Statement from Special Offerings

January 12, 2015

Louisville

We appreciate the passionate outpouring of concern about the new attention-getting campaign for One Great Hour of Sharing. You spoke. We are listening. We plan to revise the campaign. 

We apologize for the offense and pain caused by our effort to promote the One Great Hour of Sharing offering. We strive for excellence in our work, and are deeply sorry when we miss the mark. 

The One Great Hour of Sharing has a long and important tradition with the Presbyterian Church in meeting basic human needs. Those needs are greater than ever and so it is important that the promotion for this offering is done well. 

We will solicit suggestions and input from a variety of Presbyterians as we make this revision. The few hundred churches that have received the offering materials have been asked not to use them. They will be sent new materials. 

Our promotional resources should reflect our deep respect for all of God’s people, the mission of the gospel, and the life-changing ministries supported by Special Offerings. The mission of the One Great Hour of Sharing offering is and always will be to partner with those working to create a more just society. 

Samuel Locke
Director of Special Offerings
Presbyterian Mission Agency

  1. Sam And all others. Listen. Don't go outside to hear. Listen. There are voices of wisdom that can help us cut across Culture to Truth! Forget the PC stuff. Stick to the Gospel!

    by Bill Coop

    January 14, 2015

  2. Thank you for listening and taking action on this important issue. Blessings in your ministry.

    by José E. Muñiz Agrón

    January 14, 2015

  3. Thank you

    by Cheryl Hartman

    January 13, 2015

  4. We appreciate the resources available in promoting One Great Hour of Sharing, especially personal narrations and videos. Lately we have found things too edgy and getting in the way of the message and the plea we make for the offering. Different is not better; just tell the story, make the case for the need; provide proof of the effectiveness of the offering and leave it at that. People really will get it without the need for edgy communication!

    by Jan Scott, Covenant Church, West Des Moines, IA

    January 13, 2015

  5. Open Letter to the Presbyterian Mission Agency regarding the 2015 Special Offerings Ad Campaign, which addresses this announcement, can be seen here: http://bit.ly/1xiKM6a I am glad to see the ad campaign has been pulled and that churches who have received these materials have been asked not to use them. As has been said by many, criticism against the 2015 OS marketing materials was never met to discourage churches and individuals from giving to the necessary OGHS offering.

    by Honna Eichler (George)

    January 13, 2015

  6. Thankful that the leadership of the church is listening and modeling courage to admit mistakes and humility. The dialogue needs to continue so we learn from our mistakes and change the culture that allowed this to happen in the first place.

    by Magdalena Garcia

    January 13, 2015

  7. I'm glad that the Agency is doing what is in the best interests of the seeming majority of people in the PC(USA), but personally I'm grieving that we haven't moved to respect all people regardless of race. The comments left about the 2015 posters on the announcement's webpage miss the realities that the posters represent. We can't hide race or ethnicity and claim that we're representing it in a better light when the disparity is why we are interested as Christians. We want to give hope to the hopeless, and racial barriers exist in very physical ways. We can't simply replace the ads with other people and neglect the skin tone which either put them in that position of social neglect or that is geographically appropriate. I appreciated the candor of the ads as well as the way it brought up social justice issues like the deaths of young black men due to poor police judgment as well as the overpolicing of black communities in urban centers. The ad campaign included a young woman of color needing assistance to get into college. It also brought up that giving doesn't just happen from caucasians to the world, but from any Presbyterian, an Asian man, a black woman, an older white adult, and a single woman. I believe that some of the content had adult themes, like alcoholism, gangs, which would be helpful to urban churches, but would be inappropriate if placed around young children. That said I'm happy for your first campaign and I will save it as a time when at least an elected body in my church made a bold statement about gender equality, race, social barriers to education, and worked it into a campaign that shook at our very core. I hope in the future people will understand that racism is not about racial stereotypes but how we treat individuals of color who do exist in impoverished, socially stigmatized, and dangerous situations in our world. Love of Christ be with you. I'm sure God will accept this and others, whatever it takes to feed his children. Peace

    by Rachel Notor

    January 12, 2015

  8. Thank you for listening.

    by Barbara Vaughan

    January 12, 2015

  9. There will always be missed steps made on any issue, after all we are a diverse church striving to be better witnesses in the work of His church. I pray for better understanding within our diverse cultures and pray for unity as our work does not stop because of disagreements. I give thanks for the work that lies ahead and pray that placing differences aside we continue in unity and in a manner that is God honoring and being always mindfull of those under represented giving the honor and the glory to who allows to make mistakes. Thanks for the good work that is done through this Great Offering.

    by Mario Bolanos

    January 12, 2015

  10. Blessings to all. I have been seeing the comments made with respect to the ad campaign for the One-Great-Hour-Of-Sharing. I felt the need to communicate to you all that I found nothing offensive with the ad. In fact, I found it interesting and thought provoking. I am a 39-year-old Peruvian American. I feel the ad was representative of today's pressing issues. It is ashame that nowadays you literally have to feel you are walking on egg shells in fear of being misunderstood and misinterpreted. I feel it was an excellent ad and am saddened that it is going to waste.

    by Karen Castro

    January 12, 2015

  11. Yes, well done and thank you.! All my years of ministry, I looked forward to the creativity and quality of the Special Offering posters, etc. Grateful that you seek to continue such high standards!

    by Elizabeth Baker-Smith

    January 12, 2015

  12. Thank you for listening and taking action to change the materials. I hope that as you look into creating new material that your office will also be having some important discussions regarding how the mark was so badly missed. This discussion needs to take place so that this kind of situation does not occur again.

    by Rev. Dr. Michael Landon

    January 12, 2015

  13. I am grateful for the apology and it is welcomed. I think is an step in the right direction, but is not enough. We need to ask why this happened? In my experience interacting with the center in the past as former Moderator of the National Hispanic/Latino Caucus and chair of the Racial Cross Caucus I noticed that a major issue with the way of operating is the isolation and lack of communication between the different offices who have programmatic responsibilities, and that the voices of racial ethnic people who work there are ignored or silenced. Why rely only on the advice of a secular publicity agency, instead of convening leaders from the different racial ethnic constituencies for consultation? I am sure the associates at the women's and racial ethnic ministries unit would have plenty of names to suggest, this is why we have those associates there, this is why we have Advocacy Committees mandated by past General Assemblies, like the Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns (ACREC), the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns (ACWC), the Women of Color Joint Working Group, the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) and the National Caucuses and Councils representing people of color and new immigrants. I also wonder who will be held accountable for the production of this materials that already reached hundreds of churches, with an underline racist, message that affirms the white superiority culture that permeates many parts of our denomination. What team or person choose the specific pictures and the messages? Who finally sing off on the printing and making it public? Whoever was responsible it need to be held accountable for the lack of wisdom and cultural competency a serious and recurrent issue with many senior staffers at the Presbyterian Center. I welcome a sincere an open conversation about this underline culture of white superiority, this case is only the type of the iceberg, a profound change is needed at the Presbyterian center. I hope Linda Valentine can use this issue as a teachable moment, senior staff really needs cultural awareness, cultural proficiency, and that is not learned in a one day workshop, that managers can organize to check a box, it is a way of living and experiencing the world as the Gospel of Christ call us to live, a church as Paul vision described to us in Galatians 3:28. "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus". Or in Colossians 3: 11 ""a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all". My prayers for PCUSA leadership as we together work for better ways of expressing and acting as the beloved community we are called to be. Elder. Ricardo Moreno San Gabriel Presbytery Member of the Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns.

    by Ricardo Moreno

    January 12, 2015

  14. Well done, Sam! You listened. You owned up to a well-intentioned, but mis-step. And took action to correct it. Thank you!

    by Linda Jaberg

    January 12, 2015

  15. Thank you Samuel for listening the voice of many people. I am hoping the new material will be more sensitive to people of color.

    by Mauricio Chacon

    January 12, 2015