ST. PAUL UMC IS A STEWARD OF
The Cycle of Blessings of Holy Currencies
Excerpted from Holy Currencies, a book by Eric H.F. Law,
published by Chalice Press, 2013.
...money was not the only currency at work....there are at least five other currencies that flow through a sustainable missional ministry. In addition to money, these currencies are time and place, gracious leadership, relationship, truth and wellness.... These currencies "flow" through the ministry, exchanging themselves for other currencies, forming what I call the "Cycle of Blessings." The sequence of exchanges rejuvenates that which was spent initially, recirculating resources, and regenerating more currencies, thereby growing and expanding the ministry.
These are not the only currencies....these are the essential ones that a sustainable and missional ministry must have circulating through its operation, interacting not only within the membership of the organization but also with the wider environment and community.
Gracious leaders know how to build relationships with and among diverse populations and to discern the truth together.
Grace is a gift. We do not work for it or earn it. Like the abundance of God's creation, we do not own it. Grace is the belief that God loves us first, and this love is not a currency to be traded or exchanged conditionally. It is something we accept and share. In our gratefulness for this unearned love, we accept and share. In our gratefulness for this unearned love, we then have the courage to follow the way of Jesus, to act and speak the truth.
Social networks have value precisely because they help us to achieve what we could not achieve on our own.
We shape our network
Our network shapes us
Our friends affect us
Our friends' friends' friends affect us
The network has a life of its own
Currency of truth is what ignites the passion behind the justice work in which church must engage in order for the church to be relevant in restoring the spiritual, economical and social wellness in our communities. In order to move our church members toward thinking and being missional, we need to implement ways to help our community to notice, acknowledge and value truth as a currency.
The currency of wellness is the state of being healthy—physically, socially, economically, ecologically and spiritually; both within your church or ministry, as well as in your neighborhood, town or city, nation, and the earth itself, especially as the result of deliberate effort. Sustainable wellness requires a regenerative and recirculatory flow of material, human, financial and natural resources.
It only has value when we exchange it for something else. When we lose sight of the original purpose of money and decide to accumulate it as a commodity rather than keeping it moving as a medium of exchange, we create economic problems.
TIME AND PLACE
Churches are poor only when they do not utilize these two currencies effectively and faithfully. Creative use of space and time brings members of the community to your place. If you prepare your church members to be present and listen to the experiences and stories of those who come, you are expanding your external relationship network.
St. Paul invites you to stop by for a personal tour to learn more of its ministries and its challenges.
What is a Church?
St. Paul is a grace space. Every day the doors open to a dynamic exchange of blessings circulating throughout the building, East Dayton, and beyond. The St. Paul experience includes 140 people showing up for a hot breakfast; scrappers stopping by for restrooms, water, and conversation; and a constant stream of people partaking of free bread and bakery goods donated by local stores and delivered to the church several times a week by dedicated volunteers.
Our worshiping congregations gather on Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings, creating a flow of diverse people sharing the love of Christ in their own unique way. Those who come to St. Paul bring a variety of needs, talents, and capabilities that are respected and connected to ministries such as our choice food pantry and Stuff Shoppe that are open three days a week. Twice a week, partnering churches come to prepare and serve hot meals. Fall brings after-school and Hispanic ministries.
A team of volunteer workers with big hearts, along with our small staff, all join together to help keep the doors open and the blessings flowing. Each encounter has a uniquely human exchange equal to or surpassing the sharing of goods and meals. Rarely is money exchanged. One of our primary currencies is our building located in the heart of a 1880-1900 neighborhood. It is here that dynamic relationships are encouraged to grow between people of this historic neighborhood. These include those in recovery, prostitutes, addicts and their families, and homeowners, so that all are known by name. St. Paul itself has benefited from the practices being taught around Holy Currencies.