I’ve got a story to tell you this month. On the one hand, it’s a story about office equipment, but on the other hand, it’s a story about God, love, generosity, and service.
A few weeks ago, Chris (the Office Manager) and I were talking about the copier. The last repair had fixed some of the problems with it, but wasn’t able to fix everything. This machine, which has served the church longer than both of our years here combined, needed to be replaced.
The very next week, we received a call from Charlotte Hartman, who was retiring as the Administrative Assistant for the District Office in Bend and overseeing the relocation of the office to Portland. Charlotte asked us if we would be interested in their copier. She thought someone had mentioned to her that we might be interested, but couldn’t remember who. It was a color copier in great condition, and all we would need to do was pay the remainder of the lease on it and get some people to go to Bend and pick it up.
All of a sudden, a solution to our problem was placed in our lap! This deal was far better than any we could hope for in a comparable machine. We told Charlotte that we were interested, but needed some time to discuss before we took action.
About an hour after this call came in, Patty Lieuallen (the Chair of the Church Board) and Barb McGowan (our Church Treasurer) happened to both stop by the office. After a brief consultation together, we agreed this was an opportunity we needed to take. The decision was made that we would commit to the copier and ask the congregation for help in paying for it and getting it.
Within 1 hour of asking you, the congregation, for help, you had pledged the full amount we needed to raise and more besides, and we had commitments from people who were willing to go down and pick up the machine the very next day!
So where is God in all of this? God is present through Charlotte thinking of Madras UMC. God is present in bringing leaders together at the right place and time to make a quick decision. God is present in the generosity of the congregation in enabling us to get this machine.
And what difference does this machine make? Certainly we could do the work of God without this copier/printer, but with it we are able to do so much more. This machine helps us print worship bulletins and other worship aids. It allows us to capture information and print forms to help people get ID’s. It allows us to generate forms and print reports to give people food from our food pantry. It gives us a chance to put this newsletter in your hand and thus help connect us to one another in our work together.
And so, it is with great gratitude in my heart that I say thank you to God and thank you to you, and I invite you to continue looking for the ways God is calling you to use your gifts (whether you think of them as a boring piece of office equipment or as a vehicle for growing God’s reign on Earth) to “Grow in love through relationship with God, each other, and our neighbors.”
The love of God be with you! Pastor Dan Benson