The United Church of Christ, our covenantal partner in mission and worship, encourages us, along with all the rest of the UCC, to participate in One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) every March. This year our offering will be taken on March 11 (though, as always, donations will be accepted for a week or so following). This offering is not only UCC. In fact it is the largest, oldest multi-denominational offering in the US. Funds generated by this offering are used to support disaster, refugee and development activities around the world.
Here’s a story of how our offering helped a family in Haiti, following the 2016 hurricane season.
Roger Doris and his family built their house in Haiti’s Northwest Department in 1989. It was a traditional mud-and stick house, like so many in Haiti are. In 2000 and 2001, they renovated their home to replace the mud walls with concrete blocks and added a tin roof.
Then Hurricane Matthew hit. As the wind pounded on the house and the rain poured down,
extensive damage was done to Roger’s house. The walls shook and cracked. The wood support columns—which weren’t particularly sturdy to start with—were damaged badly. Overnight, that house was stripped of being a home.
The family still lived there; they had no where else to go. They didn’t now how much longer the house would stand. Their sense of security was gone.
The UCC and Church World Service (another of our partners), through funds from OGHS responded to help Roger and his family build a new house. Roger had training as an iron worker and carpenter, so he teamed up with professional masons to work on the new house. His family provided funds to pay for the new foundation and food for the workers. They also received seeds to plant so that the family would have a food and income source. Now, the family has a house where they can feel safe. The house has a strong foundation and sturdy support columns made with rebar. More than that, everyone has peace of mind. It is truly a home.
Remember, this offering is happening at our church on March 11.