Written by Phyllis Richards
God’s amazing work in the world continues. Through One Great Hour of Sharing, you build networks of relationships that multiply this good news in ways we can only imagine. We invite you to consider your 2014 participation.
Way back in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina devastated the United States Gulf Coast, you were part of the recovery of Back Bay Mission in Biloxi, Mississippi and beyond through One Great Hour of Sharing and the Hope Shall Bloom special fund. Since then, thousands of volunteers from all over the country have traveled to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to assist in disaster recovery and in Back Bay’s on-going work of “Strengthening Neighborhoods, Seeking Justice, Transforming Lives.” Members of the United Church of Christ in Longmont, Colorado have been among those Gulf Coast volunteers since 2007.
In September of 2013 when severe floods struck their own home community, people in the Longmont UCC knew just what to do from their Back Bay experience. They got busy mucking out and repairing homes. As John Rostykus, who coordinates the church’s recovery efforts, put it, “If we hadn’t been to Back Bay Mission, we’d be just as lost as everyone else right now.” The pastor at Longmont UCC, Rev. Rick King, knew that the UCC is part of Church World Service and immediately requested clean-up buckets http://www.cwsglobal.org/blog/an-unexpected-job.html Through OGHS, you helped provide the Church World Service infrastructure for those buckets to be available when and where they were needed.
As the rebuilding stage of recovery began in Colorado, your participation in One Great Hour of Sharing helped provide training through Church World Service that helped people understand differences between the earlier stages of disaster recovery and the long-term stage. Members of the Longmont congregation now are active members of the Longmont Long-Term Recovery Team, through which their own efforts and resources are multiplied. Rev. King co-chairs the volunteer coordination team of two different long-term recovery groups. Who knows what lives will be changed so that when disaster strikes in yet another neighborhood, they are ready to respond and multiply the best practices and good news experienced through these disaster recovery relationships.
Through One Great Hour of Sharing, you are part of these networks of relationships all along the way. Together, we are part of God’s continuing and amazing work in the world.
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. Mary Schaller Blaufuss, Ph.D.
UCC Global Sharing of Resources Team Leader