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On Being Church - a blog

Contributed by Henry Wynands

During the last several weeks you may have noticed people using headphones or ear buds during the worship service. Surely they weren’t listening to their favorite music during worship, were they?

No, headphone users are simply worshipers who want to hear better. They are tuning in using an ALD, an Assistive Listening Device.

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Laura Bulluck on Why She Gives & AmazonSmile

“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21). We are so grateful to be part of a church family that so exemplifies this verse. West Raleigh hands, hearts and souls help feed the hungry, build shelters for those in need, minister the community, assist refugees, and visit the lonely and sick. The list of caring goes on and on. This is a church with a really big heart. Being surrounded by so many kind, generous and compassionate people inspires us. It also changes the calculus of what is possible and how much just one person really can make a difference.

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Another Commitment Season Reflection – Part 2

Perhaps the most common practical question that I have been asked over the years – albeit sometimes tongue in cheek – is, “When figuring a tithe (10%), is it pre-tax or post-tax dollars?” Although this exact question was not asked of Jesus, he answered several questions like it– questions that focused on the letter of the law (looking for an easy answer) instead of the spirit of the law (a generous response to God’s generosity that honors an ethic of sharing, justice and proportionality). Deciding how much to commit to the church is less about the exact amount you commit (although that matters to the Finance Committee and the Session who are tasked with being good stewards of these resources) and is more about an honest conversation about how you choose to spend, share and save the resources you are tasked to steward.

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Another Commitment Season Reflection

How do we decide how much to give? It is most often a practical question, yet it has strong theological underpinnings. It is a question that the faithful have asked for generations, and, although it is ultimately a question that each person and family must answer for themselves, there is both theological and practical guidance. So, here is the first of a two-part article based on the question, How do we decide how much to give? This week focuses on the theological; next week the practice.

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Commitment (Pledging Season) Begins Sunday

It is that time of year again. Hurricane Season and Commitment Season. First Hurricane Season. The impact of Hurricane Florence is still unfolding – some rivers are just now cresting as many homes and families regain power. In Wilmington the University of North Carolina Wilmington is still assessing the damage as residents return home and businesses reopen. Florence was a monster storm that will require a monster response, and just as West Raleigh swung into high-preparedness mode last week, the Mission, Peace & Justice Committee has swung into response mode this week with their usual, thoughtful energy. There will be a separate email later today or early tomorrow with opportunities to donate all that water you stock-piled last weekend, as well as other clean-up supplies, money and, a little further down the road, time. This kind of giving is agile and quick as we respond to unexpected need in our community and in the world. West Raleigh does this well, and we will continue to do this faithfully because that is what we do as the Body of Christ.

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Written by Drew Rick-Miller

By the time this reaches your inbox, we should still be relatively dry and may only be starting to understand what Florence has in store for us. In any case, please be careful. You know my passion for science as it relates to faith, theology and the church – I had intended this newsletter to say a bit about what I have been up to the past year or so. Instead, it became Florence week and I was initiated into hurricane prep – I think it was the 5th store before we found water and that Costco trip Monday was national news worthy (literally, I think I saw clips from our Costco that day on CNN). So I want to do some science and faith, but with an emphasis on ministry, specifically, how the church responds and supports not only its members but its communities in a natural disaster.

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