“Faith in Jesus is why I’m involved in this new initiative. It’s not a social program, it’s a gospel program, the way I look it.”
Joseph Johnson, a member of Self-Development of People (SDOP), challenges you to dream big—for all God’s people.
“Jesus told the church, ‘you feed them, you take care of people, you respond to people, you interact with people, you find ways to change lives and ultimately the world,’” he says.
Johnson is part of a new initiative focused on the New Orleans/Delta region. It brings together members of SDOP, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, and the Presbyterian Hunger Program—all of which are already working within the region on other projects—to more effectively help families still suffering nearly a decade after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area. The three ministry areas, all part of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, are supported through the One Great Hour of Sharing offering that is taken up during our Easter Sunday service.
“We wanted to do something with long-term impact and move from disaster to development,” Cynthia White, coordinator of SDOP, says.
“Eventually, development means that people are going to do it for themselves,” says Johnson. “Our projects will give people alternatives to their situation, whatever that might be. This will at, the very least, give people a fighting chance to change their lives for the better.”
The initiative is still in its beginning days, but the three ministry areas are meeting with communitybased partners in the region to identify what is still needed.
“We’re not partnering with third parties,” Johnson says. “These are community-driven projects made up of people who are actually there.”
The question “what could this project be?” will be answered in the coming months by those partners and by your support of One Great Hour of Sharing.
“There are amazing things we could do,” says White. “The people could have access to affordable housing, decent and nutritious food, economic development opportunities, and affordable health care.”
“We’ll have a variety of ways that we’re addressing all the areas of need,” Johnson adds. “We’ll be partnering with different community-based groups to address each of those concerns and do it effectively. That’s our goal.”
The three ministry areas have partnered before for work in West Africa. They were so successful that the 221st General Assembly (2014) commended their efforts and committed the church to develop more opportunities to do the same.
“The church said, ‘We like collaboration and we like the programs working together rather than in silos,” says Johnson. “I’m hoping by doing this we not only effect change in New Orleans, but also affect the giving, because this is what the church has said it wants.”
There are several ways to give to OGHS…
Text OGHS to 20222 to give $10 (data and message rates apply)
Give Easter Sunday at Central Presbyterian Church.