Paul Campbell – Generosity

Text to Speech
Thanks for the opportunity to contribute a few thoughts about generosity in faith.

First of all let me claim for all of us, that a ministry like Oak Table is an experiment in generosity in faith.

For within the United Church of Canada, a founding sponsor of ministries like this, there are decreasing levels of resources for funding.

So Oak Table and the other similar ministries in Winnipeg have to depend upon the goodwill of local friends and supporters.  We do not have a slick system of advertising, funding and publicity which characterizes many other drop-in centres in our city.  Instead by faith, our doors open 4 times a week and a wonderful crowd of talented, vulnerable and interesting friends come through.

Because the funding back up is fragile at best, it is the generosity of faith, not the generosity of unlimited finances that make our  hosting possible.

In Scripture we are told among other things that "faith is the the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."

Things that are unseen include the possibilities of love, forgiveness, patience, kindness and healing.  These graces are shared back and forth among the guests, volunteers and staff people of Oak Table.

Our assurance includes the conviction that we are expected to be in solidarity with neighbors who are hungry and kept on the margin of our society.  And as we open ourselves in friendship to these neighbors of ours, we are embraced by their generosity.

The more I spend time at Oak Table, the more smiling people I recognize (and am recognized by), the more names I remember, the more stories I am graced to share.

When we open our doors in the spirit of faith and not by the certainty of unlimited funding, we find ourselves surrounded by the spiritual  generosity of so many of our local neighbors.  Sharing the energy of Oak Table is one of those powerful examples of how we receive so much more than we give.