One Great Hour of Sharing Plants Hope Encourage your church family to participate fully in One Great Hour of Sharing. Access additional stories, sermons, liturgies, music, and other resources to help promote One Great Hour of Sharing at www.ucc.org/oghs/resources.
I love the smell of freshly brewed coffee. People in the Santa Barbara province of Honduras enjoy the same attraction to coffee – only more -- seventy-five percent of their economy more. Through the past few decades, local farms have been converted to this single cash crop. This year though, Central America is experiencing the worst Coffee Rust Plague since 1976, due to growing practices and climate change. In January 2014, the Honduran government declared a national emergency. The Coffee Rust Plague is a fungus that affects the leaves and destroys crops and plants. Once it attacks, the only option is to destroy an entire coffee plantation to prevent the spread of the fungus. Affected farms will not yield coffee for another two or three years as it will take at least two years for seedlings to fully grow and produce coffee. Predictions contend that 2013-2014 yields will produce 30% - 40% less than 2011-2012 levels.
The Coffee Rust Plague may be a mild inconvenience for you and I as our morning cup of coffee may not come from Honduras during the next few years. But for Honduran families dependent on this one crop for their entire livelihood, food insecurity looms. Public/private aid programs do not really reach the small and very small landholders. Pressures to migrate north are growing.
Through OGHS, you plant a different story. Through technical assistance and seeds, families can plant hope rather than despair. Farmers can diversify crops. Subsistence farmers and seasonal laborers can expand home gardens to feed their families. Vegetables, plantains (bananas) and chicken will grace hundreds of tables. People may not have to risk migration to ensure their families’ survival. Through OGHS, you help families plant hope. And that smells even better than freshly brewed coffee.
OGHS is one of the All-Church Offerings of the United Church of Christ. Your congregation can be 5 for 5 by participating in the One Great Hour of Sharing, Strengthen the Church, Neighbors in Need, and Christmas Fund offerings and through generous support of Our Church’s Wider Mission (OCWM).
Your place of employment may offer the opportunity for matching grants. Check out this list to see if you might be able to multiply your gift to One Great Hour of Sharing.
The establishment of an OGHS Endowment is coming soon. Help provide long-term stability for the UCC’s systematic and relational participation in disaster recovery, sustainable development and refugee relief.
Sharing in God’s Love,
Rev. Dr. Mary Schaller Blaufuss UCC Global Sharing of Resources Team Leader