As a congregation of the PC(USA) Lexington Presbyterian supports a selection of programs and educational organizations.
Most members of our church are well acquainted with the "4¢-a-meal" collections which occur at both worship services on the first Sunday of each month, but many of us may have only vague ideas about how this program originated and how the money collected is distributed and used. "4¢-a-meal" programs are grassroots efforts of congregations which originated in 1975 as a response to starvation in Bangladesh. The idea is that everyone can give a little, regardless of income, and collectively over the years the little can make a big difference.
At Lexington Presbyterian Church, we typically collect an average of $475 each month for this offering. 75% is contributed to the PC(USA) Hunger Program and 25% is distributed locally at the end of the year. For the past two years, this local distribution has been 50% to RARA Food Pantry, 25% to Meals on Wheels, and 25% to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.
Here in Lexington we are surrounded with abundance: friends, beauty, jobs and a hearty dinner every evening. We need to look a little deeper to notice need, but it can be seen in the sheer numbers of food requests at the local food bank. The RARA Food Pantry fed 2770 more people in 2008 through November than it did in 2007, an increase of 40% in one year.
There are many members of our congregation who faithfully contribute to this offering each month, while others are more forgetful. How can we become more mindful of this important ministry in difficult economic times? Some families find that a physical collection of coins at mealtimes is a wonderful way to remember those in need. Perhaps you have a dish for the spare change that you empty from your pockets each evening. Or you may wish to write a check designated to the program. Whatever your strategy, we ask you to prayerfully consider how you can participate in this offering each month to help those who have little.
This program is a small first step in the battle against hunger and poverty. Our congregation invites everyone - of all ages - to contribute a few cents at every meal. This simple act is an expression of thanks for what we have received. It is also a commitment to share with others in response to Jesus' command: "You give them something to eat." When we bring our offerings to church on the first Sunday of the month, those coins truly "make a joyful noise unto the Lord" as they are received and dedicated.
The Joy Offering has been a Presbyterian tradition for almost seventy years. The Board of Pensions receives fifty percent of the receipts to fund assistance programs that provide support to retired and active church workers and their spouses and families. The other fifty percent supports Presbyterian-related racial/ethnic education through the National Ministries Division of the General Assembly Council.
We make this offering during the Christmas season.
One Great Hour of Sharing
Since 1949, Presbyterians have joined with millions of other Christians through One Great Hour of Sharing to share God's love with people experiencing need. Our gifts support ministries of disaster response, refugee assistance and resettlement, and community development that help people find safe refuge, start new lives, and work together to strengthen their families and communities.
Recognizing that the hope we have in Christ is lived out in our hope for one another, we respond with gifts that help our sisters and brothers around the world find the hope for a brighter future.
OGHS funds are used for the Presbyterian Hunger Program, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, and Self-Development of People. For more information, visit http://www.pcusa.org/oghs.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance enables congregations and mission partners of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to witness to the healing love of Christ through caring for communities adversely affected by crisis and catastrophic events.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is the emergency and refugee program of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. Its core budget, including staff and administrative costs, is funded through the One Great Hour of Sharing, and its program work is additionally funded through designated gifts.
Massanetta Springs Camp & Conference Center
Since 1922 Massanetta Springs, outside Harrisonburg, VA, has been providing God's people with
welcoming hospitality and a beautiful place for rest, reflection, spiritual growth and renewal. Nestled on 200 acres of woodlands and meadows, our campus and facilities are an idyllic setting for a wide variety of events.
Massanetta is a ministry of the PC(USA) Synod of the Mid-Atlantic, which serves churches located in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia's panhandle, D.C. Maryland and Delaware.
Montreat Conference Center
The Montreat Conference Center, as a mission center of the Presbyterian Church (USA), seeks to glorify God by serving the whole Church of Jesus Christ by calling all God's people to a place set apart for spiritual commitment and renewal, to grow in discipleship, to build relationships, and to prepare one another for Christ's ministry in the world.
A pleasant, scenic 20 minute drive east from Asheville, NC, Montreat Conference Center offers guests a time-honored tradition of friendly, gracious hospitality in a warm and casual setting. A wide variety of meeting, housing, dining, and recreational facilities comfortably accommodates individuals as well as gatherings ranging in size from large conferences to private retreats and reunions.
Union Presbyterian Seminary
Union Presbyterian Seminary offers graduate-level theological education as an institution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Founded in 1812, Union has campuses in Richmond, VA, and Charlotte, NC. Students may also pursue the M.A.C.E. degree through the unique Extended Campus Program where most of the learning takes place at home. The seminary offers nine degrees for those preparing for a wide variety of callings in ministry.