One Great Hour of Sharing is coming to Bethel, along with many thousands of churches around the world, on Sunday, March 26th. For a number of years, our Bethel has participated in this ecumenical mission offering. We receive it as a freewill offering— whatever YOU choose to contribute— and our contribution flows worldwide through the United Church of Christ.
Please visit the UCC’s website concerning One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS)— it is both inspiring and heartbreaking to see what our gifts can do to help. Please make plans to give !
“How is the United Church of Christ's offering used? Almost 60 percent of the UCC's offering supports international development initiatives, including annual support for missionaries. Currently there are 4 OGHS supported missionaries and 2 Global Mission Interns working in disaster relief, health care, education, sustainable agricultural development, and refugee support. The offering also funds disaster preparedness and response, and disaster related volunteer initiatives in the U.S.
“Where and how are OGHS funds shared? The United Church of Christ responds to development, disaster, and refugee needs in 138 countries, and provides disaster relief and immigration assistance in the United States. The United Church of Christ responds as a member of organizations such as Church World Service and the ACT Alliance. We also support the direct mission efforts of churches and church-based organizations that the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) have direct partnerships with through Global Ministries. Nearly one-third of the UCC's offering is shared through Church World Service to support refugee, disaster, development, and advocacy programs.
“What percentage of OGHS donations are used directly for mission? On average, of every dollar given to One Great Hour of Sharing, 95 cents is used directly for mission programming, and the remaining 5 cents is used to create interpretation materials. Administrative costs are paid by gifts to Our Church's Wider Mission National Basic Support.
This year’s theme evokes both God’s presence AND the presence of God’s generous people wherever there is need in the world:
As I promised last week, here are the top five suggestions from Pope Francis (according to Kevin Cotter, who serves as the Senior Director of Curriculum for the Fellowship of Catholic University Students), in answer to the question, “What should I do for Lent ?”
5. Take part in the sacraments “Lent is a favorable time for letting Christ serve us so that we in turn may become more like him. This happens whenever we hear the word of God and receive the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. There we become what we receive: the Body of Christ.”
4. Pray: “Make our hearts like yours!” “During this Lent, then, brothers and sisters, let us all ask the Lord: ‘Make our hearts like yours.’ In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference.”
3. Don’t remain indifferent “Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience. God is not indifferent to our world; he so loves it that he gave his Son for our salvation.”
2. Do something that hurts “Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.”
1. Get rid of the lazy addiction to evil “[Lent] is a ‘powerful’ season, a turning point that can foster change and conversion in each of us. We all need to improve, to change for the better. Lent helps us and thus we leave behind old habits and the lazy addiction to the evil that deceives and ensnares us.”