December 29, 2011
Filled stockings and other gifts from the college students at Banner of Christ Church
Mike Caley (right), senior pastor, Banner of Christ Church (Byron Center, Mich.)
Banner tries hard to share Christmas with the most hurting and needy people in our community and church family–more so than at any other church I have served. This year, our students took it to a whole new level.
Our middle school students were challenged in early December with $5 seed money from their teacher, Mrs. Sue Vogt. All 10 students worked hard to make various items, and then brought them to church and to their families to sell to raise funds to help minister to families at Renucci House–a temporary residence associated with Devos Children’s Hospital for families of sick children. In all, they raised over $400 to buy gifts and a Little Tikes playhouse to present to Renucci House.
On December 18 they went to the house and prepared and served dinner to the residents, and presented the playhouse and gifts.
Our College Students–18 to Life Class–last year decorated and filled 50 stockings to share with the homeless in Grand Rapids at Christmas. This year they challenged the church family to join them, and presented 150 empty stockings for families to decorate and fill.
The response was amazing. On Christmas morning, just before our service, we prayed for the students and sent them out with 153 filled stockings. They later reported that it took them under 45 minutes to distribute all the stockings to some very grateful individuals. The stockings were filled with food items, personal toiletries and care items, gloves, mittens, and hats. Several also included small Bibles or devotional books.
In all, beyond these above, Banner helped over 30 families with various gifts, gas and grocery cards, even a cord of seasoned and stacked wood. We celebrated the joy of Jesus’ gift of himself to us, by embracing the challenge to give beyond ourselves.
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