Inspiring Generosity


Be Not Afraid

             The front of our wedding bulletin. See the likeness?

FYI: There are some excellent resources about finances and hosting worship online at the end of this blog post.

At 32 years and nine months, I was an old first-time bride. My mother considered it a miracle that I was finally getting married. She was particularly happy that someone was going to “take care of me.” Seriously. Believe me, no one needed to take care of me. I had a dream job in Washington, D.C. – a city I loved. My church was my rock, I had a great group of friends; I had a full and rich life.

At our wedding, you can imagine how jarring it must have been for everyone to start singing the old Catholic folk song, “Be Not Afraid” by Bob Dufford, S.J. We were supposed to be celebrating our love, was that really an appropriate song choice?
Be not afraid,
I go before you always.
Come, follow me, and I will give you rest.
Six months prior to our engagement, my beloved had moved to Oregon. After an intense inner battle, I decided that I would move once we were married. No long distance for me!
But it meant living in a new state, starting a new job, a different culture, not knowing a soul, no spiritual community to cling to, and living with my spouse for the first time.
Be not afraid,
I go before you always.
Come, follow me, and I will give you rest.

I wish I could say that all was light, airy, and rainbows once I set foot in Oregon. But actually, it was a rocky road. It took a lot of time (years, in fact) to get my footing. I clung to the song’s verse:
You shall cross the barren desert,
but you shall not die of thirst.
You shall wander far in safety
though you do not know the way.
You shall speak your words in foreign lands
and all will understand.
You shall see the face of God and live.

It’s probably no surprise that after putting it aside for years, this song popped into my head just two days ago.

Once again, I find myself scared and anxious. The stakes are high. People I love are directly impacted by layoffs. I assume that soon, people I love and even like will also be infected with Covid-19. And, perhaps most frightening of all, there’s no real end in sight.
But there’s that song now whispering in my ear:
Be not afraid,
I go before you always.
Come, follow me, and I will give you rest.
And then I breathe. I look out the window and still see a beautiful world. My dog is snoring at my feet. I am lucky to have shelter, water, heat, electricity, and food. I know others aren’t as fortunate.
Another verse comes to mind:

If you pass through raging waters in the sea,
you shall not drown.
If you walk amid the burning flames,
you shall not be harmed.
If you stand before the pow'r of hell

and death is at your side,
know that I am with you through it all.

In retrospect, those were dark lyrics for a wedding celebration. But I’m so glad we sung them. They were a declaration then and they are declaration now, that I can lean on the Great Comforter. I can unload my fears. I can breathe and give thanks. I know I don’t walk this journey alone.
Be not afraid.

Resources for development/fundraising/electronic worship during the Coronavirus:
Last week (which seems like a hundred years ago), I sent out two resources for you to consider as you navigate the Coronavirus. Here they are again:
-  Discipleship Ministries of the UMC: “10 Ideas for Church Financial Leaders Amid the COVID-19 Crisis.”
-  The Greater Northwest Area of the UMC:  Electronic Giving Allows Ministry to Continue in “Isolating” Times.
Here are some additional resources:
- Practical Resources for Churches (PRC) just held a webinar that’s now available for viewing:  Getting Started with Church Online: Sharing what we know to help with online worship, Bible studies, and meetings
- PRC has also put together a Facebook page for people who want to learn from each other:  Face Book page for Church Online.
- Dr. Marcia McFee led a webinar for PRC: Tips for Bringing Worship Alive and Keeping It Real in Live Stream

One more from PRC: Quick & Dirty Intro to Live Streaming Worship

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. Her wedding was super fun. There was a bagpipe procession to the reception and Safeway made the cake. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity or at CesieScheuermann.com.


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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.