pete feil • chair, mission & peace committee

Editor’s Note: On the first Thursday of each month, the eNews feature article highlights the mission focus for the month. In March we’re lifting up the One Great Hour of Sharing offering. You can also check the Joys & Concerns section of the weekly eNews for a quick reminder of what we’re focusing on this month.

Received during the season of Lent (March 2-April 17), the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) Offering is the single, largest way that, for over 70 years, Presbyterians have come together to work for a better world by advancing the causes of justice, resilience, and sustainability. These efforts of the Presbyterian Church USA to provide relief from natural disasters, food for the hungry, and support for the poor and oppressed are administered through three programs: Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA); Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP); and Self-Development of People (SDOP).

PRESBYTERIAN DISASTER ASSISTANCE (PDA) is  well-known for its rapid response to natural and international disasters by supplying funds to help initiate the recovery process. In recent years this has been readily apparent following Hurricane Ida, tornados in the midwest, California wildfires, typhoons, and several earthquakes. With the pandemic, this year’s efforts have been directed toward providing grants to communities pushed to the margins by COVID-19. PDA is also involved in programs supporting the refugee crises in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan, and the southern US border.

PRESBYTERIAN HUNGER PROGRAM (PHP) partners with various food and farming projects to alleviate poverty, hunger and its causes throughout the world. Some of this is accomplished through providing animals, bees, and seeds, promoting better crop selection and agricultural methods, fair trade practices, and family gardens. They also seek to supply better and more nutritional foods, secure loans for income-producing projects, and address local environmental and labor issues.

SELF-DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLE (SDOP) works in partnership with people in low-income communities in the United States and around the world. The aim is to invest in communities responding to their own challenges of oppression, poverty and injustice, thus helping them to develop solutions to their particular problems in areas such as youth-led activities, disabilities, farming, skills development, and immigration/refugee issues.  

This year our OGHS Offering will be divided equally between PCUSA and Bridges to Community (BTC), the non-profit organization which has coordinated Derry’s trips to Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic for the past 20 years. Following a two-year pandemic hiatus, we will return in June to the Dominican Republic to build a house for a family in need. We will work with the family, local masons, and community members to provide safe and secure housing in this poor area. We’ll also participate in Bible School activities in the afternoon. Under the BTC model, new homeowners are encouraged to pay into their local community fund, which can then be used by the community at their discretion for selected improvement projects. 

The Mission & Peace Committee has set a goal of $18,000 for this year’s OGHS Offering. You may give online or by check made out to Derry Presbyterian Church and notated OGHS, or use envelopes in the pews.  Taken together, your contributions to the OGHS offering will enable both PCUSA and BTC to improve their quality of life for many people. Thank you, Derry, for your generous support!