I grew up in a small Methodist church and my Mom took her commitment to that community very seriously. She taught Sunday School, directed two choirs, and sang in a third. I had a lot of responsibilities too: I sang in two choirs, I was an acolyte and I was an usher. It seemed to me that everyone who went to our church had some responsibility that helped better our community.
Our congregation was made up of middle class African Americans who were not wealthy. The adults were teachers, janitors and nurses. Despite that, each member gave monetarily and they gave their talents and time as well. They gave because that congregation and community was very important to them, because it was where they could be their most authentic selves. Most of the members of our church were people who had graduated from Southern historically black colleges and moved north to get better jobs. When they arrived here, however, the only jobs they could find were for janitors and skilled labor. So one day a week they could wear their finest clothes and be their authentic selves in a safe and accepting environment.
That is how I feel about this congregation. I know that I can be my most authentic self and still be accepted and appreciated. I want people in our community to have a place where they can feel safe and accepted as well. That is why I give.