This is truly a Christmas miracle.
When Christ Fellowship Church asked its parishioners to help make "an everlasting impact on the hurting and under resourced this month", the idea was simply to raise $337,000 on the weekend of Dec. 15 and 16.
The result was overwhelming, when thousands of families attending one of the megachurch’s six campuses throughout Miami-Dade County decided it was truly more blessed to give than to receive, and raised more than $601,000 in two days.
According to Aimee Artiles, a spokeswoman from the church, "Thousands of churchgoers waited in line to give, using debit cards, writing checks, and turning in cash." Every penny of the money collected will be used to help the hurting and under-resourced in Miami and India," she said.
Artiles said more than half the money will stay in Miami, and will be used by a nonprofit organization affiliated with the church, Caring for Miami, to help meet the dental, medical and mental needs of thousands in South Florida. Caring for Miami’s most recent tax return lists the organization’s largest activities as including counseling on abortion alternatives, post-abortion counseling, assistance to homeless people, and aid to proselytizing activities.
The Rev. Rick Blackwood, senior pastor of the church said, "Christ Fellowship is blessed with the capacity to dream big. This December, we challenged everyone, including our own staff, to give big and be a light to their community and the world. the results were astounding."
Even the children’ were encouraged to bring in a new gift for a local foster child, as well as donate their own pennies to help another child in need. The children alone, raised $3,814.05 in pennies. The middle and high school youngsters were encouraged to leave their own shoes behind after service and more than 1,855 pairs of shoes were
collected in one weekend and will be shipped to others in need in countries like El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Haiti.
Christ Fellowship is one of the region’s largest churches, with campuses in downtown Miami, Palmetto Bay, West Kendall, Homestead, Redland and Coral Gables. For more information about the church, call 786-486-7339 or visit www.cfmiami.org.
On Jan. 5, Bishop Walter H. Richardson, one of the longest serving pastors in Miami-Dade County, will celebrate his 90th birthday. To honor him, his church family will have a gala dinner at Miami Shores Country Club, followed by a special worship service on Jan. 6, in the church sanctuary at 1351 NW 67th St. in Liberty City.
Richardson is one of the county’s unsung heroes. He quietly goes about doing all the good he can for the downtrodden and those who are victims in natural disasters throughout the world. And he hasn’t just started doing good; when millions were homeless during the Rwanda crisis, he spearheaded a movement in the church to collect t-shirts, soap, medical supplies and ponchos for children whose parents had been killed in the civil war and were living in refugee camps. His efforts spilled over into the community and members of the congregation met two evenings to pack the items, which the church then paid thousands of dollars to have the items shipped to Africa.
He did the same thing when there was a natural disaster and thousands in the United States, Haiti, the Bahamas, Jamaica and other Caribbean countries needed help.