What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?…For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead. (James 2:14-16, 26)
The good news is that the Allin Church is an example of the works that come from our faith. There are so many of you who, after receiving God’s blessings of grace, peace, and understanding on Sunday morning, share these blessings beyond the walls of this church through service, benevolence, and work. While The World does not always make space for our efforts in faith, it does not realize that our faith that is of Jesus Christ cannot be stopped, because faithful practice is the byproduct of our own worship and prayerful self care.
This month, we get to hear from church member, Nancy Finkel.
What faith informed work do you do outside of the church? If it is through an organization, what organization? Tell us about this organization.
I am a member of the Dedham Junior Women’s Club. I was attending one of my first DJWC meetings and asked for recommendations on local churches. Lisa MacKinnon suggested Allin as a great church for families. The DJWC is an intergenerational organization of approximately fifty local women dedicated to community improvement through volunteer service, goodwill, friendship, and social justice. Several members of the church are also members including Judy Massey, Jean Martens, Lisa Dwyer, Lisa MacKinnon, Nancy Williamson, Tanya Mathis and Sunshine Millea. The DJWC raises money through fundraising and then donates that money back into the local community. The projects range across numerous areas including: conservation, arts, advocating for children, domestic violence awareness, assisting local families and the elderly in need, and international. Some recent projects that I have been involved in include collecting shoes for recycling into athletic surfaces for the Nike Grind program, organizing the town wide free summer concert series Arts at Endicott and hosting a diaper and wipe drive for children at the Boston Grow Clinic which supports children who are not growing properly due to insufficient nutrition.
What is your favorite part of the work you do? What is the hardest part?
My favorite part is seeing what can be accomplished by a group of like-minded women. It is truly astonishing. I think the hardest part is seeing people burn out due to overcommitting. I thinks its important to balance helping others and taking care of yourself and your family.
What of your faith (scripture, practice, prayer, church, etc) informs the work you do? What is the passion that makes this work important to you?
This was a difficult question for me to answer. I feel very blessed and that I have a responsibility to share my blessings with others. Matthew 25:43 made an impression on me as a young person. I worry about becoming too busy and self-involved to notice those around me who are in need of help. Now that I am a member of the DJWC I am constantly reminded about the needs of those in my community and the club provides ways for me to become actively involved in addressing those needs.
My thoughts on Nancy’s faith and practice:
Nancy and my kids are similar in age and so we weathered the storm of toddlerhood together. I will always hold fondly the memories of our kids taking over coffee hour or loosing it in a puddle on the floor or looking absolutely and utterly adorable singing with the other kids in worship. Nancy’s commitment to love through faith was first evident to me in her love for her family. As we got to know each other more I saw how she extends herself into the Dedham community through the DJWC.
Often we Christians imagine that, in order to be faithful people of Christ we must know our scriptures and hold them before us as if they were a sort of idol. Jesus, however, warns us against this encouraging instead that our actions of service, kindness, mercy, and justice go before us, the Word of God, our guide for our actions. Nancy has exemplified such a life, sharing her divine gifts of care and service with our community.
PS.. If YOU are involved in an organization or charity – or maybe you volunteer your time around town and would like to share with us this great work, I’d love to hear about it! firstname.lastname@example.org