The Serving & Outreach Equipping Series aims to provide education and resources on very important topics so that we are able to better understand and serve our neighbors in a loving way.Understanding the Economic Classes 1 Flyer copy

It is so important that you join us in Seabrook Hall this Sunday, May 4 at 11:00, as we begin a year-long focus on understanding the differences among the economic classes by recognizing those things we don’t often notice about poverty, the middle class, and wealth.

Experts from The Assisi Foundation of Memphis will open our eyes to the “Hidden Rules” of the economic classes so that we can with greater sensitivity and solidarity relate to our neighbors in different economic situations from our own, which is central to many aspects of life at and through Christ Church.

Emily Rachiele is a prime example of why learning about the economic classes is important for every church member. A wife and mother of three, Emily saw the need for someone to lead the church’s growing Benevolence Ministry, and she was willing to use her own abilities, to take every opportunity to learn what she needed to know, and to take that all-important leap in faith to trust God to use her to satisfy that need. As a result of her own willingness to serve and to be equipped for the task God has assigned to her, Emily has been able to help offer assistance on behalf of the church with deep compassion and understanding to those who come to us for help paying utility bills, rent, or other needs.

Emily shares her story as an invitation for you to join us for Understanding the Economic Classes – “Hidden Rules”:

“Speak out on behalf of the voiceless and for the rights of all who are vulnerable. Speak out in order to judge with righteousness and to defend the needy and the poor.” Proverbs 31:8-9

Emily Rachiele and Marlon "Big Dog" Brown

Emily Rachiele and Marlon “Big Dog” Brown

God has been preparing me for this part of my journey my entire life. As I reflect on the past, I recognize all the people I’ve met, jobs I’ve held, experiences I’ve gone through, and the desires of my heart all as components that God has used to shape me for this time. How exciting to see where my Father has always gone before me with his grace in preparation!

Two specific events come to mind when I think about how God was pushing me/encouraging me to step into an unknown arena for me–helping those in poverty. The first time was when I crossed paths with Marlon “Big Dog” Brown of SOS and Big Dog Street Ministry while serving as an adult leader of our student ministry team with SOS several summers ago. After passing along a message to Marlon from a neighborhood guy, I turned to walk away–but something stopped me; I turned back around and told him that if there was anything I could do to help him with his street ministry, then he should call me.

I gave Marlon my phone number not realizing that he would actually take me up on the offer! He called less than a week later, and my life hasn’t been the same since then.

A phone call from Abbye Pates, formerly on the missions staff at Christ Church, was the second life-impacting incident that led me to serve those in poverty. Abbye wanted to know if my husband and I would be interested in hearing about a new serving opportunity at the church. We met with her and learned about the Benevolence team that she was looking to put together to give financial assistance to those having struggles paying rent or utilities. The ultimate goal would be to build relationships with and provide guidance for those in poverty to change their life situation.

Fast forward to 2013 when I was given the opportunity to attend a 4-day training session for “Bridges Out of Poverty/Gettin’ Ahead in a Gettin’ By World” in Oklahoma. Those four days gave me the understanding and the resources to avoid judgments and look at the lives of those in poverty through a “different lens.” I left there last April ready to share a new perspective with our church family and community. It was a significant experience that has changed my life–so much so that I look forward to sharing the joy that I feel and such valuable information I have gained with my church family on May 4.

All 11:00 Sunday School classes (and everyone else!) have Pastor Shane’s blessing to attend on May 4, and don’t miss the upcoming Understanding the Economic Classes events:

  • “Societal Norms & ‘isms”: August 3
  • “Family Structure”: November 2
  • “When It Comes to Money”: February 1

All events will be held at 11:00-12:30 in Seabrook Hall.

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