Week 4 - OikoCredit

Microcredit Lending
http://www.oikocredit.org/en/home 

Oikocredit is a church-based, cooperative financial institution that offers loans or investment capital for microfinance institutions, cooperatives, fair trade organizations and small to medium sized enterprises in developing countries.  In turn, they dispense life-changing loans to the poor and disadvantaged, with a special emphasis on rural areas and women.   85% of microcredit borrowers are women. 

Our name comes from the Greek “oiko” (house or community) and “credere” (to believe). At Oikocredit, our central belief is in the power of households and communities to build a better world.  Oikocredit believes that one of the reasons the poor stay poor is because they have no access to credit to start their own small food stall or to buy a cow.  Mainstream banks usually do not lend them money because they do not believe poor people are creditworthy. With a small loan poor people can improve their standard of living and change their future for the better. Since 1975, Oikocredit has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of families in nearly 70 different countries, through approximately 500 microfinance institutions.

Hymn Suggestions
Faith, Invested in Hope (Melody: Now Thank We All Our God)
Written on the occasion of Oikocredit’s 25th anniversary by Sytze de Vries, 2002

Called as Partners in Christ’s Service – NCH 495
Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us with Your Love – NCH 498
O Jesus, I Have Promised – NCH 493
God, Whose Giving Knows No Ending – NCH 565

Lent 4A
Amazing Grace – NCH 547, 548
Jesus the Christ says – NCH 48
Just As I Am – NCH 207
There are Some Things I May Not Know – NCH 405
God is My Shepherd – NCH 479
My Shepherd is the Living God– NCH 247
Such Perfect Love My Shepherd Shows – NCH 248
Psalm 23 – NCH 633

(Source: http://www.oikocredit.org/en/news-events/173/oikocredit-sunday-october-2005/)

Opening Ritual
A bell should be rung three times and candles lit, to remind us of the three areas of the earth where poverty predominates within islands of prosperity: the Caribbean & Latin America; Africa & the Middle East; and Asia & the Pacific.

 Call to Worship (Psalms 65-66)

Leader: It is fitting to praise you, O God, and that people should pay their vows to you
People: Hearer of prayer, everyone should come to you.
Leader: By your might, you fixed the mountains in place
People: You are girded with strength.
Leader: You calm the seas and their raging waves
People: And the tumult of the nations.
Leader: You care for the earth and make it fruitful
People: You enrich it greatly.
Leader: You crown the year with your good gifts
People: Places where you have passed drip with plenty.
Leader: Let all the earth acclaim God
People: Sing to the glory of God’s name.

Opening Prayer (Source: Oikocredit Support Association from the Netherlands.)

Lord God, source of righteousness,
we are grateful for the people who never cease in demanding the right
to shelter and food, to survival and pursuit of happiness.
We pray for the people who haven’t fallen silent:
struck dumb by poverty, fleeing hunger and war.
Grant us your spirit the longing for justice
– to be obtained by all people in abundance –
so that life on this earth may become a daily relief.

Lord God, source of righteousness,
we are grateful for the people who use their money and possessions in a creative manner:
to help creating new living space and shelter in a world full of outright injustice.
We are grateful for the people who are willing to see with their own eyes
those who are credit-worthy in your eyes: to birth new possibilities of life.

Lord God, source of tenderness,
we are grateful for women and men who are whole-heartedly committed to a disarming justice.
We are grateful for people who do not remain mere spectators
but get involved by offering their spare time to networks:
striving for a different way of dealing with money, and also to political matters:
striving for a social economy and an inhabitable world.

Lord God, source of spiritual power,
we pray that we may be united globally trusting that peace can and will bring about change.
Fan the flame of our hope that things will change
and fill us with overflowing love so that we may never cease to love others.
Let us be children of your spirit so that we may rightly say “I am with you!”
We pray here and all over the world. Amen

OGHS Theme:  Sharing Brings Joy to us, to others, to God.

Scripture:  2 Corinthians 9:7-8 

Lent 4A (April 3-9, 2011)
1 Samuel 16:1-13 – Samuel anoints David as the new king over Israel
Psalm 23 – God is my shepherd
Ephesians 5:8-14 – In God, you are children of the light
John 9:1-41 – Jesus heals the man born blind

OGHS LIVE CHAT – Call in from 7:15 – 7:45 joining the Rev. Terry Provance, Executive Director.  Learn why Oikocredit would assist people around the world who are poor.  With 1.4 billion people in the world living in poverty, who through no fault of their own, nor lack ability, lack opportunity to earn a better life for themselves, their familities and their communities.

Responsive Song – Siyahamb’ ekukanyen’ kwenkhos’ (NCH # 526, from South Africa)
Lord’s Prayer Litany (Source: Oikocredit Support Association from the Netherlands)

Let us unite in community with all Christians all over the world in the words Jesus taught us:

OUR FATHER, WHO ART IN HEAVEN
We are weak people, blind and selfish. But you are wisdom, love and life.
You give us your wisdom, love and life in abundance. The likeness of all those who strive for
a decent life, irrespective of their origin, are carved upon the palms of your hands.
HALLOWED BE THY NAME
Together with all people who seek communion with you, who seek your kingdom of
righteousness, we pray:
THY KINGDOM COME
Hoping for a church that intercedes in all countries for a world of justice and peace and a
church that will not accept any obstacles that hinder the coming of your kingdom, we pray:
THY WILL BE DONE
While we work whole-heartedly for a world in which future generations will be able to feel
safe and sound, we realize that it is only from your loving hands that we receive such a
world. Therefore we pray:
GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD
Grant us the will to care for others and share with them and help us to rid ourselves of
selfishness and egoism
FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS, AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS
We confess that we fall short of loving our neighbors and you. Therefore we pray:
LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION
We are too busy with ourselves and do not fulfill our mission of protecting the integrity of
creation. Therefore we pray:
BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL
Your kingdom is above all differences of race, identity and nationality. Your love embraces
everybody and everything. It is through your grace that we are granted peace and may live.
FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY, FOR EVER AND
EVER. AMEN.

Call to Offering
Sharing brings joy – to us, to others, and to God.  Let us share with joy, the gifts we have been given.

Faith Affirmation (by theologian Dorothee Solle)
I believe in God, who did not create a world incapable of change,
who does not govern according to a natural order of rich and poor,
of expert and ignorant, or rulers and subjects.

I believe in God who wanted us to change the status quo
through our work and our politics…

I believe in Jesus Christ who rises again and again in our lives
so that we will all be free from prejudice and arrogance…

I believe in the Spirit that Jesus sent into the world,
and that it is up to us what our earth becomes –
A vale of tears, starvation and tyranny, or a city of God.

I believe in a just peace that can be achieved,
and in the possibility of a meaningful life for all people.

Closing Prayer (Source: Oikocredit.org, from Canada)
I invite you to take a minute to get in touch with that quiet center within you where you meet
the Divine and reflect on the sacred energy that lives and flows through you.

The Irish Theologian Diarmuid O’Murchu says that “energy is the substance of life, the
unrelenting wellspring of pure possibility.” Oikocredit is just that – a wellspring of pure
possibility that acknowledges our responsibility for one another and for all people.

Let us pray:

Loving Creator God, as we go forth to our homes, our hearts are full of gratitude for all the
gifts of creation and for the deep determination that we share to make these gifts and
resources available to all people. We give thanks for the spirit of cooperation that enlivens
us. We treasure the conviction of interconnectedness that enables us to walk together and
to work in harmony for a more just and equitable world. Conscious of our need for your
graced and mysterious energy, we ask that you fill us with the courage and wisdom to
continue to use that energy to partner with the poor, to generously support their
endeavors, to challenge others to travel with us so that together we may reveal your face to
a suffering and needy world. Keep our vision clear, our purpose strong, our love for you and
one another deep and enduring.
We ask this through Jesus your Son. Amen

Commissioning and Benediction
May God be before you to show you the path of justice.

May God be behind you to strengthen your back to walk upright.
May God be beside you to direct your gaze to what is important.
May God be under you to give you strength in uncertainty.
May God be in you and give you a big heart and a lively mind and strong hands.
May the good God bless you.  Amen.


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CONTACT INFO



Ms. Phyllis Y. Richards
Program Associate, Global Sharing of Resources
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
216-736-3215
richardp@ucc.org