Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Scarcity and Abundance in Turbulent Times
These are tough financial times for many Canadians because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lots of small businesses are limping along and some have already been forced to close permanently. At the beginning of the month tens of thousands of weren't able to make their mortgage or rent payments. It's been grim. Neighbours on either side of us have been laid off from jobs and while they will weather the storm, it's unsettling.
Lots of seniors are affected as well, especially those for whom government pensions are a mainstay. In all the congregations I've served in ministry there have been people who count every penny because they live on limited means in their not so "Golden Years" . I've been touched by the commitment of some to support their church families even though their means were limited.
The federal and provincial governments have announced a wide range of financial support programs for virtually every sector and while I'm dubious about billions of dollars for larger corporations it is essential that governments assist the "little gal and guy" trying to survive, regardless of age.
Yesterday's federal announcement of support for seniors caught us off guard and made us uncomfortable. Every person in Canada receiving Old Age Security will receive $300, regardless of income, and those on the Guaranteed Income Supplement will get another $200. I'm sure that low-income seniors will hear this as good news and I support this initiative without reservation.
Just the same, we wish there was a means test for this benefit because we just don't need it. Because of my United Church pension and other income we are financially secure (for now!) and, ironically, we're spending less money these days because trips are not an option and we aren't going to restaurants, moves, or stores (we aren't big spenders in that regard at the best of times.)
So what do we do with what amounts to $600 for our household? We'll wait until we see that money in our account but we're making a list of charities and causes which can use it.
We'll support the meal ministries in our congregation, Trenton United, and at Bridge St. United. We've already made donations to both, but we'll send more.
We realize that shelters for women and children are under additional stress during the pandemic, so some money will go there.
Some will go to the hospital in Zimbabwe my mother supported for decades where a Canadian doctor, a Christian, is the director.
We'll give to a project to enhance the Forest Churches of Ethiopia, an important environmental initiative.
We'll also support the Newfoundland Pony Sanctuary on our beloved Change Islands, Newfoundland in the past. Tourists can't go there this summer so we'll make a contribution.
I suppose the temptation these days is to hunker down and hold on tight to what we have.Instead I want to be grateful during these turbulent times, and to focus on abundance rather than scarcity. I do believe that this is an opportunity for compassion and generosity. Not only will it benefit others it is vital for our psychological and spiritual health.
There is good news for storks and humans in today's Groundling blog