Forest Hill Church invests in 'The Big Give'

Yes, we have the Cavaliers to brighten up these soggy days, but let’s face it, times are not the easiest. The economic situation makes us want to withdraw, hunker down and hold on to our things tightly. There is a tendency to focus on the lack of resources. 

So sometimes you just need to shake things up a bit. At the Forest Hill Church, Presbyterian (3031 Monticello Blvd.), the Ministry of Justice and Mission handed out sealed red envelopes with $50 bills in them to everyone who attended worship on Sunday, March 29. During the sermon, when everyone was instructed to open their envelope, the gasps were audible. The Big Give had begun. At that service almost $15,000 was distributed to member and visitor alike. The instructions were simple: Use your $50 in some way to make more money, and then on May 31 bring back the initial $50 along with whatever else you have raised. All the proceeds will go to the justice and mission outreach programs and projects of the church, many of which are focused in the Heights. 

The response to the project has been fabulous. Old recipes of hot fudge sauce have been bottled and sold, special dinners created, and CDs recorded. Two members are competing by selling homemade University of Michigan and Ohio State University blankets. One person has designed and built birdfeeders. There was even one person who compiled a list of 100 things to do for the Big Give and sold copies for 50 cents!

And on Saturday, May 16, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Forest Hill Church will hold the Big Give Festival. All are welcome to shop for quality second-hand items, clothing, crafts, sporting equipment and food. There will be music and entertainment. It will all happen in the parking lot of the church, weather permitting, or inside if not. 

Forest Hill Church is not the first church to do this giveaway. The Federated Church in Chagrin Falls and the Lyndhurst Community Presbyterian Church are two among many congregations who have taken the risk. And the results are always the same: ABUNDANCE. Typically, congregations nearly double their investments. 

So lighten up and come and enjoy the fun at the Big Give Festival. And while you are at it, consider ways to shake up your life and bring a little creativity and joy into it. Citizens of the Heights have more than enough creativity. We have abundant gifts to share. Come and celebrate!

The Rev. John C. Lentz, Jr., is pastor of Forest Hill Church, Presbyterian, in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 2, Issue 5, Posted 12:33 PM, 05.05.2009