The Congregation at Duke University Chapel


photo of Carol

They go hand in hand.

Two books groups are currently reading The Paradox of Generosity by Christian Smith and Hillary Davidson. The book is a sociological study which stems from the Science of Generosity Initiative at the University of Notre Dame. The book claims, unsurprisingly, that generous behavior correlates with well-being. All forms of generosity lead to multiple forms of well-being. Specifically, the book explores the connections between patterns of financial giving, volunteering, neighborliness, and relational generosity with happiness, physical health, sense of purpose in life, and personal growth. Generosity and well-being go hand in hand.

I believe that healthy generosity also correlates with sustainability. The Paradox of Generosity claims that giving is good for us, that it helps to sustain us in health and wholeness. Beyond this, however, our generosity helps to sustain the church, our neighborhoods, and our communities. Generosity enables us and our communities to thrive. Our congregation is entirely dependent on the contributions of time and money given by our members and friends.

Is it a surprise that these things go hand in hand? No, for we follow Jesus who taught us that when we lose our lives, we will find them. We worship a God who created a world of abundance and beauty. We are sustained daily by God’s ever-present Spirit. Can we be generous with our love and resources, even when the world is filled with violence and chaos? When we have received so greatly from our Triune God, how could we refrain from generously giving of ourselves and our resources?

During the month of October, the Council, staff, and I invite you to prayerfully reflect on how you will be a part of sustaining the Congregation. Further, we invite you to go above and beyond your contribution to the Congregation with special support of "Empowerment Ministries." Please watch for detailed information.

May the peace of Christ be with you.