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Ohio church plans $1.5 million 'miracle offering'

Ginghamsburg Church, a United Methodist congregation in Tipp City, Ohio, provides humanitarian relief to refugees in Darfur through its Sudan Project.
Refugees in Darfur receive humanitarian relief from the Sudan Project, funded by Ginghamsburg Church, a United Methodist congregation in Tipp City, Ohio.
UMNS photos courtesy of Ginghamsburg Church.

By United Methodist News Service*
Nov. 28, 2007 | TIPP CITY, Ohio (UMNS)

A United Methodist church is challenging its members and partner schools, businesses and churches to raise $1.5 million during the Christmas season for relief work in Sudan.

From one bag of seed donated by the United Methodist Committee on Relief, this Sudanese farmer harvests 15 bags of peanuts.
One bag of seed donated by UMCOR yields 15 bags of peanuts for a Sudanese farmer.


For its fourth "Christmas miracle offering," Ginghamsburg Church in Tipp City is asking that people contribute the same amount of money that they intend to spend celebrating Christmas with family and friends.

The $1.5 million target almost would equal what the church already has invested in The Sudan Project. The ministry provides humanitarian relief to refugees in Darfur, where an estimated 300,000 people have died since 2003 as a result of civil unrest, lack of food and disease.

With the $1.8 million raised so far, Ginghamsburg is partnering on the project with the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Work over the past two years includes developing a sustainable agriculture project, a five-year child development/protection program and a four-year safe water initiative.

To date, the child development program has trained 200 teachers, built or rehabilitated 100 schools, and enrolled 11,000 students. The sustainable agricultural project is feeding 65,000 people. By the close of 2010, a safe water and sanitation initiative will provide water to nearly a quarter of a million Sudanese.

The Ginghamsburg congregation and UMCOR already have provided $1.8 million to aid refugees in Sudan.
The Ginghamsburg congregation and UMCOR already have provided $1.8 million to aid refugees in Sudan.
Celebrations planned

During the weekend of Dec. 1-2, Sashi Chanda, an UMCOR project leader in the Sudan, and the Rev. Sam Dixon, UMCOR’s chief executive, will participate in five worship celebrations at Ginghamsburg and update worshipers on the project and the Darfur situation.

Those celebrations will be held at 5 and 7 p.m. Dec. 1 and at 9, 10:15 and 11:30 a.m. Dec. 2 on the Ginghamsburg main campus at 6759 South County Road 25A in Tipp City. Slater Armstrong, a Nashville, Tenn.-based Christian recording artist, will perform.

Ginghamsburg is hosting an informal reception at 12:45 p.m. on Dec. 2 in The Avenue student center on the Ginghamsburg main campus, including a question-and-answer session with the UMCOR staff. The public is invited to all events.

Money raised from this year’s offering will continue the current commitments toward the child development and safe water programs, as well as expand the agricultural project to an additional 2,000 households and train and deploy health care workers for refugees living in internally displaced persons camps.

Ginghamsburg, with 1,300 members and an average weekly attendance of about 4,500, has been taking up a Christmas miracle offering for Sudan since 2004.

"Sacrificial giving has transformed our faith community, and our great hope is that other churches will be encouraged to focus on taking the church into the world rather than only attempting to coax the world into the church," said Karen P. Smith, who oversees the church's global initiatives.

For more information on donating to The Sudan Project, visit http://ginghamsburg.org/getinvolved/.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

Video RESOURCES

The Sudan Project  

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Resources

The Sudan Project

Ginghamsburg Church

UMCOR


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