Pete Feil • Derry Member

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. 

Millions of people around the world lack adequate housing, clean water, sustainable food sources, education, and the opportunity to manage their own affairs. For 75 years the Presbyterian Church (USA) has come together in the season of Lent to support the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) and to help improve the lives of people and communities struggling to overcome these challenges. The OGHS Offering at Derry is shared equally with three programs administered by PCUSA and Bridges to Community (BTC), a non-profit organization with long ties to Derry, who are building homes in the Dominican Republic. 

The three PCUSA programs supported by OGHS are: Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Self-Development of People and the Presbyterian Hunger Program

PRESBYTERIAN DISASTER ASSISTANCE (PDA) is well-known for its rapid response to national and international disasters by supplying funds to help initiate the recovery process. Through its long-term partnerships with several Middle East church councils, PDA has been able to respond to the recent earthquakes in Syria and Turkey and humanitarian needs in the Ukraine and Israel and Palestine.  

PRESBYTERIAN HUNGER PROGRAM (PHP) is working to alleviate hunger and eliminate the root causes. Some of this is accomplished through providing animals, bees, and seeds, promoting better crop selection and agricultural methods, fair trade practices, and family gardens. PHP also seeks to supply better and more nutritional foods, secure loans for income-producing projects, tree planting, establish wells for clean water, and sanitation systems, as well as addressing labor and environmental pollution issues. 

SELF-DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLE (SDOP) works in partnership with people in low-income communities in the United States and around the world to overcome oppression and injustice. 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.  

Derry has been involved with Bridges to Community since its founding more than 30 years ago, in building new homes in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic and providing Bible school activities for the community. In June we will return to the Dominican Republic to help build a house for a needy family. By working with the family, local masons, and community members, a safe and secure house can be completed in about one week. Additionally, with 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 and Peace Committee has set a goal of $19,000 for this year’s OGHS Offering. You may give online or by check payable to Derry Church and notated OGHS. Place it in one of the OGHS envelopes available in the pew racks, and drop the envelope in an offering box. Taken together, your contributions to the OGHS Offering, with our goal of $19,000, will enable both PCUSA and BTC to assist many needy people with the opportunity to improve their quality of life. Thank you, Derry, for your generous support!