I wanted to share something very exciting with you! Some of you already know about this, but I wanted to ensure that as many people as possible are aware of the opportunity before us. And I wanted to share a bit about my involvement in this story.
My name is David Donoghue, and I often describe myself as a “regular church member”. I’m not part of the global church leadership team, and I’m not a church employee. Just a regular church member, like most of you reading this.
I’m a lifelong member of the church, and currently serve as presiding elder of Scarborough Congregation, in Ontario, Canada. Like so many people, I was shocked & saddened on February 18th when news was released by World Church regarding our current financial situation.
I already had a priesthood meeting scheduled for February 21st, and decided to make the entire focus of that meeting the financial situation facing the church. When we gathered, we opened with prayer, and then watched the videos and had some discussion. During that discussion time, I was sharing some of my own thoughts, and was essentially just talking out loud when I found myself saying “wouldn’t it be amazing if we could just somehow raise enough money right now so that not one person needed to lose his or her job”
That was a light bulb moment. That was an epiphany. I then thought “well why not? Why not find out what it would take, and do something about it?” So I did. First, I created a Facebook group called “Funding Community of Christ” and with some encouragement, I contacted Acting Presiding Bishop Stassi Cramm, and put the question to her: “what would it take to save church jobs?” – and the church leadership responded!
This is so exciting! We have an opportunity to save church jobs! We have been given a real chance to make an amazing difference! When I first heard that jobs were going to be cut once again, my heart wept. I am so distraught that the church I love is in this situation. But my heart is rejoicing knowing that we can actually make a difference. As previously communicated, there is a way for people to respond, with the intent of preventing staff reductions. The details can be found here:
Please visit this page now and respond! I am challenging every church household around the world to submit their tithing plan to the Acting Presiding Bishopric. No matter what you are able to give! Can you give $1,000.00? Can you give more? Can you manage something less? Do your contributions need to remain as is? No matter what the answer, I challenge every church household to create a tithing plan, giving honest thought to your true capacity, and send it in by March 22nd. Even if your contributions cannot be increased, this will help the church leadership have a far more accurate view of what our funding will most likely be over the next few years. Please respond right away! Every household! Send in your tithing plan! Now!
As I said previously I’m a lifelong member of the church (which is not important). I was born into the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am proud to be a member of Community of Christ. Both those names have a great deal of meaning for me.
I love, and cherish, our longer name. For me, it is not our “old name” – it is our longer name. It reminds me of our heritage. It reminds me of our Restoration beliefs and distinctiveness, all of which makes my heart sing! Our longer name recollects the many great things we have accomplished.
I also love and celebrate our new name. It reminds me of the kind of people we are called to be, and whose church we are. It reminds me of our 21st century identity, our focus to put the mission of Jesus Christ first, above all other considerations.
We are a Community of Christ. We are the people of the Restoration. This is the church of Jesus Christ. This is your church, and this is my church. And that is how I think of it. The church is mine. Not in the sense that I own the church, but it is claimed by my heart. Its mine. And I therefore set aside all other considerations, when the church I love, my church, is facing challenging times.
But I can’t do this alone. I need your help. I need every church member to respond. To share this letter, to share posts on social media, to get the word out, and to encourage all church families to act now.
And not just church families, but congregations. What can your congregation contribute? Can your congregation make a gift now, and over the next three years? Has your congregation submitted a tithing plan? There is funding out there! We just need to find it!
I have heard from time to time that some people are hesitant to be as generous as they might, because of concerns regarding church identity, theology, and doctrine. I appreciate the struggles that some people have had in these areas, as I have been there myself. But this is not about that. This is about saving jobs! If you are a member of the church, then you are a member of the church. And some of your brothers and sisters in Christ are at risk of losing employment! Christ’s church needs you to respond, with unprecedented generosity! The Book of Mosiah, chapter 2 verse 32 reminds me that I am a beggar, dependent on God. And now, other people are dependent on me. Therefore, as God always acts freely to provide for me, regardless of my own failings, I need to act freely now to do what I can to provide for others.
I have also seen some questions about “what if we fall short?” Meaning, what if we don’t raise enough to save jobs? To that I say “So what?” Keep giving! Whatever we raise will help the church in some manner and I would far sooner take a risk, and try to save jobs, than hold back. But there really is no risk. Even if we can’t save jobs, there is no risk – because, when you think about it, how can there be a risk with generosity? The church will be blessed by your generosity, regardless of the outcome! There is no gamble with being generous!
But we can only save jobs if we act now. The deadline is March 22nd. We have an opportunity here, and this is exciting! If we succeed with this, imagine how you will feel, knowing that you and your congregation helped save someone’s job. Normally, when a corporation takes action like this, there is nothing the public or the church can do. But we have an opportunity here to prove that we really are a Community of Christ, that we really are the people of the Restoration, divinely established to share the Restored Gospel with the whole world!
Most of the church employees I personally know are, I would imagine, safe. The ones that are most at risk are people I have never met. Faceless, nameless people. But that does not matter! They are still my brothers and sisters in *my* church! And they need my help, and they need your help, and how can we not respond?
Please join with me. Please be one of the 6,000+ that can contribute $1,000 or more. Please be one of the many who will respond as you are able, whatever you can manage. Please ensure that as many church members as possible get this message, and please work with your mission center staff, and your congregations to see what other contributions can be made! And please, send in your tithing plan, regardless of what it might look like. Please put love above all.
With hope and faith,
Pastor, Scarborough Congregation