As we prepare to observe One Great Hour of Sharing on Sunday, March 14, uppermost in our consciousness is the devastation unleashed on Haiti, January 12, when the earth shook and buildings tumbled, killing thousands and affecting lives there for generations to come. That disaster was followed on February 27, as we know, by an 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile – the fifth strongest earthquake on record.
It is this Special Sunday offering which funds the operation of The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the Church's instrument for providing aid in disaster situations such as these.
Gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing is the only means for funding UMCOR's basic expenses, its "costs of doing business." What that means is that your gifts on March 14 make it possible for 100% of all other donations, to specific programs, to go directly to those programs.
In other words, when you donate to the Haiti emergency using Advance # 418325, or to the Chile emergency using Advance # 3021178, every single dollar of it will go directly to help the people who are in desperate need – simply because of the One Great Hour of Sharing offering.
But disaster relief is not the only program made possible by your One Great Hour of Sharing giving. Another UMCOR ministry is Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) – which partners with annual conferences and local congregations to offer free legal assistance to sojourners who are trying to navigate this country's complex immigration process. The immigration law clinic which opened in September at Temple UMC in San Francisco is an example of that. As the JFON website explains, each such clinic "is an opportunity for local congregations to 'open their doors' with a warm and hospitable welcome for newcomers in their midst."
Gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing also enable UMCOR's relationship with Equal Exchange. Equal Exchange promotes justice through fair trade, by supporting an economic system which mirrors Gospel values of cooperation, human dignity, and care for the earth.
Give generously to One Great Hour of Sharing on March 14!
Note: You can always access resources for this, and each of the Special Sundays of The United Methodist Church, directly from the Home Page of the California-Nevada Annual Conference at cnumc.org. Just click on "Special Sundays," found under "Quick Links" on the upper right side of the page.
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