Miracle Offering of Love

By: The Reverend Eric Fistler, Senior Pastor

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Two local organizations are benefiting from recent donations by First Congregational Church of Crystal Lake. The church gave $17,500 to the Crystal Lake Food Pantry and $15,000 to Pioneer Center.

The funds were raised as part of FCC’s annual holiday Miracle Offering, which challenges members to donate a dollar for every dollar they spend on holiday preparations. Senior pastor Eric Fistler said the congregation immediately connected with the idea of making a miraculous impact on the community by making a Miracle Offering of love for those who are most in need.

“This is the third time we have done this as a church,” Fistler said. “As much as Christmas is supposed to be a time of celebrating God’s love embodied in Jesus Christ, too often it becomes a stress-filled time more like a birthday party than celebrating the one who calls us to care for one another. Our Miracle Offering is our response Jesus' call to welcome the stranger, home the homeless and feed the hungry.”

The church has a longtime relationship with the Crystal Lake Food Pantry. Through the years its members have donated food, time and funds to support the organization’s ability to feed community members. This year’s Miracle Offering donation will fund a new walk-in cooler to support the pantry’s goal of distributing meat, dairy and produce to more people in need.

The donation to the Pioneer Center will support their new PADS shelter. FCC hoped to raise enough funds to “adopt” five beds, which provide meals, safety and support for people who are experiencing homelessness. Through the generosity of members and visitors, the church raised enough money to support six beds at the shelter.

Fistler said FCC members believe the church is most dynamic when every individual is valued and given the opportunity to share their unique perspectives as part of a faith community. The church’s response to the Miracle Offering demonstrated its members’ commitment to the community.

“Our church gives to local, national and global ministries, and we’ve also provided one-on-one connections to support refugee resettlement,” Fistler said. “This year we felt God calling us to enhance our connections to local organizations, and the Crystal Lake Food Pantry and Pioneer Center are transforming lives in our community. We are thrilled to support their work.”