|March 18 is One Great Hour of Sharing offering|
A UMNS Report
By Linda Beher*
Feb. 23, 2007
Goharik Gevorgyan can now afford to attend school in
Armenia because the United Methodist Committee on Relief helped her
family start a fish-smoking business through its micro-credit program
for women. A UMNS photo by Zavan Khachikyan, UMCOR.
Goharik Gevorgyan lives in rural Yerevan, a “marze,” or province of
Armenia, where interlacing mountain ranges surround her home.
She attends school regularly because her mother now can afford school
fees that were once a constant worry. Thanks to a small-business loan
from a micro-credit program run by the United Methodist Committee on
Relief, Mrs. Gevorgyan operates a fish-smoking business that provides a
UMCOR operates such ministries in Armenia and around the world
because of extra financial support through the annual One Great Hour of
Sharing offering received by United Methodist congregations across the
United States. This year’s special offering will be conducted March 18.
For more than 50 years in the United States, millions of Christians
have joined annually for One Great Hour of Sharing—to share God’s love
through a special offering to help vulnerable people around the world.
This year’s offering is sponsored by Church World Service and nine
Christian denominations, including The United Methodist Church.
Together, the offering supports ministries that help people and
communities suffering from the effects of disaster, conflict or severe
Through United Methodist congregations, One Great Hour of Sharing is a
primary funding source of UMCOR, which does not receive denominational
apportionment or World Service funds. UMCOR is the agency that, in
behalf of The United Methodist Church, brings hope and aid when
catastrophe strikes anywhere in the world.
UMCOR has worked in Armenia since 1994 in response to chronic war,
extreme poverty and natural disasters. Through agency ministries such as
the AREGAK micro-credit program for women, Goharik and children like
her now live with hope.
The word “aregak,” or “sunshine” in Armenian, is an acronym for the
ministry established in 1997 aimed at raising the living standards of
poor women throughout Armenia.
The AREGAK program provides small loans backed by groups of
guarantors selected by the applicants themselves. Before a loan is
granted, the applicant and her financial support group attend training
sessions to ensure success. More than 15,000 clients have built home
businesses, expanded existing enterprises and, most importantly,
transformed hopelessness into hope.
One Great Hour of Sharing donations are essential to UMCOR because
the funds help underwrite the cost of doing business so that 100 percent
of the money donated to a specific UMCOR project goes to that project
and not to home office and administrative costs, according to the Rev.
R. Randy Day, chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Global
Ministries, UMCOR’s parent agency.
“The One Great Hour of Sharing offering on March 18 is a gift of
stability to UMCOR,” said Day. “Our ability to respond and remain until
the job is done is in direct proportion to the generosity of United
Methodists at this time of offering.”
Offering gifts from One Great Hour of Sharing over and above those
used to cover administrative costs are channeled where they are most
needed, Day said. UMCOR’s specialized ministries—responding in disaster,
fighting hunger, alleviating poverty, providing relief supplies around
the world and offering hospitality to immigrants and refugees—all assist
the world’s most vulnerable people.
To learn more about the offering and how to order free resources, visit the UMCOR Web site. To request free leaflets/offering envelopes and posters, visit United Methodist Communications online or call (888) 346-3862.
Those who cannot donate through a local church can send a check,
designated for One Great Hour of Sharing, directly to UMCOR at P.O. Box
9068, New York, NY 10087. Credit card donations can be made by calling
*Beher is communications director for the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
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