Engaging the children of your congregation with the four churchwide Special Offerings has never been easier or more important, whether you are engaging them in-person or virtually. There are numerous ways children can connect with One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS), including the engagement placemat and fish coin banks that often arrive in your standing orders (we hear many of you are sending these home with families in “Lent bags”). However, were you aware there are numerous resources available online to engage young people with this Offering?
This year’s curriculum was written by Charlotte Nance-Allbright, a Certified Christian Educator who serves as the Director of Christian Formation and Education at First Presbyterian Church of Burlington, North Carolina. This includes an At-Home Resource for families to use each week during Lent as well as a Multi-Age Children’s Lesson designed for ages 5-10 with activities Pre-K might enjoy. Together, children and their families will:
- Discover more about the One Great Hour of Sharing Special Offering as Advocates in Training and learn skills of Seeing, Learning, Listening and Action.
- Explore Isaiah 58, discern how the text motivates their faithful living, and dive deep into what it means to be repairers of the breach.
- Engage in a Call to Action by writing letters to or drawing pictures for individuals or communities helped by the OGHS Special Offering.
Charlotte also wrote the Children’s Message which connects young people with the impact of their gifts to the One Great Hour of Sharing, which is often collected on Palm Sunday and/or Easter Sunday.
As so many of you know, since 2006, we have celebrated OGHS with a story about our giving fish, Gracie, and her friends. In this year’s Gracie story, written by Dr. Kathy Dawson, Benton Family Associate Professor of Christian Education at Columbia Theological Seminary, Gracie and her friends discover something new in the coral reef that shows how we are all connected through our care for each other. Thought-provoking questions follow the story for both younger and older children. We also have an audio recording available that can be incorporated into a children’s sermon or even a bed-time story.
We are excited to be partnering with A Sanctified Art LLC. A Sanctified Art will be creating covers for the second bulletin insert for each of the four Special Offerings as well as coloring sheets. We invite you to use this “Fuel for Justice” coloring page in the lead up to One Great Hour of Sharing, maybe even posting a virtual art gallery of everyone’s masterpieces on your website or social media page! Or you can take the coloring page as inspiration for window art or sidewalk chalk art at home.
Finally, we also have our Jerry Can Curriculum, a resource from the Presbyterian Giving Catalog, which is available in 1 and 5 sessions. This includes lessons on disaster response and activities that show how children can be involved with prayer and generosity to make a difference in the lives of people in need. While this curriculum can be used year-round, your congregation might find Lent a meaningful time to talk about the one common denominator in all disasters around the world: the need for clean water to survive.
If you use any of our materials in promoting the 2021 One Great Hour of Sharing, we invite you to share feedback on how it was received. We are also available to answer any questions you might have about these or any other Special Offerings resource. Feel free to reach out to us at 800-728-7228 ext. 5047 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If we all do a little, it adds up to a lot!
Please join us in prayer.
God of all creation. We look around this world and see people and communities in need and ask “Why?” Sometimes we forget to ask “How can we help?” Help us to see our neighbors in need. Open our ears to hear their stories and to learn of their needs. Give us courage to answer the call to action to love and serve. Thank you for the One Great Hour of Sharing and the opportunity to give so that we can love you and love our neighbors. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
P.S. – If you don’t have many youth under 18 in your congregation, you can get creative and engage your more seasoned members in any of the activities above! Fun and learning are for Christians of every age!