It was 4:10 am. My wife and I were awoken by a strange popping sound outside our window. I got up to investigate and found that the townhouses in our row were being engulfed in flames. Needless to say, this is not the way my wife wanted to celebrate her 29th birthday. We left our house with our daughter, our dog, our laptop and our wedding photos. We did not know if our home (pictured) would be saved or destroyed.
As we waited on a public bus provided for those who were displaced, some of the first people on the scene were from the Red Cross. They provided us with vouchers for clothes and beds and arranged lodgings for everyone. Later that morning, I went to my church and visited with the minister. He had, by now, heard about our plight and gave us a cheque to help cover whatever extra expenses we might incur.
In the end, our home and belongings were saved, but it would be days before we could get them. In the interim, we had friends, family and acquaintances give us clothes, food, toys, books and a wrap I could use to wear our baby. I have certainly been the recipient of charity.
And so begins our most recent symposium. Our topic will be charity, a seemingly straightforward matter. We will be discussing how, when and if charity is a good and useful endeavour. I am certain this won’t be controversial at all.
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