The Psalm 46 Fund, a joint effort between Lighthouse Church and the African American Council of Churches (AACC), has raised over $270,000 and given direct financial support to more than 300 families — most of them Latino or African American — in just over a month.
The AACC hosted a “Simultaneous Day of Giving” yesterday to help 120 more, with $50 Woodman’s gift cards and $150 toward any bill.
In a Facebook Live video yesterday, Lighthouse Church pastor Marcio Sierra, Jr and AACC President Rev. Marcus Allen said the fund began with an initial investment of $20,000 from nonprofit organization Selfless Ambition, and the hope was to raise a total of $50,000.
“I was putting God in a box,” Sierra said of the modest goal.
“It’s totally about God doing the work, right? God doing the work. When we set out to do this, we said, ‘Hey, if we raised $50,000 that’d be great,’” Allen said. “And God has blown our minds tremendously. Not because of the work that we have done, but because of the work that he has empowered us to do.”
“When we came up with the idea for the fund, we had no idea it would grow to what it is,” said Selfless Ambition CEO Henry Sanders. “I am extremely proud to know people like Marcio and Marcus who believe in putting their faith into action. It’s one hing to have an idea, but Marcio and Marcus ran with it, and the community is benefiting from their work.”
Sierra said Lighthouse has supported 165 families with $400 – $500 each in direct cash assistance, which they have used for rent or utilities. Allen said AACC has offered similar assistance to 160 families.
“I am trying my best at the AACC as the president to ensure that this money does not sit in our bank account at all. We’re trying our best to get this money out as soon as possible,” Allen said.
To that end, 13 churches hosted a “Simultaneous Day of Giving” on Tuesday. Anyone who arrived at one of the participating churches during the appointed time received a $50 Woodman’s gift card, while supplies last, and can turn in one bill to have $150 of it paid.
“If the bill is $130, we’ll pay the $130. If the bill is $300, we’ll pay $150,” Allen said. “We don’t even care what the bill is right now. We just want to be a support. Cell phone bill, we’ve given out food cards, car payments, utilities, anything. So we just, we just want to be a help.”
Allen, who is also senior pastor at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, said it’s been remarkable how churches have worked together to make this fund happen.
“Right now the church is looking like the body of Christ because we’re walking together, we’re helping each other, we’re reaching out to each other, we’re talking through plans, we are communicating, pastors coming together, we’re trying to do so very so much together,” he said.
Allen said the project is named the Psalm 46 fund primarily because of the first verse in that passage: “God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble.”
“That’s where we are now,” he said. “That is what we need.”
He said another verse of that psalm, near the end, is also applicable: “Be still and know I am God.”
“That’s what we want people to do,” he said. “Stay in place. Don’t rush to get outside. Don’t rush to start businesses back there. Don’t rush to get together. Don’t rush to be back in church together. Don’t rush to that. Let God do his work and we’ll come back together in due season.”