June 08, 2018
As I write this letter, reports of lives lost and images of unthinkable destruction are scrolling across social media feeds and newscasts: the volcanos in Guatemala and Hawaii, the flood in Maryland, the fires in New Mexico and Colorado, and the ongoing rebuilding efforts in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria last year (to name a few). As hard as it is to wrap my mind around this kind of instantaneous devastation, seeing grief-stricken citizens walk through unrecognizable remains of hospitals, schools, and so many homes and businesses makes my heart hurt. Knowing that disasters such as this happen with frequency all over the world magnifies that feeling. But such disasters are also occasions that can awaken our spirits.
While we may feel helpless as we read these stories of loss and view these images of damage, there is a concrete, tangible way we can help people who find themselves with their lives turned upside down in an instant: the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering (OGHS). The OGHS offering began sixty-four years ago in response to the devastation of World War II. In March of 1949, a national broadcast on a Saturday evening asked Americans to give generously the next morning in their churches. A remarkable assembly of national leaders and celebrities gave their efforts to the broadcast, and more than 75,000 churches responded the next day. Today, OGHS serves people all over the world. Sponsored by nine Christian denominations (including American Baptist Churches USA) and Church World Service, OGHS makes sure that we can respond to needs as soon as they happen. As a result, tens of thousands of people receive support for ongoing relief and rehabilitation. In addition to emergency relief, OGHS also provides funds for developing projects, both at home in the U.S. and around the world. $2 million of OGHS gifts last year went to help the hundreds of thousands of people impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and mudslides and fires in California. Your gifts are helping people envision recovery and new life, strengthened by the assurance that God is working in, through, and beyond us. The Apostle Paul who said that God is able to “accomplish abundantly more than we can ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20) also put the work of building abundance squarely at our feet: “…always seek to do good to one another and to all” (1 Thess. 5:15).
Calvary, your OGHS gifts are a witness to the belief that God is able to “accomplish abundantly more than we can ask or imagine.” All of us have the power to give back to God from that which God has given us, and in doing so, create a more just world for all of God’s children. Through our gifts, we participate in the many ministries that serve the hungry, the poor, the distressed, the refugee. Please join me this June in giving generously to this year’s One Great Hour of Sharing offering. Giving is easy with these options:
• enclose a check or cash in the provided OGHS envelope and place it in the offering plate during worship at
Calvary OR mail it to or drop it by the church office (memo line: OGHS)
• give on-line by clicking here (choose “Monthly Mission Partner” and type OGHS)
• text opentoall to 77977
To view how your contributions impacted in 2017, read page 2 of my letter here.
Partnering with you,