One Great Hour of Sharing Helps UMCOR Change Lives
March 16, 2006
The house on Little River Road is still on its pad, unmoved by the water that rushed in from two directions in a Bayou La Batre, Ala., neighborhood. The roof had been partially dislodged by the high winds of Hurricane Katrina that blew through this coastal town last August.
Inside, everything Gwen Landry had worked for was lost. Today, thanks to United Methodist action, Landry has a new lavender bedroom, a brilliant yellow kitchen, fresh carpeting and a new roof.
"I never thought there were that many good people left in the world," Landry said of the United Methodist support.
In Sudan, United Methodists are also providing seeds and tools to help Angelina - last name unavailable - to ensure that her family of young children, living in a South Darfur displaced persons camp, has an income and enough food to eat. And in Indonesia, United Methodists are helping families regain their homes and restore their incomes after the deadly Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami.
These changed lives are possible because United Methodist generosity enables the United Methodist Committee on Relief - the aid agency of the church - to offer a humanitarian hand. The denomination's One Great Hour of Sharing offering, an annual collection by local churches, is a primary way in which money is raised for the agency. This year's offering is March 26.
Designated gifts provide the Sheetrock, boats and seeds. Undesignated gifts to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering provide UMCOR with the funds it takes to administer these and hundreds of other programs throughout the world.
The proceeds from this special Sunday collection, usually celebrated during Lent, benefit UMCOR directly. One Great Hour of Sharing donations guarantee that UMCOR "directs every dime of every donation into recovery and relief efforts," explained the Rev. Paul Dirdak, UMCOR director.
That's because the offering pays for administrative costs. No deductions for costs like electricity, home office staff salaries, office rent or fund raising come off the top of any designated donation. In 2005, offering gifts totaled more than $3.27 million.
Offering gifts over and above those used to cover administrative costs are channeled where they're most needed-to assist the most vulnerable people whose need is greatest.
Donations to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering also assist UMCOR programs that have not been fully funded through designated Advance gifts. In addition, United Methodists' donations often become the springboard for additional funding.
UMCOR receives no World Service funds, Dirdak noted.
"The One Great Hour of Sharing offering helps United Methodists through UMCOR transform lives," he said. "It is critical to our ability to administer humanitarian service for however long it takes survivors to regain a steady hold on life. We hope United Methodists will give generously when the offering plate comes their way."