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By Tiffany Morris-Street
This month we have been inviting members to reflect on the ways in which Christ Church Cranbrook helps them to Make Room for God in their life, and how that relates to their decision to make a pledge to support our mission and ministry.
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” — 2 Corinthians 9:7
Until I joined Christ Church Cranbrook, almost 11 years ago, I had never been an adult member of a church. I asked the pastor what being a member entailed and he said two things: regular attendance and you must pledge. Pledge? I had never heard of it. So I Googled “what does the bible say about pledging” and the above verse came up.
Well, I thought, surely this only refers to the wealthy and that’s not me so, a modest amount in the free will offering plate would have to do — along with an abundance of my time in service and ministry to the church of course. Being at the church and being involved brought and still brings me great joy. My faith in Christ helps me to look for the good in others, especially when the world can seem so dark.
Two years later, I was asked to share at Advent by Candlelight. By this point, I had two babies and nothing in my closet fit. We were a young family surviving on one income. I know, this is gauche. Who talks about money? But I’m saying it: We truly did not have any money to spare. Even so, I needed to buy something new, that fit, that would make me feel confident as I spoke in front of a large group of women at the church I had grown to love. I went to Macy’s with my sons in their double stroller and I tried on several dresses. I was excited and I struck up a conversation with another woman in the dressing room who coincidentally was going to attend an “advent by candlelight” service at her church. Finally I found what I would wear, I went to pay for it and my card was declined.
It was Christmas time and there was a long line. I was mortified.
“Please check it again. I know there’s money on the card”. Declined. Again.
I stepped out of line to call the credit card company. The boys began to cry. They were tired of being in a stroller and tired of being at the mall. And then the saleswoman tapped me on the shoulder and handed me a bag and said “the woman behind you said enjoy your event and Merry Christmas”. I burst into tears. The kind woman from the dressing room had purchased my entire outfit (including the things I was going to put back) and left without a word except, “enjoy.”
I cried all the way home. I cried when I told my mother, I’m almost crying thinking about it right now.
That woman was a blessing to me. She gave generously, humbly, and cheerfully. It wasn’t the material things that mattered but how she had made me feel, what she had enabled me to do: confidently share my story with my church community. The next time the stewardship committee asked, we answered. Not because I felt that we should, but because I wanted to help this place, that brings me so much joy, to thrive. I pledge so that when my children ask if we’re helping the homeless I can confidently say, yes! I pledge so that when someday, there is someone who can’t make their mortgage or their car payment or who needs a helping hand, I know that I have given generously, humbly, and cheerfully as God intended. I want to be a blessing to someone because I have received so much from this church and my faith in Christ.
Make your pledge online today and join a community of faith that makes room for God, while making a difference in the world! Want to share your story? Email Fr. Chris at email@example.com