This year, the theme of the OGHS campaign is “Go the Extra Mile.” It is especially fitting at this time, when refugees are so much in the news. While expenditures for refugee or “displaced persons” ministries represent only 14% of the total spending of OGHS gifts, the refugee experience is so poignant, it is worth focusing on.
“This option for accompaniment is truly a biblical principle that saturates the pages of Scripture. From God Who is present with Hagar in the desert and calls her to remain close to her son Ishmael (Genesis 21), to the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats where the criterion for judgment is that of compassionate accompaniment (Matthew 25), to
St. Paul’s exhortation that Christians should “rejoice with those who rejoice [and] weep with those who weep” (Romans 15). This promise to walk together is mutual and reciprocal, where both parties are in need, and both experience the real power that emerges from the spiritual discipline of solidarity. …
“Through the One Great Hour of Sharing offering, we, as the body of Christ, have opportunity and power to help those who are living in despair as refugees. If refugees had the choice to return home, many would not have a place to return because their home most likely has been destroyed— either burned, severely damaged, or is still an unsafe place to live.
“This year, as you consider your gift to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering, for one moment, think of what it would be like to not have a place to call home, and then make your very best gift…. Let us live out the call of solidarity with all people, especially those who are displaced by disaster, war, and famine.”
Click on “Go the Extra Mile”)
Among the many options we might hear about for helping people in need, One Great Hour of Sharing is among the most efficient and accountable. On average, of every dollar given to One Great Hour of Sharing, 92 cents is used directly for mission programming; 6.5 cents for interpretation materials and 1 cent for administrative costs and .5 cents for program monitoring and evaluation (accountability). Most administrative costs are paid by gifts to Our Church's Wider Mission National Basic Support. In addition to the United Church of Christ, six other Christian denominations in the USA support One Great Hour of Sharing: American Baptist Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Church of the Brethren, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and Presbyterian Church (USA). All of us cooperate with the organization called Church World Service, to get maximum effectiveness out of every penny.
Please consider helping— in response to God, Who says to us,
“Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;
and you that have no money, come, buy and eat !” - - Isaiah 55:1