Churches are gift-giving institutions during the Christmas season.

First Baptist Church of Bristol, Virginia, has partnered with a local nonprofit that coordinates with their county’s Department of Children’s Services to provide gifts for foster children.

The congregation, where Ronnie Brewer serves as pastor, sponsored 21 children this December.

On Dec. 19, members of Second Baptist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, will prepare Christmas bags for the residents at Albert Pike Residence Hotel, a Housing and Urban Development-affiliated complex providing affordable housing to lower-income families.

These items will be distributed the next day during an annual Christmas party at which Second Baptist members will serve the residents. Preston Clegg is Second Baptist’s pastor.

First Baptist Church of Pensacola, Florida, pastored by Barry Howard, is hosting a Christmas dinner for the homeless in their community. At the meal, clothing items and children’s toys will be distributed.

In addition, First Pensacola’s leaders have encouraged members to participate in a December fundraising event to aid a local health clinic that provides free medical and dental care to lower-income folks.

An offering to provide food, clean water and other needs to people in Bolivia, Ethiopia and Uganda is being collected by Southland Baptist Church in San Angelo, Texas, this holiday season.

The congregation, pastored by Taylor Sandlin, will send the funds to Water for All International, a nonprofit development organization led by two congregation members.

University Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, led by co-pastors Griff Martin and Mike Massar, is collecting books for children at a local elementary school. The books will be given to students who have few books of their own so that they have an additional Christmas present and one that encourages learning.

The Louisiana congregation is also participating in two ministry opportunities to persons without homes in their community – serving food and sharing in worship – during December.

These are a handful of the numerous positive initiatives that goodwill people of faith are carrying out this holiday season to enhance their communities and advance the common good.

Share your stories via email or Twitter with staff, who will work to share about your congregation’s efforts to build social capital in your community.

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