Presbyterian Giving Catalog connects grateful donors with world’s greatest needs
With many hands-on volunteer service opportunities and most mission trips still largely on hold because of the pandemic, Presbyterians need only let their fingers — and their imagination — do the walking, straight through the new Presbyterian Giving Catalog in order to reach out and touch people’s lives.
“This little Catalog is a gateway to so many great teaching, learning and mission opportunities,” said the Rev. Jon H. Reinink, associate pastor for Congregational Care and Growth at First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, Missouri. “The power to make a significant and lasting impact on people and communities around the world can be found on every page.”
Now in its eighth, record-breaking year, the Presbyterian Giving Catalog — which is available both in print and online, in English, Spanish and Korean — is filled with a wide variety of gifts that provide real and positive impact around the world, including aid for refugees, access to clean water and the help to end hunger.
“I don’t really remember exactly when I first got started with the Catalog,” said Lucy Janjigian, a well-known Presbyterian artist, hunger action advocate and peacemaker who regularly supports Presbyterian mission by donating specially chosen Catalog items to both honor and inspire her loved ones. “I enjoy these things. I especially like when you see a picture of the project and you see where it’s going.”
The new catalog, which has started to arrive in mailboxes this month, builds on the momentum created by the previous editions. Since it debuted in 2013, nearly 57,000 gifts have been given by congregations and individuals through the Presbyterian Giving Catalog.
“This past week, I received copy of the new catalog in the mail,” said Susan Powers, a member of the Mission Committee at Oak Grove Presbyterian Church in Bloomington, Minnesota. “My first glance at the picture on the cover made me immediately think of the familiar statement, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ and that is certainly the feeling I got as I continued looking at page after page of these beautiful catalog photos. This entire catalog is certainly a witness to our responsibility as followers of Jesus as well as, if not better than, a lot of written words.”
The catalog offers a total of 44 unique gift options, which are organized into seven categories of need and interest: kits and tools; relief and assistance; water; empowerment of women and girls; livestock; education and formation; and agriculture. Its pages contain everything from farming tools for a family in the developing world to a deep rock well, suitable for those parts of the world where clean water is only found hundreds of feet below the Earth’s surface.
Each section also features a heartfelt prayer written by thankful supporters of the catalog.
“’Prayer changes things’ has been stenciled, stitched or carved into thousands of craft products a person can purchase,” said Bryce Wiebe, director of the Presbyterian Giving Catalog. “The Presbyterian Giving Catalog believes that prayer changes things, and that prayer takes many forms. We believe that each gift is a prayer, and we believe that each prayer is a gift.”
Every year, the catalog reviews its offerings in order to be more responsive to the world’s needs. New items in the current edition are a tiller and land tenure training and protection. The latter is designed to help farming families ensure retention of their inherited land in the face of adversity, including land-grabbing by private companies or family members.
Because the most popular gift item continues to be the family of chickens, this year’s Catalog will continue to promote the Coop Club, which was introduced in Fall 2020. Whenever donors sign up to give an egg a day for a year or a family of chickens each month, they will receive a welcome package with fun surprises to celebrate their generosity, along with information about the impact chickens have on families in need of a sustainable source of food and income.
Another new activity, Threads of Connection — for which an instructional guide and templates will soon be available — invites congregations to create a beautiful quilt together, proving once again that individuals can do more together than anyone can do alone.
Also new this year is a tool to help donors notify their loved ones and friends that they have made a gift in their honor. A link, which will be provided in every gift confirmation email, can be used to create a personalized e-card that can be scheduled to send on any day the donor chooses. For those who prefer paper cards, ordering and on-demand printing are still available as options.
The Giving Catalog also offers church leaders a variety of practical tools to use in organizing fundraisers and generating enthusiasm around making a collective difference as a congregation. Ongoing activities such as the increasingly popular Links of Love offer churches an easy and effective way to host an Alternative Giving Market. A downloadable video demonstrates just how easy it is to use Links of Love to organize a festive holiday activity.
At Oak Grove Presbyterian Church, Powers said that the Mission Committee is purposeful in its effort to serve those in need locally, regionally and internationally.
“Every December since 2016, we have used the Giving Catalog as an opportunity for our church community to do just that at our Christmas Market Place,” said Powers, who also serves as co-chair of the committee-sponsored Christmas Market Place. “This year we will be doing so once again. Thank you, Presbyterian Mission, for giving us this opportunity to once again be grateful givers.”
Now is the time to unite with thousands of others using the Presbyterian Giving Catalog to support the ministries closest to their hearts: feeding the hungry, comforting the brokenhearted and sharing our faith with young and old. Give today by clicking here.
This was published for Presbyterian News Service on September 30, 2021.