Author Topic: Almsgiving  (Read 2061 times)

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Offline carpo-rusyn

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Almsgiving
« on: December 06, 2003, 03:18:44 PM »
Tis the Season!  I hope all are having a nice Advent or Nativity Fast depending on whether you're East or West. In the West this time of year the Church encourages almsgiving as I'm sure the East does too.  There are many ways of almsgiving.  There's dropping something extra into the collection plate, there's sending away a check to CNEWA (Catholic Near East Welfare Assoc) or IOCC (Int'l Orthodox Christian Charities).  Both of which are good organizations who do good work and are always looking for donations.  HINT HINT! ;D

My question has to do with a little more personal type of almsgiving.  For those of us who live in large metropolitan areas there are the homeless or unemployed who inhabit our cities.  I work in a rather rough part of Philadelphia which has 2 homeless shelter nearby.  I am frequently though not always approached by men asking for change.  Some just make the request others tell me they will buy food with the money and others tell me that they just need fare for the subway.  When I have change I usually give it to them but recently a friend who is a pastor (ELCA) and a good Christian told me that this is a bad thing.  He points out that they could be using the money for drugs (which I actually saw one of the fellows I gave change to do)or alcohol and I should instead support the agencies who serve this population.

Any opinions out there?  Should I or shouldn't I and what do any of you do?

St. John the Almsgiver and St. Martin of Tours pray for us!
Carpo-Rusyn

Offline Frobie

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Re:Almsgiving
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2003, 03:26:10 PM »
Didn't we have a homeless guy sign up for this forum one time?

Offline Orthodoc

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Re:Almsgiving
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2003, 04:47:01 PM »
[When I have change I usually give it to them but recently a friend who is a pastor (ELCA) and a good Christian told me that this is a bad thing.  He points out that they could be using the money for drugs (which I actually saw one of the fellows I gave change to do)or alcohol and I should instead support the agencies who serve this population.

Any opinions out there?  Should I or shouldn't I and what do any of you do?]

Reminds me of what an Orthodox priest said about this some time ago regarding the 'street people'.  How do you know that one of those people who comes up to you isn't an angel in disguise?  So I think of those words every time one of them comes up to me when I reach into my pockets.

In my parish here in Philly we have a monthly charities collection on the third Sunday of each month.  It is the priest along with the Church Council which decides what charity the collection will go to each month.  We have given to Phillabundance, Conenent House, Men's shelters in CC and many others.  Novembers collection always is earmarked for SAMP (Support a Missionary priest)  which for a minimum of $600 (we always collect more) we pay the salary of a missionary priest in Ugana for an entire year!

We also have a gigantic barrell downstairs in the hall where people constantly put non perishable foods for the hugry and homeless people who either knock on the rectory door or its taken to one of the homeless shelters down town.

My pet project is part of the OCMC and is St Innocents Orthodox Boys Orphanage in Mexico.  Seems in Mexico when an orphaned boy reaches 12 years of age they are kicked out of the regular orphanages because they are considered to hard to handle.  St Innocents picks them up and teaches them a trade and provides them with an education.  In addition to quarterly donations, I have $20 from each retirement check direct deposited into the orphanges bank account.  Don't see or miss the money that way.

Carpo-Rusyn, since you are in Philly too, perhaps you are familiar with Fr Sinnari (sp?).  He is the priest at Sts Peter & Pauls Albanian Orthodox Church (OCA) here in the Northeast.  He works for covenant House and spends  every night walking the streets around Frankford and Kennington taking in the young male prostitues off the streets into a shelter.  He's been threatened, shot at, and mugged and still he goes out every night!  He's a priests priest!  He was also written up once in the Atlantic City newspaper when he crawled underneath the boardwalk to coax a teenage unwed mother holding her stillborn baby to come out to a shelter!

So ask your ELCA Pastor friend how he knows that person who approaches him is not one of God's angels testing him!

Orthodoc

Oh Lord, Save thy people and bless thine inheritance.
Grant victory to the Orthodox Christians over their adversaries.
And by virtue of thy Cross preserve thy habitation.

Offline Orthodoc

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Re:Almsgiving
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2003, 04:51:53 PM »

FROBIE:  Uniates rule WHAT?

I find the comment underneath your avatar offensive in an Orthodox website.  I'm sure some of those within the Eatern Rites of the Roman Catholic sui juris churches would also find the 'U' word offensive also.

Orthodoc

Oh Lord, Save thy people and bless thine inheritance.
Grant victory to the Orthodox Christians over their adversaries.
And by virtue of thy Cross preserve thy habitation.

Offline The Caffeinator

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Re:Almsgiving
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2003, 04:55:45 PM »
I used to give money to homeless people. Now it strikes me as a failure in stewardship. We are called to feed the hungry, not to buy them liquor.

Then again, there have been times when I myself have begged for money. (I was runnin out of gas once on a long cross country trip.) I give, but usually to agencies.

Maybe I'm a hypocrite. Lord have mercy on me!

Offline carpo-rusyn

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Re:Almsgiving
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2003, 05:22:13 PM »
[So ask your ELCA Pastor friend how he knows that person who approaches him is not one of God's angels testing him!]

Very true.  I remember the story about St John the Almsgiver going out with his deacon in Alexandria.  St John would give money to every beggar they met.  The deacon noticed that the beggars were simply disguising themselves and coming back for a second and even third handout.  The deacon brought this to St John's attention and the saint said that it was a test as the beggars were Christ in disguise.

[Carpo-Rusyn, since you are in Philly too, perhaps you are familiar with Fr Sinnari (sp?).  He is the priest at Sts Peter & Pauls Albanian Orthodox Church ]

Does he have red hair?  I met a EO priest who works for Convenant House but I thought he was GOA.

CR


Offline Frobie

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Re:Almsgiving
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2003, 06:10:06 PM »
Orthodoc,

I put that in all good fun since most people here know I'm an Eastern Catholic or as you say ERRC. I don't see how it's offensive since I'm joking. I just want to come here to learn about Orthodoxy and have a good time with my friends (notice that my location is "Ruthenia"). I don't think I should have to come here and pretend I'm Orthodox in order for this to be an inclusive Orthodox forum.

Matt

Offline carpo-rusyn

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Re:Almsgiving
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2003, 06:47:38 PM »
I saw the humor in the statement beneath the avatar, but then I'm a evil Latin.

CR