Pete Feil • Derry Member

Editor’s Note: On the first Thursday of each month, the eNews feature article highlights the mission focus for that month. In March we’re lifting up the One Great Hour of Sharing offering.

The One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) offering is an integral part of Derry’s and the Presbyterian Church USA’s (PCUSA) observance of the season of Lent. This year’s offering is being received through Easter Sunday, April 4. 

Millions of people in the world lack access to sustainable food sources, clean water and sanitation, adequate housing, education, opportunity, and hope. The OGHS Offering is shared almost equally among three PCUSA programs: Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA); Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP); and Self-development of People (SDOP). Each program works in different ways to remedy these deficiencies in the United States and around the world and to  provide people with safety, sustenance, and hope. 

Because of COVID-19, many of the following programs have undergone modifications to use a virtual platform to provide support:   

PRESBYTERIAN DISASTER ASSISTANCE (PDA) is well-known for its rapid response to natural and international disasters as it supplies funds to help initiate the recovery process. In recent years this has been readily apparent following hurricanes, the California wildfires, typhoons, and several earthquakes. This year efforts have been directed at building up local support in order to respond more rapidly to an emergency situation. PDA is also involved in programs supporting the refugee crisis in Syria, South Sudan, and the southern US border.

PRESBYTERIAN HUNGER PROGRAM (PHP) works 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. They seek to supply better and more nutritional foods, secure loans for income-producing projects, tree planting, and establish wells and sanitation systems.    

SELF-DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLE (SDOP) works in partnership with people in economically poor areas in the United States and around the world. The aim is to invest in communities responding to their experiences of oppression, poverty and injustice, and helping them develop solutions to their particular problems in areas such as cooperatives and workers’ rights, farming, skills development, and immigration/refugee issues.  

Your gifts to the OGHS Offering will be shared equally with the 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. Similar to the efforts of PCUSA, BTC is building houses in areas struck by hurricanes and earthquakes. With the BTC model, new homeowners are encouraged to pay into the local community fund, which can then be used by the community at their discretion for selected improvement projects. In other areas, planting and maintaining fruit trees is part of the payback. This past year the northeast coast of Nicaragua was struck by three Category 4/5 hurricanes, causing roof loss and extensive crop damage. Derry’s continued support of BTC will be directed at home repairs and planting plantain as a cash-crop for next year. Unfortunately, last year and this year, we are unable to travel with BTC because of the pandemic.

Our Mission and Peace Committee has set a goal of $15,000 for this year’s OGHS. You may give online or by check made out to Derry Presbyterian Church and notated OGHS. Taken together, your contributions to the OGHS Offering will enable both PCUSA and BTC to assist many people with the opportunity to improve their quality of life. Thank you for your generous support!