Bethel AME is helping to address the affordable housing crisis in San Diego by building affordable units on their property. They raised funds to offset construction costs enough to make the project self-sustaining.
Faithful Generosity Story Shelf
The following stories are part of Lake Institute’s story collection, The Faithful Generosity Story Shelf, which highlights congregations and other religious organizations who have sought to use their assets and resources in creative—and sometimes surprising—ways as an expression of faithful giving.
Each entry in our Story Shelf is short enough to be read and discussed during a committee meeting or other group gathering. Our hope is that these accessible vignettes will spark new questions, conversation, and imagination among clergy and laity about what might be possible with the funds, buildings, land, and other resources in their care. If you know a story that should be included in the Story Shelf, suggest it here.
Read stories about:
Investing for Impact
A Pastor’s Jericho in North Carolina
An enterprising pastor in Wilson, North Carolina pushed his congregation to revive its nonprofit and launch a plan to improve seven properties.
From Discernment to Epiphany
Atlanta’s First Presbyterian Church launched a social entrepreneurship program to recognize how God was already moving in their city and to provide business mentorship and financial assistance to aspiring social entrepreneurs.
Church sees its money in a new way
A story about what happened when a church learned to see its money in a new way.
Church sees a hidden need and grows a solution
Bethel A.M.E Church of Ardmore responded to food insecurity in their community by starting a garden on their property. The project started with one bed and now has 15 that produced 1,200 pounds of food in 2022.
Flood Becomes Turning Point for Historic AME Church
After a flood did major damage to Bethel Church of Morristown, its pastor had a vision of rebuilding their property with support from outside of the congregation and to meet the needs of the larger community.
Church Launches Fund to Build Black Wealth through Homeownership
Amid calls for reparations, Arlington Community Church launched a foundation to lend interest-free funds to help Black Americans purchase their first home in their community.
A Life Cycle and a Legacy
A rural Tennessee church closes with one final, old-time singing and a donation to a Christian disaster relief agency.
Presbytery Transfers Property Title to Indigenous Cultural Center
Hudson River Presbytery transferred the title of former church to the Indigenous-led Sweetwater Cultural Center as a "pledge of partnership" and in an effort to make amends for harm done to Native American populations.
Time for Return
Rather than sell one of its properties for substantial profit, the Rocky Mountain Synod of the ELCA transferred ownership to Four Winds American Indian Council in a small but meaningful act of decolonization.
A Jewish community finds a home in a Lutheran church
Lutheran Church of the Reformation rents out space to Hill Havurah, an independent, Jewish community. It’s a landlord-tenant relationship that has financial benefits to both sides, but it is so much more than that.
Muslim Center of Detroit Opens Free Health Clinic
In 2004, the Muslim Center of Detroit partnered with physicians from the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit to open a free health clinic on the second floor of the prominent local mosque.
Jews and Muslims Share Space and Life Together
When a Muslim group needed a place for youth religious education, it began meeting at a synagogue. This arrangement led to mutual curiosity and real friendship.
Browse more stories:
Cass Community United Methodist Church plans to build a village of 25 tiny houses that the working poor or formerly homeless can rent to own.
Beyond the first step of acknowledgment, some faith communities are taking up concrete reparations as a way of demonstrating authentic repentance for their role in systemic oppression.
A story about how one Cooperative Baptist Fellowship congregation imagined using their space in a new way.
When asked to use its building and property to shelter women and families, Salt House Church said yes.
A story about how one Cooperative Baptist Fellowship congregation sold their land to reduce debt.
Neighborhood Bike Works, a Philadelphia nonprofit serving the larger community, operates out of the basement of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.
A story about two Cooperative Baptist Fellowship congregations who offer examples of rethinking the profit there is in pavement.
Kinder Academy boasts of “quality childcare that provides a structured preschool program with the convenience of daycare hours.” The childcare center at Bustleton UMC is the jewel in Kinder Care’s crown, made possible with the space and support offered by the congregation.
Farm Church does not own a church building but instead uses a lot of land from a local nonprofit that they farm each Sunday morning before worshiping together on the same property.
Insights, a bi-weekly e-newsletter, is a resource for the religious community and fundraisers of faith-based organizations that provides:
- Reflections on important developments in the field of faith and giving
- Recommended books, studies and articles
- Upcoming Lake Institute events