocery bags at Christmas and many of you shopped to fill these bags. This past Christmas you filled 46 bags. Others donated turkeys at Thanksgiving – some have sponsored these Thanksgiving dinners. We gave out 24 Thanksgiving dinners in 2013 and many additional turkeys. There is a wonderful amount of food distributed from Kwik Trip since we partnered with them last July. And then in December we received word that Kwik Trip had donated $367.00 toward our Second Harvest order. In addition many have signed up for the “Million Pound Challenge” and so far we have received enough to shop for a month without charge.

All of this requires a great deal of time and commitment from a large number of people.  

A couple of weeks ago, Linda handed out 37 bags of groceries in a week and a half. It was the time when property taxes were due, and Christmas bills had come due and heating costs had escalated so greatly!

The information contains nothing about the Good Samaritan Fund to help with rent, medications, and utilities, that has also been established here at St. John.

Some have heard this story before; for some it is new. For me it has been an ongoing part of the ministry of St. John ever since I started working in here in 1988.

Blessings,

Carol Julius