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Growing up with Gracie

226th General Assembly comes together around the beloved mascot, iconic fish banks, and 75 years of One Great Hour of Sharing

by Emily Enders Odom, Mission Communications | Special to Presbyterian News Service

General Assembly nametags often take on the personality of the wearer. (Photo courtesy of Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri)

LOUISVILLE — When Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri learned that the 226th General Assembly of the PC(USA) would be celebrating the 75th anniversary of One Great Hour of Sharing — complete with a limited edition, enamel pin featuring Gracie, the Offering’s beloved mascot —  she didn’t want to miss out.

“I love Gracie!” exclaimed Cintrón-Olivieri, sporting her swag in Salt Lake City. “She brings back such fond memories of my childhood.”

But it isn’t just Gracie that Cintrón-Olivieri loves.

The co-moderator of the 223rd General Assembly (2018) and regional liaison for the Caribbean — along with her husband, the Rev. José Manuel Capella-Pratts — loves not only Gracie, but the critically important causes the colorful fish represents.

Growing up in the church in Puerto Rico as one of a long line of Presbyterians, Cintrón-Olivieri always looked forward to receiving her annual fish bank, in which she proudly collected coins for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program, and Self-Development of People, the three programs supported by One Great Hour of Sharing.

As one who came from a long line of Presbyterians, Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri always looked forward to receiving her fish bank. (Photo courtesy of Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri)

“One Great Hour of Sharing is the single largest way that Presbyterians come together to serve individuals and communities in need,” said the Rev. Wilson Kennedy, associate director for Special Offerings and Appeals for the PC(USA). “We were proud to debut our anniversary video and invite Assembly participants to provide people with safety, sustenance and hope by marking this special anniversary with a gift of $75 in support of causes enacted by the General Assembly.”

And, not surprisingly, Presbyterians were quick — and generous — in their response.

As a result of the anniversary appeal, Special Offerings received nearly 30 online gifts and a generous $750 check from the Synod of Lakes and Prairies.

“After I read about the 75th anniversary for OGHS, I got on it right away and asked one of our standing committees if they would approve $750 from their budget for the anniversary fundraiser,” said Ruling Elder Elona Street-Stewart, Synod of Lakes and Prairies executive and co-moderator of the 224th General Assembly (2020) of the PC(USA). “I also consulted with staff. Soon after, we had agreement all around and a check for $750 was sent. Glad to express how much OGHS — PDA, Hunger and SDOP — has blessed our synod area.”

It’s not too late to make a gift of $75! Join the PC(USA) today in the single largest way Presbyterians come together every year to work for a better world!

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