An open letter to our burglar

The following letter was published in the Salem News on October 29 and in the Danvers Herald on October 30.

To the editor:

To the person who is holding a gift not given:

Our best wishes and some suggestions —

You have about $3,130 in your hands. In our faith, we call that stewardship. In this case, it’s reverse stewardship, like taking money out of the collection plate or the Salvation Army can. We hope that you will put it to good use.

Perhaps you will use it to help your neighbors who will have trouble paying for their heating oil and gas this winter. Or perhaps you are planning a large donation to the Danvers Food Pantry, which is in great need of food to give to the growing numbers of needy families. Maybe you are one of the needy ones and will use it to feed your children and heat your home. Maybe you will use it to support the candidate of your choice, hoping to create better conditions here and abroad. Or perhaps your heart goes out to animals in need of homes. There are still thousands of people displaced by floods that need financial help, in Louisiana, the other Gulf States and in Iowa. The people of Darfur, of Afghanistan and Iraq are in need of funds for food and basic services.

With so much money you could fund over 124 micro-loans to women who are working hard to build small businesses in Africa, Asia and South America. Not only would you be helping their families to thrive, but you’d receive the money back again to invest even further. There are so many worthy ways to distribute the money, it can be overwhelming.

We would be glad to help you to invest this money wisely, and we’d like to invite you to visit our church. There you would find a faith that is grounded in respect for everyone, justice and peace for all and the idea that we are all connected. We are clearly now connected with you. We worked hard to raise this money in the hope that it would allow us to do good work, and now it is in your hands. May we put our faith in you?

With warm regards,

Rev. Frieda Gillespie
For the Northshore Unitarian Universalist Church