Virginia Baptist church donates $1 million in surplus tithes

    'What I’ve learned is when you open up your hands to God, God can bless you.'

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    The historic Alfred Street Baptist Church, in Alexandria, Virginia, has donated over $1 million in surplus tithes to the community amid the COVID-19 crisis.

    The generosity is part of an initiative called Tithe-the-Tithe, which aids the most vulnerable during the pandemic, Christian Post reports. 

    “A few years ago we were blessed to be able to donate $1 Million to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. That’s why I’m so grateful to God that Alfred Street Baptist Church can continue to be a blessing to so many people in the community throughout our nation during this pandemic,” senior pastor Rev. Howard-John Wesley said in a statement.

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    The 10,000-member Alfred Street Baptist Church is one of the oldest and large Black churches in the nation. 

    “Clearly there was a lot of concern, dare I say even fear, some panic of what COVID would do. What would our numbers specifically, would our giving go down? People not being in the building and virtual space and online, would we be able to support ministry? Would we have to lay people off? Would we have to shut this down or stop that?,” Wesley explained in a video published on YouTube.

    “In the very first two weeks of worship online, our giving was up almost 25-30%. I really felt the Lord saying, ‘Now what are you going to do with this surplus?’ That the surplus God gave was an opportunity not to build up bank reserves, not to build up our own accounts but we are demanded to give that away. And that’s when Tithe-the-Tithe came to my spirit,” Wesley said.

    Church CFO Rev. Sedric Roberts was hesitant to get on board with tithing 10% of the church’s tithes back to the community. But as word spread about the initiative, people began to give more and Roberts had a change of heart. 

    “What I’ve learned is when you open up your hands to God, God can bless you. He takes with an open hand and God gives into an open hand,” he said.

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    Organizations that have received donations from the church include: Hopkins House Preschool Academy, which received $27,000, Children’s National Hospital, received $50,000; Simon Elementary School received $130,000; Unity Health Care received $25,000; Polk Elementary School was given $10,000; D.C. Rape Crisis Center got $20,000; Bright Beginnings received $25,000; Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington received $4,000; and Union Baptist Church in Hartford, Connecticut, received $15,000, according to the report. 

    “There are smaller churches that minister to people in real and relevant ways that don’t have resources [that ASBC has], and during this season of not being able to worship, some of them may struggle financially. So one of the things that we’re going to do is take some of that 10% and identify a church and/or an organization every week and just give a donation to them. And this is because we are not competitors, we are brothers and sisters in the same work and we want to support everyone with no strings attached,” Wesley said.

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