An Atlanta church is paying off $10,000 worth of layaway gifts for nearly two dozen families this Christmas season – no strings attached.
“We’ve been called by God to be here, and we want to be a blessing to those in our community,” Kevin Murriel, the senior pastor at Cascade United Methodist Church, told the families during an indoor ceremony at a local Walmart. “... We believe that God is calling us to do [this].”
The gift will impact 23 families who had gifts on layaway at the local Walmart, according to the church’s Facebook post.
As Murriel spoke, members of the impacted families applauded.
“We aren’t asking you for anything,” Murriel said. “All we ask is that at some point in your life, that you will pay it forward – that you will bless someone else. Because we’re all blessed to be a blessing.”
Walmart officials worked with the church to surprise the families.
“Everyone deserves a good Christmas,” Murriel said.
Laurel Sessions told WSB-TV that the church’s generosity means her grandchildren will receive gifts she could not afford.
“It help[ed] me to be able to pay a bill that I didn’t have the money [for]. I needed this bill paid and it just came right at the right time,” Sessions said.
The church posted a video of the ceremony on Facebook that was viewed more than 10,000 times and sparked plenty of feedback.
“This is awesome! Thank you Cascade for sharing the meaning of Christmas to all!” one person wrote.
“What a blessing and an awesome act of kindness. God bless YOU ALL,” another person wrote.
The church’s theme is “A Light in the Community,” according to its website.
“We represent a light of Christ in the community, breaking the darkness of hopelessness and despair,” the website says. “We are a God-Led, Holy-Spirit Filled, Cohesive, Disciple-Making, Christ-Centered congregation. … We believe that we must always make a positive difference in the church and in the world.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Juliana Malta/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.