DEPEW, N.Y., Nov. 21 (UPI) -- The pastor of a New York state church said the state of the economy led him to distribute envelopes containing $100 each to churchgoers during a recent service.
The Rev. Christopher Baldwin of The Vine Wesleyan Church in Depew said his church is skipping its usual Christmas Eve request for a special offering from members and instead the envelopes of cash were distributed Sunday to church members and guests over the age of 18, The Buffalo (N.Y.) News reported Monday.
Baldwin said about $8,500 was distributed, with some families that have college-age children receiving multiple envelopes.
"As the Bible says, 'It's more blessed to give than to receive,'" Baldwin said.
He said each envelope contained a $100 bill and a note explaining the cash.
"Traditionally we have taken a special offering at Christmas Eve and we have sent it to a Christ-centered ministry. This year the needs are greater than ever in so many places, including for some of us [in] our own families," the note read. "In lieu of taking a Christmas Eve offering this year, we're going to give back to you so that you can meet a need in your own life or the life or ministry of someone else."