Our church community has weathered a lot of change over the past six months. We are worshipping differently, socializing differently, and also finding new ways to love our neighbors. One unexpected silver lining of this time has been the generosity of friends who are not members of our church (and in some cases not from Hearne or even from Texas!) who have helped us meet the extraordinary needs we are seeing these days in Hearne due to the pandemic. Thanks to many of you, we’ve been able to provide rent and utilities assistance to four families we know; we’ve delivered hundreds of weekend backpacks full of food to families who struggle with food insecurity; and our walk-up food pantry has never gone empty for lack of supplies. As we plan for the fiscal year ahead, we are expecting these needs to persist and possibly even increase. This time last year, we would have simply concluded such need was beyond us; but now we know there are more of “us” than we could ever have imagined. For that reason, we are expanding what we would normally call our “stewardship” drive to include people in our wider online community who might be looking for a reliable way to give directly (no administrative overhead and no religious strings attached) to people in need during this hard season in the life of our communities. If you would like to make a one-time or regular monthly donation to our Giving Back to Hearne fund, go to the Donate button on our website. You’ll have the option of donating to our General Church Fund OR to our Giving Back to Hearne fund. You’ll be asked to provide contact information so we can send you receipts for tax purposes. The Giving Back to Hearne fund is strictly designated for rent and utilities assistance, prescription and medical bills assistance, and food relief. During the holiday season, we may also use it for gifts for children who are in need. We are (obviously!) not a large charity organization, so you can be sure that your money will always go to families with whom we are in relationship. We know there are many ways to give charitably; but if you–like many of us at St. Philip’s–love and owe a debt to small towns; and if you are looking for a way to give back that you can be sure makes a difference, we hope you’ll consider a gift to our Giving Back to Hearne fund.