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Church: Use Christmas money to help homeless

Published:Friday | December 19, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Children from Action Ministries get help picking out Christmas gifts from Atlanta Falcons offensive Tackle Jake Matthews during the NFL football team's annual Shop With A Pro outing.

SOUTH CAROLINA (AP):

It's a risk, to be sure, but it's one the Reverend Michael Turner embraced wholeheartedly.

He has asked his parishioners at Advent United Methodist in Simpsonville to cut their usual Christmas spending in half and give the other half to the homeless.

Here's the rub. The church takes in 20 per cent of its $1.4 million budget in December. That's about $280,000. What if members decide to just forgo their annual year-end donations and give to the homeless project?

Or even worse. What if the project fails all together?

"The reason I think this is going to work is because this church has been missional since it was founded in 1987," said Turner.

Plus, he said, so many people have talked about how outrageous holiday spending and the consumerism that drives the holiday has become.

"A lot of people want to resist the Christmas machine, but they don't know how," he said.

Turner has been pastor at Advent, which has a membership of 1,800, for two years. He's thought about a project like A Christmas Miracle Mission and decided the time was right this year. He's done similar projects at his previous churches, most recently at Wightman United Methodist in Prosperity. Church membership when he arrived: 200.

The money was to be used to insulate and repair 16 homes of the elderly and poor. Word got back to Turner that the church was going to get a black eye over it. It wouldn't work.