Author Archives: Marcia Szumowski

Other ways you can offer help

My last blog focused on how sometimes our good intentions to ‘help’ can really ‘hurt’ a person’s chances to clear up a debt and get a fresh start.  By having someone first apply with agencies who may be able to offer financial assistance, there is a greater possibility that multiple sources of assistance could help […]

When is helping really hurting?

Sitting across the table from someone who is facing an eviction or utility shut-off, a natural first reaction would be to fix it, especially if there are children at home.  As Christians, we all struggle with the challenge to see everyone as Jesus.  We need to believe that Jesus is among us, that He walks beside […]

Under the skin, we are all the same

I am looking for blog ideas all the time.  Several weeks ago, our minister made a comment that I have been tossing around in my head, trying to find a way put this message in a blog.  Today, another sermon, by a guest minister, gave me the connection I have been looking for.  If you […]

Dollar Sense Workshop-Tuesday June 9th

If you are involved with your congregation’s benevolence ministries, you most likely have worked with someone who, on paper, looks like they should be able to cover their expenses.   Or, maybe they don’t have enough money coming in to cover what goes out.   Denying them help or writing a check will do nothing more than ‘plug the […]

Be Positive! Refuse to participate in the recession

Be Positive! Refuse to participate in the recession.  A local printing company (Fast Signs on 29th St) are giving free bumper stickers with this message on them.  While it might seem like a simple concept, I truly feel that it has merit.  With all the doom and gloom we are being bombarded with about the […]

Community Disaster Response Plan

Just as your family needs to develop it’s own, individual safety plan, the faith community has come together to determine the tasks and responsibilities of how to meet the long-term needs in the event of a major disaster. As much as we would like to think we are all safe and secure from any major […]

ACCESS OSM can help your Benevolence Ministry be more than writing a check….

ACCESS of West Michigan began over 25 years ago out of a need to have a central database to record those who had received help from congregations.  The first official employee was a Caseworker, to coordinate and offer assistance to churches who were being asked for financial assistance.  Now, many years later, we know that the need for this […]

How to Best Work with OSM Caseworkers

As I am putting together the information from the OSM Survey Monkey (thanks to all those who took the time to participate) I thought would comment on some of the confusion out there on how ACCESS Caseworkers can best work with Congregations. First of all, both caseworkers use voicemail and email to respond to inquiries. […]

Not so Easy Decisions

So, you answered the call to serve as a benevolence volunteer. Putting our Christian values to work to help others through difficult times seems like a natural progression, but what about the not so easy decisons? Finding out that a family has not made any utility payments and are now facing a shut-off if your […]

A question for benevolence workers

If your congregation is approached by a member for help with a bill, how do you handle this? Do you ask them to go to agencies first to see if there is additional help for them, before you offer help from your church? How do you limit the number of people privy to this request? […]