Compassion Into Action
Mary Clark
What is compassion? Webster defines Compassion as “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.” It means putting yourself in another’s shoes when tragedy or misfortune strikes and finding ways to help. It means when someone is suffering, we suffer with them.
For many years, Mt. Bethel Church has had a fund dedicated to helping those in and around the church community who find themselves in financial straits due to unforeseen situations. The monies contributed have helped countless members and non-members of Mt. Bethel.

To understand how the fund has most recently assisted someone in crisis, we spoke with Pastor Kim McGarr from our Care Ministry Team. Kim shared a story of a long-time member of Mt. Bethel whose son had been incarcerated for approximately two years. Because conditions of his release included not being able to stay with family or in a shelter, he was released from prison and immediately became homeless. In desperation, the mother turned to Mt. Bethel seeking assistance for her son. Kim went to work immediately and within a very short time period learned there are several programs available through the Department of Corrections that can make living arrangements for released prisoners; however, those programs must be put into place PRIOR to the prisoner’s release. Not willing to give up, Kim was able to find a home for felons that would accept him and assist him in finding a job. The Sheriff and Probation Officer assigned to him, however, refused to approve the home as suitable for the man. Kim said she had prayed fervently for a solution to the man’s homelessness, only to be met with this unexpected refusal to approve it. Believing that God had pointed her to this particular solution, Kim persisted. She had followed numerous leads to possible housing, but this particular option was the ONLY one with an opening. Against the advice of several who thought the home was a SCAM, Kim was relentless. We had a church member who desperately needed help for her son, and Kim said she felt God was leading her to pursue this option. After many conversations with the man’s Parole Officer, Kim gained his approval and with that, the Sheriff agreed and the former inmate was allowed to move into the home on Labor Day.

With the funds available through the Compassion Fund, we have been able to pay for the man’s rent since September. He is working with the landlord to earn a little money and has had several interviews for permanent employment. While his future is still uncertain, Kim feels that without the assistance we were able to provide, he would not have had a chance to make a better life for himself. She said that through the process, she has been able to pray with the man, encourage him to read the Bible, and watch our church services online. As God promises each of us, he now has hope! She said, “I just believe when the Lord leads, you must follow.”

The Compassion Fund is open for contributions year-round and is a great way to honor someone special! If you know a person who “has everything,” a donation to the Fund is a wonderful way to show your appreciation for them and your desire to help those who are in need. Each month we will coordinate Holy Communion with donating to the Compassion Fund. Baskets will be available at the altar.
Click here to give online to the Compassion Fund.