Special to the Advocate
The One Great Hour of Sharing offering makes the necessities of life, such as food, shelter and clothing, a reality by sharing the goodness of life with those who hurt.
When a catastrophe occurs, offerings to One Great Hour of Sharing enable the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to reach out and ease the pain and suffering by providing humanitarian aid of food, shelter, health and peace.
Giving to One Great Hour of Sharing enables UMCOR to keep the promise that 100 percent of designated gifts go to the specific causes. Unlike other United Methodist mission programs, UMCOR receives no World Service or other apportionment money. This is why faithful support of One Great Hour of Sharing offering is crucial.
One Great Hour of Sharing is one of the six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church. Each congregation is encouraged to celebrate the Special Sundays. Your congregation’s generosity to OGHS offering provides hope amidst despair.
One Great Hour of Sharing is observed the fourth Sunday in Lent, March 22 this year. The offering can be received at any time of the year, though. Last year the Mississippi Conference gave $42,283 to UMCOR, which contributed millions to Hurricane Katrina relief on the Gulf Coast.
In 1946 One Great Hour of Sharing began as a special effort of the Episcopal Church. In 1949 the observance became ecumenical. Originally, one special worship hour during the year was reserved for people of faith to contribute over and above their regular offerings. Today different denominations celebrate One Great Hour of Sharing on various dates, but the cooperative spirit remains.
The United Methodist Church relies on One Great Hour of Sharing to support humanitarian aid through UMCOR. You can be assured that when catastrophes cause suffering, your denomination, impelled by Jesus' love and compassion, will be in the lead to ease the pain. UMCOR's specialized ministries are responding in disaster, fighting hunger, alleviating poverty, providing relief supplies around the world, and offering hospitality to immigrants and refugees. All assist the most vulnerable people whose need is greatest.
"The One Great Hour of Sharing offering on March 22, provides for those basic needs that make the rest of UMCOR's work possible," said the Rev. Sam Dixon, UMCOR deputy general secretary. "Without this offering so much of what UMCOR does to bring hope and healing to the world could not happen."
Most gifts coming to UMCOR have been designated for specific programs, and those programs receive 100 percent of those gifts. So part of the One Great Hour of Sharing offering plus a small percentage of other general donations support UMCOR's cost of doing business.
Donations to One Great Hour of Sharing also assist UMCOR programs that have not been fully funded through designated Advance gifts. United Methodists' donations often become the springboard for additional funding.
This story was adapted from an article that appeared in the March 9 edition of “Faith in Action,” the newsletter of the General Board of Church and Society.