Today in the Mission Yearbook

Minute for Mission: One Great Hour of Sharing/Easter

Striving toward the promise of Christ’s Resurrection

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Blessings to you on this Easter Sunday. As you celebrate Christ’s Resurrection, may you experience the hope of eternal life and lean into the promise of a world where God’s reign will be fully realized.

As heirs of Resurrection hope, Presbyterians are striving for a world that comes closer to God’s goal for humanity and all creation. Last year in Holyoke, Massachusetts, the life of a young woman was transformed because the world took a step toward God’s reign. People like you who support One Great Hour of Sharing helped bring about positive change in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in the life of Olga Pedraza.

Olga was looking forward to a new life and career, but her chances seemed to be fading. Jobs are scarce in Holyoke, a town of 40,000 people filled with abandoned factories that once fueled the local economy. The job search is especially tough for people like Olga who have a prison record. After serving time on a drug-related charge and beating drug addiction, she completed training to help others overcome substance abuse. Olga was excited to start a new career as a counselor in which she could draw from her own experience to aid in others’ recovery.

But the job required a driver’s license, which Olga had didn’t have. Her driving privileges had been revoked upon her conviction, and to have them restored, the state demanded more than $4,500, money she had no realistic hope of getting. However, rather than plunge into despair, she went to work to remove this burden  for herself and other people. She joined Neighbor to Neighbor, an organization that works with other groups to promote investment in jobs and education rather than prison. This coalition began a campaign called Jobs Not Jails that strives to change public policy to decrease incarceration rates and help reintegrate ex-offenders into society. Not long after Olga got involved, the coalition scored a major legislative victory: on March 20, 2016, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a law repealing automatic suspension of driving privileges for most drug offenses and abolishing the fine that accompanied it. Now, finally, Olga  works as a counselor.

“More than 7,000 lives are being transformed, thanks partly to a grant from the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People,” says Lena Entin, an organizer with Neighbor to Neighbor. “This victory means that stories like Olga’s will be repeated over and over again.” Self-Development of People (SDOP) works with grassroots groups in the United States and internationally that seek to change structures perpetuating poverty, oppression and injustice. Gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing enable SDOP to participate in the empowerment of people like Olga.

Pat Cole, communications specialist with the Presbyterian Mission Agency

Today’s Focus:  One Great Hour of Sharing/Easter

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Delvin Braaksma, PMA                                                                  
Daniel Braden, PPC

Let us pray:

God of Resurrection, we give thanks that you raised Jesus from the dead and that you have raised us to walk in newness of life. May we be faithful witnesses to the heavenly reign that Jesus came to establish, and may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, April 16, 2017, the Resurrection of the Lord (Easter Day) (Year A)

Easter Day Readings:
First Reading Acts 10:34-43
Or alternate First Reading Jeremiah 31:1-6
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
Second Reading Colossians 3:1-4
Or alternate Second Reading Acts 10:34-43
Gospel John 20:1-18
Or alternate Gospel Matthew 28:1-10
Easter Evening Readings:
First Reading Isaiah 25:6-9
Psalm 114:1-8
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8
Gospel Luke 24:13-49