One Great Hour of Sharing
Each year during Lent, we make the biggest of our special offerings, One Great Hour of Sharing. We receive the offerings for four Sundays, concluding with their dedication in our Easter Service. The children in our Sunday Church School also fill coin boxes for OGHS, which we dedicate with the rest of our offerings on Easter Sunday.
OGHS supports three missions:
- The Presbyterian Hunger Fund
- Presbyterian World Service
- The Fund for the Self-Development of People (SDOP)
The Presbyterian Hunger fund provides food directly to people in danger of starvation or malnutrition because of famine, warfare, or sustained poverty. It also helps develop programs to attack the root causes of hunger and so change the conditions that keep people in long-term need. A related need of many people in our world is clean water, and the Hunger Fund supports programs to meet that need.
Presbyterian World Service works with other organizations to help refugees and displaced persons, victims of warfare and civil strife, and victims of natural disasters.
The Fund for the Self-Development of People provides seed money for minority groups that have developed plans to help themselves economically and socially. The national SDOP makes one-time grants up to $50,000 to groups that meet the criteria. Lesser grants are made through the presbyteries to people striving to become financially independent with plans that meet the SDOP criteria.
In 1980, our General Assembly adopted a study paper and program entitled, “Peacemaking, the Believer’s Calling.” First Presbyterian Church, Bridgeton, then signed the covenant for peacemaking and made the annual special offering an ongoing part of our stewardship and mission.
Two-thirds of the offering goes to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for peacemaking programs at the presbytery, synod, and General Assembly levels – across the country and around the world. The other third stays with our local church, under the direction of the Session.
In the summer of 2003, we were able to give $1,000 of accumulated peacemaking money to the Building Bridges for Peace program which brings together Israeli and Palestinian teenaged girls for a 2-week camp designed to promote mutual understanding and respect. Often, the camp produces friendship among girls who had previously regarded each other as enemies. Because there is follow-up with the girls who have attended the camps and they keep in touch with each other, they become a support system for each other in their strife-torn land. This mission contribution left us about $500 in the fund prior to this year’s offering received October 5.
Click here to be taken to the Presbyterian Church’s page: Peacemaking Program.
Christmas Joy Offering
Our Christmas Joy Offering supports equally (1) the Board of Pensions’ program of supplemental pension and nursing care support for retired ministers, other church workers, and their surviving spouses and (2) scholarship assistance for students at our Presbyterian-related schools and colleges that serve mostly students from racial/ethnic minorities. We dedicate the Joy Offering in our Candlelight Christmas Eve Service with prayers for the people who have served Christ’s church and the world, often with small financial remuneration, and those now preparing to serve. The offering provides us a way to thank those who have given much and invest our hopes in those with much to give.
The Presbyterian-related schools supported are:
Cook Native American Ministries
Johnson C. Smith University
Presbyterian Pan American School
Sheldon Jackson College
Find information on the schools here.