As part of the Gathering, we lift up offerings in three distinct ways, In-kind offering, Sunday Morning offering, and special offering. Each of these offerings support unique missions and values of the ELCA and the Gathering.
The Gathering has recognized the need to lift up literacy in Houston. Building a foundation of literacy starts before entering Kindergarten. Students who read at home become strong writers, critical thinkers, and more successful students than those who do not. Houston Independent School District estimates that 74% of the students in the district come from families who struggle to provide books for their children. This means the students begin each school year at a disadvantage.
In joining the Gathering's Blast Off for Books campaign, you will help ensure bright futures for Houston’s students. The books you donate will be distributed at community book fairs, camps and other events around the city as part of the Gathering’s Service Learning experience. By putting books in the hand’s of Houston’s economically disadvantaged students, you can help change lives.
Sunday offering will be split between three ministries, local, domestic, and global.
As a thank you for being the host synod for the Gathering, we would like to gift a third of our Sunday offering to the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod. This synod has hosted us many times, in 2009 and 2012 for our Gatherings in New Orleans, and we were so lucky to work with the Synod for the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering as we come together in Houston.
Prison Congregations of America (PCA) is a ministry through which Christian congregations are established in prisons around the country. There are currently over 30 worshipping communities which follow the PCA Model of Prison Ministry, in which the "members" are people who are incarcerated, whose congregation is led by a clergy person from the outside who is trained and accountable to the sponsoring denomination. The congregation, though denominational in sponsorship, is ecumenical, open to all who wish to participate. The pastor is supported by surrounding outside congregations, who also take turns worshiping with the inside group. The strong inside-outside relationship is reinvigorating churches all over America.
We recognize that being the church together, means being the church outside of the United States of America. With that in mind, we are raising up Global New Starts as a recipient of a third of the Sunday morning offering with the hope that we can continue to do God's work all around the world.