Christmas Joy Offering – The Healing Spirit


Rev. Thomas “Tom” Gard and his wife Laurel believe the Board of Pensions is a godsend. This recently retired teaching elder, from Fergus Falls, Minnesota, is referring to the Shared Grant contributed by the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys, the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, and the Board’s Assistance Program. The grant allowed them to purchase a used van and have it converted to accommodate his wife’s wheelchair.

Laurel has multiple sclerosis and prior to this, Tom had to lift her out of the chair and into the car and vice versa. “I’m getting too old for that,” he says.

In addition to the physical relief for Laurel’s back, the van is making the quality of her health and life better. Pressure sores are a constant worry for folks who have to spend extensive time in sitting or lying positions. Being lifted back and forth is very painful and slows down the healing process. “It’s a constant challenge trying to prevent and then heal pressure sores. The van is aiding in her ability to heal, which in turn, improves her mobility,” Tom says. “It also improves her spirit.”

They have had the van almost six months now, and the couple looks forward to their increased mobility beyond doctor’s visits and physical therapy. Newly retired, Tom hopes to add to the quality of their lives with the newfound flexibility the van allows.

Tom learned of the assistance program through his executive presbyter. “It’s a great example of Christians working together, sharing, and all those things that we aspire to do,” he says.

Once he connected with the Board of Pensions and started the grant process, Tom was overwhelmed by the support from everyone. “More people should know about this program, and how their gifts to the Christmas Joy Offering help make this possible. It really is a beautiful thing.”

The Christmas Joy Offering honors God’s promise by making and delivering upon meaningful promises of our own: to church workers through assistance in their time of need and racial ethnic education and leadership development.

Please give generously, to help others like Tom and Laurel:

  • With the Christmas Joy offering envelope
  • with a check marked “Christmas Joy”
  • online using the Christmas Joy line
  • Text JOY to 20222 to give $10