New York Congregation Serves God’s Children Both Far and Near
Retaining 40% of the Pentecost Offering
You probably know that a gift to the Pentecost Offering helps the church encourage, develop, and support its young people while also addressing the needs of at-risk children. What you might not know is that 40% of the Pentecost offering can be retained by individual congregations wanting to make an impact in the lives of young people within their own community. The remaining 60% is used to support Young Adult Volunteers, Ministries with Youth, and education and advocacy for Children-at-Risk.
So how do churches discern where to use their 40% retained from the Pentecost Offering? Some congregations select programs working in their local communities, while others choose programs that, while close to their hearts, serve children further away. For Bethany Presbyterian Church in Huntington Station, NY, they choose both, allocating their 40% to serve young people both far and near.
Empowering Young Men of Color
Bethany Presbyterian chose to locally support The W.A.N.T.E.D. Project, an organization the congregation has been supporting for a number of years. Started by Rev. Kymberly Clemons-Jones of Valley Stream Presbyterian Church, the W.A.N.T.E.D. Project is local within the Presbytery of Long Island. After her son was assaulted while walking home from school, Rev. Clemons-Jones realized there needed to be an avenue for young men of color men to equip them with the tools they need to feel more confident and engage their community in a positive way. In a society where teen violence and gang involvement is prevalent, this project is designed to ensure young men of color feel Worthy, Accountable, Named, Thankful, Empowered, and Determined (WANTED).
Providing School Uniforms
On an international level, Bethany Presbyterian donated the second portion of their offering to Richmond Primary School in Jamaica, West Indies, to make uniforms for lower-income students. In Jamaica, children can only attend school if they wear the proper uniform, which for many struggling families is not a priority; therefore, many Jamaican children are uneducated. This is an issue that hits close to home for Bethany Presbyterian as an estimated 25% of its members come from Jamaica, West Indies. The congregation chose to support this particular school because two church members went through this school, and their grandmother even served as principal.
Supporting God’s Children
The need to equip and embolden our young people is a priority for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and we are encouraged to see congregations such as Bethany Presbyterian Church take this matter to heart and engage in the offerings in such a way that God’s children both locally and internationally are positively impacted.
Where does your congregation’s Pentecost Offering go? Ask your pastor or a member of your congregation’s Session to see if they have discerned a ministry. Celebrate that ministry and pray for it as you prepare your gift for the Offering. If there is still an opportunity to identify a worthy cause, think creatively of ways this Offering can support the Church by supporting God’s children locally and/or internationally. Start by looking at some things that other congregations have supported on page 6 of the Leader’s Guide and brainstorm with members of your church. Let us know how it goes by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org! We love hearing about and celebrating the ways the Special Offerings build up the Kingdom!
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When we all do a little,
it adds up to a lot.
By giving to the Pentecost Offering, your congregation participates in helping our children, youth, and young adults grow up to proclaim with the Psalmist, "O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds."