May 18, 2015
On Pentecost Sunday, May 24, at worship, we will have the opportunity to make a special offering. This offering is one of the four that we give during the church year, and Pentecost is an especially important time for this important witness.
Pentecost is a major day in the church calendar; it comes 50 days after Easter and marks the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, helping the to fulfill their mission to “preach the Gospel to all nations.” For this reason, Pentecost is also called “the birthday of the Church.” So our gifts on this day remind us that we are all “being church” together and that “church” had a beginning - - at Pentecost.
As usual, we divide the offering between two recipients. This year, the Community Service and Social Action Board (CSSA) will give half of the offering to the Strengthen the Church initiative of the United Church of Christ. These funds support new UCC church starts; awaken and support new ideas in existing churches, and develop spiritual lives in our youth and young adults. For example, the UCC helped a local congregation in Arizona develop a sanctuary team to provide shelter and protection to immigrants facing unjust action.
The other half of the funds will go to the Seattle Young People's Project (SYPP), a youth-led, adult-supported social justice organization that empowers youth to express themselves and to take action on the issues that affect their lives. This 23-year-old organization has worked on education issues such as advocating multi-cultural curricula, improving responses to sexual harassment in schools, and urging cancellation or changes to programs that deny rights to homeless youth.
This Pentecost gift challenges us as people of faith to care for others in the world with its injustice, need and brokenness. Please give as generously as you can.
-Caroline Becker and Sue Jones, Community Service and Social Action Board