"We see giving our tithes as the involvement of our church in mission in the world," says the Rev. John Current, Sr., pastor of Hope UMC in South San Francisco. The church paid their Conference tithe in full for 2015 and 2016.
Current says the 2015 fiscal year was the first time in recent memory the church has been in the black financially. "It's an indicator that we have opened ourselves to the movement of the spirit in many other ways…We remain a congregation of hope for the world even in times like these."
The congregation has a feeding ministry once a month in which they move tables and chairs out of the church, to the downtown area, to serve a meal to homeless individuals. They are also trying to establish a community health clinic to served underserved populations in the city. They also have an organic garden ministry. "We're trying to minister to the whole person," says Current. "This congregation is a congregation that serves from the heart.
In addition to their tithe, and ministry in their local community, they have supported relief efforts in Haiti, Heifer Project, and various disaster response efforts. "Everything we do is centered in Christian spiritual formation from morning prayer, to Bible study, to meaningful worship," says Current.
Current says the leadership of the church began to speak of the Conference tithe in a different way, "We changed the language from dealing with it as a tax, but as an opportunity to serve and people responded well." He added, "I've been amazed at how they have been responding, and they have been blessed…They are experiencing things they've never experienced before because of their willingness to give."
He also says the tithe is a way to connect the local church to all of the ministries of the denomination around the world.
"We are a multilingual and multicultural church providing hope in South San Francisco."
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