Today may not
be your birthday, but in our increasingly diverse society, having
a birthday is something we all have in common. Presbyterian Women
has a birthday celebration, too. In 1922, Hallie Winsborough---the
superintendent of women's work for the Women's Auxiliary of the
Presbyterian Church in the United States---saw need at a girls'
school in Japan and hoped that women would want to support this
great need with financial gifts. For 82 years Presbyterian women
have contributed money for worthwhile causes worldwide. Some
of these gifts and grants make up the Birthday Offering.
The Birthday Offering is one way Presbyterian Women answers
God's call to make a difference in the lives of others. By combining
our resources, participants in Presbyterian Women contribute,
on average, $1,000,000 each year. This year, the Creative Ministries
Offering Committee received applications from 51 worthy projects
and had to narrow that list to no more than five recipients.
The selection process, done by consensus, involved much prayer,
discussion and soul searching.
The Creative Ministries Offering Committee is composed of
nine members---six from the Churchwide Coordinating Team of Presbyterian
Women, including the financial secretary, and three from the
General Assembly Council. Grant recipients must meet the criteria
established by PW and must be accompanied by a written endorsement
of a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) synod or presbytery.
Presbyterian Women asks you to pray for these five exciting,
powerful and life-changing projects, chosen to receive the 2004
Camp Luminaria Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe, a hub of Spanish and Native American cultures, has
a history of poverty and one of the highest drop-out rates for
middle school students in the United States. One of the biggest
gaps in services for this area is the lack of day/evening reporting
programs for youth who are nonviolent, first offenders and whose
offenses do not call for incarceration, but require the youth
to report to someone on a regular basis.
Camp Luminaria will establish such a program---an alternative
to roaming the streets for suspended and expelled middle and
high school students. Their goal is to provide a safe, structured
learning and counseling environment that facilitates a student's
return to regular school classes. Funding of this faith based
start-up program will provide a wide array of services to youth
ages 11--15 and their families. They will receive help in addressing
such issues as behavior, substance abuse, school suspension or
exclusion, and life skill difficulties. Special emphasis will
be placed on building respect among female youth, and providing
the recognition and reliability that nurture both the child and
the child's family as a team.
A luminaria is a traditional Mexican Christmas lantern---usually
a candle set in sand inside a paper bag---used to recall the
route traveled by Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem.
For the program, the luminaria lights the way to a safe haven
for troubled youth and their families in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The Institute for Theological Education of Bahia (ITEBA)
Since 1986, The Institute for Theological Education of Bahia
(ITBEA) has worked ecumenically to develop leaders for churches,
schools and social service agencies in Salvador, Brazil. Accreditation
as a university-level theological seminary by the Brazilian Ministry
of Education is critical to this institution's future, enabling
students---many of whom are poor, young women-to receive federally
funded scholarships. Another benefit of accreditation would be
an increase in enrollment, allowing the seminary to become financially
To meet accreditation requirements, ITEBA must own the physical
facilities for their offices, library and classrooms. Funds received
from the Birthday Offering will allow ITEBA to purchase, remodel
and equip a building, in their effort to meet these and other
Mobile Health Screening
Reaffirming the challenge to all Presbyterians to be "a
community of health and healing at every level and at every location,"*
the National Health Ministries Office is initiating a project
that promotes congregational partnerships and the sharing of
resources among those who are able to develop parish nursing
To this end, a fully equipped medical van will provide preventive
and early detection health screening to women, children and persons
who live in medically underserved communities in the presbyteries
of Mid-Kentucky and Transylvania. The Mobile Health Van will
also be utilized by National Health Ministries for health screenings
at national churchwide events and promoted as a model for Presbyterians
who wish to develop their own mobile health screening program.
Children's Cross Connection USA
In response to God's love, Children's Cross Connection USA brings
children from around the world to the United States for medical
treatment not available to them in their own countries.
Due to a tremendous volunteer network of doctors, hospitals
and host families, the average cost to restore a child's health
is only $2,000. Most of these children have been shunned by their
community because of their physical condition, often the result
of birth defects or cancer. With medical treatment, not only
is a child's health restored, but also her/his self-image is
improved, along with the chance for a better life.
Children's Cross Connection USA focuses on the whole person,
also providing scholarships for additional education, housing
for children who are homeless and equipment and training so that
a child's parent can become self-sufficient or earn a better
Presbyterian Senior Services Grandparent Family Apartments
Bronx, New York
In 1995, Presbyterian Senior Services (PSS) received a Creative
Ministries grant to help establish a program that provided services
for five minority low-income older adults raising their grandchildren.
Poverty, substance abuse, divorce, violence and AIDS contribute
to the rapid increase in the number of families without parents.
Today the number of families served by PSS has grown to 25.
This Birthday Offering grant will support a new thrust to
this program---the construction of a 50-unit Presbyterian Senior
Services Grandparents Family Apartments. The center will house
a state-of-the-art resource center that will enable PSS to serve
the residents and the surrounding community.
Order from Presbyterian Distribution Services (PDS), 800/524-2612.
Reference item number listed with each item. Cost does not include
shipping and handling, which is 10% of order total, $4.50 minimum,
$60 maximum. There are no shipping and handling charges for free/promotional
Birthday Offering Promotional Materials
Birthday Offering Brochure (min. 25), PWR-04-500
Offering Envelopes (min. 25), PWR-02-501
Bulletin Cover (min. 25), 812" x 11",
PWR-04-502 or 812" x 14", PWR-04-503
Poster (one per church), PWR-04-504
Interpretive Materials (one per church; includes offering
interpretation, worship service, creative ideas, poster interpretation,
reflections and update on past recipients), PWR-04-505
Placemats, $3/pkg. of 25, PWR-04-506
Book: Messages of Reconciliation and Hope: 75 Years
of Birthday Offerings 19221997 by Catherine Stewart Vaughn,
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The above special resource appeared in the November/December
issue of Horizons.
Call 800/ 524-2612 to subscribe or Order