money photo by cohdra, via morgeufileReverend Nathan Detering, a minister at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Area Church in Sherborn, Massachusetts, tried an experiment last year with his congregation. Instead of members donating money to the church, they were given money as a “reverse offering,” and charged to do some good with it.

Each was given between $5.00 and $20.00 in an envelope.

“That small amount of money was given a large meaning. And I really wanted people to appreciate that. It’s not the number on the bill that can make the difference, often it’s the intention behind it.”

“Somebody had folded up their $5 bill in their wallet, and they said they were walking through their life with a different kind of vision for the need that was around them. It was only $5, but the money helped them grow new antennae for the world around them. For five bucks, that’s a priceless thing.”

(READ the transcript, OR LISTEN to the radio segment, from WBUR)

Photo by cohdra, via – Thanks to Linda Shepard Salzer for sending the link!


  1. Our church did something like this some time ago, we called it the Stewardship campaign. Everyone who wanted to take part was given $20, and tried to make it grow. Some people banded together and used their money enmasse to do things like fashion parades, pot luck suppers, entertainment evenings, with the proceeds going back to their favourite charity within the church such as outreach, mission, etc. Others did something like cooking or gardening and sold their produce with proceeds going back to the church. Was loads of fun, and really brought different groups of people together as they worked for their nominated beneficiary group.

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