Wednesday, December 18, 2013
During the last 10 years, St. Paul’s Church in Summerville has donated more than $1 million to ministries around the world.
That’s $273.90 a day, $1,923 a week, $8,333 a month for 10 years.
“Impacting hearts, homes and neighbors with our hearts, hands and help$, is our vision” said the Rev. Mike Lumpkin, Rector of St. Paul’s. “‘Helps is a Biblical word. We put a dollar sign in the place of the ‘s’ on helps because impacting the world takes financial resources, both personal and corporate. I believe, with the passing of the $1 million mark it shows we’re moving in the right direction. It also demonstrates that the expansion of the St. Paul’s campus is not the only major transformation in the life of our historic, downtown Summerville parish.”
The parish crossed the $1 million mark with its $1,300 donation to Water Missions International for the relief effort for the Philippines typhoon in early November.
Selina Hathaway, chair of St. Paul’s outreach team, said the parish’s donations have been divided among local, national and overseas charities. The church contributes about $16,500 in teacher salaries for St. James School in Haiti each year. It also supports the free medical clinic that operates on St. Paul’s property. Some of the groups benefitting from its funds every year include Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, and Help of Summerville, an organization that provides canned goods and financial assistance locally.
“We’re excited about this monetary milestone,” said Lumpkin, “but giving money away is only one level of impacting the world in Jesus’ name. While we want to say ‘yes’ to those fiscal needs, we seek to have more hands-on involvement in the world.”
The result is that St. Paul’s is creating a campus environment that is attracting more and more people to the parish. One recent initiative is Alpha, a 12-week introductory exploration of Christian faith and practice. Another is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). St. Paul’s has the largest AA program in the area, attracting about 120 people to the four weekly meetings.
Earlier this year St. Paul’s began offering a monthly food bank, Impact Ministry Food Distribution. It distributes food to those in need on the second Saturday of each month. In November, 142 families were given 4,163 lbs of food. The church also offers free childcare, a free legal clinic, clothing closet and prayer ministry while the food bank is going on.
“The food distribution was another way of drawing people onto our campus,” said Lumpkin. “It’s helped us connect with people we might not otherwise meet – our neighbors. We’re trying to live out the story of the Good Samaritan.”
The transformation of St. Paul’s began 10 years ago when the church began a spring Tea Room aimed at raising funds for donation. The inaugural Tea Room netted more than $25,000, all of which was used for outreach missions. The most recent Tea Room raised more than $56,000 – again all of which was given to ministries outside the parish.
“The vision of the Tea Room was that we’d do something where all of the money was given away,” said Lumpkin. “It was an immediate success. Increasing the percentage given from our annual operating budget as well has enabled us to do some exciting things.”