#GivingTuesday on Nov. 30 celebrates the collective power of Presbyterian generosity

Eight-hour, multi-site, livestreamed event offers Presbyterians an opportunity to engage in a global day of giving

By Emily Enders Odom, Mission Engagement & Support | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Forrest and Barb Palmer (Contributed photo)

LOUISVILLE — As the Church continues to adjust to the ever-changing habits and practices of pandemic life — online and hybrid worship, virtual offering plates, Zoom and “drive-by” fellowship — one thing has remained constant.

Presbyterian generosity.

Across the PC(USA) landscape in a year like no other, budget surpluses and increasing receipts were not the exception but rather the rule as individuals and congregations generously supported the mission, the communities and the relationships that matter to them the most.

That this trend is expected to continue bodes well for #GivingTuesday, which falls this year on Nov. 30.

#GivingTuesday, which was originally launched in 2012 as a philanthropic response to the consumer-driven holidays of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, will once again underscore the many ways in which Presbyterians are living out the call to be a Matthew 25 church.

“In thinking about the hurt and needs of those around us, it would be hard not to give and to join with others on #GivingTuesday in doing what we can,” said Forrest Palmer and his wife, Barb, of Dunbar, West Virginia. Palmer, who retired six years ago as interim executive presbyter of the Presbytery of West Virginia, currently teaches and preaches and serves on the National Response Team for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) and West Virginia’s Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

“As a Matthew 25 church, we are called to serve our Lord in addressing poverty, hunger and racism, which helps us be a more vital and faithful church,” said the Palmers.

Ever since the founding of #GivingTuesday, nonprofits, small businesses, corporations, schools and faith-based organizations all over the world have mobilized to celebrate this global day of giving held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

“This is a day that asks everyone, regardless of faith or creed, to take a moment to turn away from greed or our retirement portfolio and to consider a gift that benefits others,” said the Rev. Rosemary C. Mitchell, senior director for the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Mission Engagement and Support. “On #GivingTuesday, the entire charitable world joins together to invite everyone to ‘give back.’”

The PC(USA), which first joined the #GivingTuesday movement in 2014, has witnessed gifts on the day grow with each ensuing year, both in terms of dollars raised and in number of donors. Of even more significance for the PC(USA), however, was the appeal of last year’s online event as well as the overall increase in the total number of #GivingTuesday donors.

“We have learned over the last year and a half that in the challenges are also unique opportunities,” said the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. “Last year’s first virtual Giving Tuesday was a success, and we look forward to new ways to engage our constituents this year across the virtual platform.”

As in 2020, a multi-agency, cross-departmental staff team — which also includes representation from the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board and the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly — has planned an eight-hour livestream designed to entertain, inform and encourage greater giving.

Inspired once again by telethons of the past, the PC(USA) will be staging a virtual event with the theme, “We are the Church, together,” which will be hosted from four different PC(USA) sites across the country. A complete schedule and more information on the host locations will be published in the coming weeks.

“We are entering a time of great change in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),” said the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the PC(USA). “It has required pastors, elders and congregations to adapt to a new way of being church. #Giving Tuesday is our opportunity to help the church move forward to meet the needs of our communities across the world.”

For graphics and text promoting #GivingTuesday 2021, click here.

Join the PC(USA) in responding to a world in need! Give now.

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