Churches encouraged to celebrate SDOP and its partners on March 12 and year-round
by Darla Carter | Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE — From helping women to start businesses in Panama to amplifying the voices of unhoused people in California, partners of the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People are making an impact worth celebrating.
The national and international work of SDOP and its partners will be front and center on March 12 when churches across the denomination celebrate SDOP Sunday. To prepare them, a new resource/yearbook has been released to help observe the big day and understand the role of SDOP, which is part of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
“SDOP is a ministry that affirms God’s concern for humankind,” according to the resource. “We are Presbyterians and ecumenical partners, dissatisfied with poverty and oppression, united in faith and action through sharing, confronting and enabling. We participate in the empowerment of economically poor, oppressed and disadvantaged people by seeking to change the structures that perpetuate poverty, oppression and injustice.”
Some of those efforts are highlighted in the online resource/yearbook, which includes a sermon, hymns, profiles of partner organizations, and information on how congregations can help SDOP fulfill its mission by making gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing, promoting SDOP-related work and becoming a part of that work.
“Through this resource, we invite you to recognize the ways that the Lord is inviting us to be proactive against all forms of poverty in living out the witness of Jesus Christ by continuing to support the communities who directly benefit because of your witness and from the work of SDOP,” the Rev. Dr. Alonzo Johnson, SDOP’s coordinator, says in the resource’s welcome message. “Whether your worship experience is physical, virtual or both, this resource is designed for you to share in worship the news of SDOP’s dynamic work, witness and stories.”
The resource — which is intended to be used year-round — features several SDOP partners, including the Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee, the Afghan Cattle Cooperative and Black Women’s Blueprint, just to name a few. It also encourages readers to “recognize the work of SDOP as a valuable resource to help you and your ministries to engage the work of poverty eradication and the ways it intersects with the other areas of focus in the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s Matthew 25 initiative: dismantling racism and building congregational vitality.”
Thanks to SDOP, 12 women received funding to start small businesses as part of a 2019–2021 project led by the Panamanian Women’s Center (CEMP) in collaboration with the Network of Afro-descendant Women of Panama (REMAP).
“The main objective of microenterprises is to obtain economic benefits,” project coordinators Cecilia Moreno of CEMP and Alicia Padmore of REMAP note in the resource. “However, the project also strengthened their self-esteem and was an opportunity for their empowerment and personal growth.”
The resource also features Why Not Prosper, which is comprised of formerly incarcerated women building up other women who’ve experienced incarceration. In the resource, the Rev. Dr. Michelle Simmons, the founder of that group, discusses how the organization has benefited from SDOP’s support.
“The assistance has been invaluable, as it has helped us to hire a coordinator, which facilitates the carrying out of our day-to-day activities,” Simmons said. “Since SDOP is a national organization, it has also helped us to gain credibility through national recognition.”
SDOP notes online, “In lifting up these stories, we pray that they will inspire, encourage and energize you and your congregation to be unified in Christ, engaged in faith and dedicated in your support.”
For more information about SDOP and SDOP Sunday as well as the resource/yearbook and a companion survey, go here.
If you’re interested in participating in SDOP’s next “The Struggle is Real” webinar series on the intersection between poverty and veterans, email email@example.com. The event will begin at 2 p.m. Eastern Time on May 16.
The Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People is one of the Compassion, Peace and Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Its work is made possible by your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing.
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Categories: Matthew 25, Peace & Justice, Special Offerings
Tags: afghan cattle cooperative, black women's blueprint, building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism, matthew 25 invitation, One Great Hour of Sharing, panamanian women's center, Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People, rev. dr. alonzo johnson, sacramento homeless organizing committee, SDOP Sunday, SDOP Sunday Resource and Yearbook, Special Offerings, why not prosper
Ministries: Compassion, Peace and Justice, Matthew 25 in the PC(USA): Join the Movement, Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People, Special Offerings