It is One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) season again! Perhaps you know of it through the fish banks children use to collect coins along with a calendar that asks them to give from their blessings in a concrete way. Children may be asked to count the number of windows in their home and give that number of coins. The next day they may be asked about the number of days they go to school each week and give a gift based on that. This helps them think about the abundance in their lives, see it as a blessing, and in turn respond to God’s blessings by blessing others. This lesson is good for us as adults, too. We may not be excited to count our windows, but we should remind ourselves that they are a blessing. We may not be in school, but we can bless others through the blessing that our work is.
The Presbyterian Church has been part of OGHS for more than 70 years, sharing God’s love through the church programs this special offering supports. Today OGHS supports three church programs: Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA), the Presbyterian Hunger Program, and Self-Development of People (SDOP). Our church benefitted from and partnered with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance after the 2018 tornado, and they are on the ground in areas where many recent disasters have occurred, including eastern Europe (Ukrainian refugees), Florida (Hurricane Ian), and Turkey and Syria (earthquake). The Presbyterian Hunger Program works not only to feed people but also to eliminate the causes of hunger. The Self-Development of People committee funds grants and enters into partnerships with community groups seeking to better their lives in a number of ways, including job training and skill development for people with disabilities, immigrant groups seeking to learn about issues such as paying taxes, establishing credit history, getting health care, and fitting in in their new country, and groups creating urban gardens. Most programs funded in 2021 were in the US, though several agricultural and entrepreneurial projects were funded around the world. Small gifts multiplied have a large impact on lives here and around the world.
To learn more about One Great Hour of Sharing and the programs it supports, and to download a OGHS calendar, or a Lenten “Tread Lightly” calendar, visit the special offerings section of the PCUSA website. A list of past projects funded by SDOP is available for download halfway down the page here.