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Stewarding the Manifold Grace of God

This August, I’ll head once again down I-81, to help move my daughter Jordan into her sorority house for her junior year of college at Virginia Tech. It will be the fifth of eight moves we will complete in four years—a not particularly thrilling reality for my husband and me. But we are excited for Jordan as her experience has morphed from a first year completely online, to classes with robust personal interactions, not to mention the anticipation of football games at Lane Stadium.

Jordan grew up in Howard County, graduating from Mount Hebron High School. Over the years, we’ve been able to actively engage in her schooling, as well as to support her passions through extracurricular activities ranging from drama classes to private music lessons to recreational sports. I like to hope all these things have helped set her up for success in college, and beyond.

But alongside that hope, I realize that not all in Howard County can claim such privileged experiences. Some families struggle just to make ends meet. Between buying groceries and putting gas in their car, some can’t afford even basic school supplies for their children.

Some of these children attend Lake Elkhorn Middle School (LEMS), just down the street from Christ Church. LEMS has more than 50 percent of its students qualifying for free and reduced meals—the highest percentage among Howard County middle schools. Christ Church has partnered with LEMS for the past several years to address unmet community needs, from assistance with school supplies to back-to-school spirit-wear to help with groceries.

This year, LEMS principal Melissa Shindel again requests our support in providing school supplies for 125 children. To that end, we aim to raise $6,000 by the end of July.

I am keenly aware of the generous nature of our parishioners in assisting those underserved in our community, our nation, and around the globe. I also realize that we ask for support for many different ministry efforts—and that some of us may find our own budgets stretched particularly thin this year. Please know the clergy and vestry are grateful for your giving spirits. Any amount you can contribute to this effort would be greatly appreciated. As 1 Peter 4:10 encourages, “Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.”

Contributions can be made via check, text, or online. Please indicate “LEMS School Supplies” on the memo line. For giving via computer/tablet, you can find our "Support Christ Church" button at the top of every page on our website; simply choose "LEMS" from the drop-down menu. To give via text, text CECGIVING to 73256. Click the link you’ll receive, then choose "LEMS" from the drop-down menu. Please also write "School Supplies" in the Memo line so that your donation is used as you wish. (Note: This number will never send you unsolicited texts. To cancel further messages, text STOP. If you need assistance with text giving, text HELP. Standard text message and data rates may apply).

No parent should have to decide between feeding their family and supporting their child’s educational needs. And no child should walk into school without the basic resources—pens, notebooks, folders—needed to focus on their education. These are the children of our community, and in supporting them, we live into our baptismal vows: to seek and serve Christ in all people, to strive for justice and peace among all people, and to respect the dignity of every human being.

If you have questions or would like to help package/deliver supplies in August, please contact LEMS Co-Coordinator Cathy Whittaker at Thank you for all you do for Christ Church, for our community, and to serve all of God’s beloved children.

Deacon Denise


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