Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Myrtle Baptist Church Family,
I want to congratulate our church family for the marvelous work that we did during our 2013 Myrtle Spiritual Philanthropy Campaign. As a church family, we led collaborative efforts with the Brookview House of Dorchester, The City Mission Society of Boston, religious groups, non-profit organizations, elected officials, the Myrtle Village LLC, and private-sector enterprises to combat poverty and hunger in the Boston Metro Area. From the article on spiritual philanthropy that Deacon Haugabrook wrote for us as a guide, we have come to learn that our responsibilities as a church include, but also extend beyond, worship and organizational development. As ambassadors for God and spiritual philanthropists, it is our responsibility to engage in dialogue with the community to promote an agenda of social justice. I am proud to pastor a congregation that is dedicated to service, the uplifting of humankind, the eradication of poverty, the dismantling of homophobia, and the challenging of inequality.
Often when one hears the word philanthropy, one thinks of the giving of wealth for a good cause. However, our Spiritual Philanthropy Campaign does not singularly focused on money; it is broader in that it challenges us as members of Myrtle to give of our time, energy, cultural resources, and capital to combat systemic poverty and hunger in our immediate surroundings. Since its commencement during the 2009 Campaign for Christ to reach up, out, and within, our church campaign to reach out and help has successfully provided grocery cards and utility assistance for families in need, diapers for needy infants, summer excursions and learning camps for the children of the Brookview House, and school supplies for children in need. Although these accomplishments may seem insignificant in comparison to the issues of global poverty, it is my belief that social transformation begins with the determination to improve the quality of life for another. Therefore, the transformation of any social context lends itself to affecting many and not just one because we are a nation even as individuals. Additionally, in order to promote the inviolable dignity of all persons, our campaign has given thousands of used books to prisoners. Moreover, our initiative has become collaborative with both government and private sectors, including a partnership with the Newton Mayor’s office naming us a drop off site for non-perishable goods during our year-end food drive.
I acutely understand that the fight to eradicate poverty and homelessness cannot be won with the giving of alms alone. From my point of view, a critical aspect of homelessness prevention is education. In keeping with that premise, this year the 2.0 version of our campaign will support the City Mission Society’s “A Lift Up” program, which provides guidance to persons in danger of losing their housing. And, from a spiritual perspective, I am grateful to Deacon Bryant and Rev. Belogour for their efforts in establishing the Myrtle Center for Pastoral Care and Counseling. By building upon these accomplishments, we will work as a church family to continue to transform our surrounding communities by focusing on investing into the lives of impoverished families as a means of eradicating poverty. Let the Myrtle Spiritual Philanthropy 2.0 campaign begin. AMEN!
Blessings and Peace,
Reverend Brandon Thomas Crowley, MDiv, STM