Chicago Church Gives Members $500 Each, Telling Them to Pay It Forward and Make the World a Better Place November 25, 2014

Chicago Church Gives Members $500 Each, Telling Them to Pay It Forward and Make the World a Better Place

There’s no shame in giving credit where it’s due and a church in Chicago has done something really neat after it came into a lot of money: The pastor gave 10% of it ($160,000) to members of the congregation — $500 each — and told them to pay it forward to those less fortunate:

It was an unorthodox gesture, but [Pastor Laura] Truax notes, LaSalle is “a gutsy little church” with a history of making waves around socially progressive causes it embraces. In 1972, when it stood in the shadow of the now-demolished Cabrini Green housing project, the church established a criminal defense legal aid clinic for the poor.

Decades later, LaSalle remains an activist church, doing everything from feeding homeless families on Wednesday nights to buying an ambulance for a medical clinic in Niger. The non-denominational congregation is racially and economically diverse: More than 60 percent of members have advanced degrees; about a third live paycheck-to-paycheck.

Not surprisingly, many donations from the congregation will reach far-flung places, including a school in the Himalayas, a health clinic in Uganda and an irrigation project in Tanzania. Closer to home, some checks are going to families and friends in financial trouble.

In some cases, the money helped church members pay their own bills, but in most cases, it went to someone else. That’s just fantastic. LaSalle isn’t the first church to do something like this, but it’s always nice to see churches use their power for good, especially when we’re so used to hearing the other side of the story. It also a reminder that all of us can do this. Even if you don’t have the money, volunteering or creating something for someone else is always an option.

Incidentally, this was one of the churches I visited when I wrote I Sold My Soul on eBay. Pastor Truax was kind enough to write a blurb for the book, too.

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brendan for the link)

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