The congregation of First United Methodist Church in Sioux Falls has a sense of mission on many levels. They are encouraged to give and support One Great Hour of Sharing, but they also get involved with UMCOR’s work through the assembling of relief supplies. Photo: Lynne Jones
One Great Hour of Sharing is March 6
By Susan Kim*
March 1, 2016—When Lynne Jones, connections director at First United Methodist Church in Sioux Falls, S.D., plans her church’s One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) Sunday, she first goes online for resources. “We use posters, videos, news and events to promote the offering,” she said.
Congregations can download and share an OGHS church bulletin, poster, and a Pastor and Leader’s Kit. The kit includes new social media banners for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter, as well as website banners and wallpapers for five smartphone platforms.
The resources for this special offering that supports the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) are prepared by United Methodist Communications and can be found by clicking here.
Jones also believes OGHS is part of a wider sense of giving within a congregation: when a church’s overall outreach extends, so does its OGHS support. “We’re a very giving church, historically,” she said.
Members of the congregation are not only encouraged to give monetarily but also to involve themselves in some way with UMCOR’s work, whether that means packing relief supplies or volunteering. For example, each year the congregation leads “May Day Sioux Falls” on May 1, during which the church engages 500 people at 25 locations serving for three hours at various local organizations.
Connecting with the mission
Another way to inspire congregations to support OGHS is to portray the connection between their generosity and UMCOR’s ability to help people in need. For example, Claremont United Methodist Church in California sends an “e-devotional” each day of Lent that includes a photo from an UMCOR response or project, along with a caption explaining how UMCOR is helping people in need.
Most congregations celebrate One Great Hour of Sharing on the fourth Sunday of Lent, which in 2016 is March 6. If this conflicts with other events, local churches are encouraged to choose other dates that work for them.
UMCOR does not receive United Methodist World Service or apportionment funds, so without offerings from churches, UMCOR would not exist.
One Great Hour of Sharing underwrites UMCOR’s “costs of doing business.” This helps UMCOR to keep the promise that 100 percent of any gift to a specific UMCOR project will go toward that project, not administrative costs.
“We are so grateful for our partner churches,” said Hannah Therese Picciano Hanson, UMCOR gifts and church relations manager. “When I see the creative efforts from congregations across the nation, it’s inspiring to see how their generosity helps UMCOR share God’s love with people in need across the world.”
Your support for One Great Hour of Sharing “keeps the lights on” at UMCOR.
*Susan Kim is a journalist and a regular contributor to www.umcor.org.