April 4, 2008

1509 Church News--13th Sabbath Offerings

New Record Set for 13th Sabbath Offerings 
BY HANS OLSON, Communication Projects Manager, Office of Adventist Mission

capThe Adventist Church saw a 10.4 percent increase in Thirteenth Sabbath Offerings last year, according to figures released by the General Conference. This continues a trend started two years ago when mission giving kept up with inflation for the first time in a decade.

Gary Krause, director of the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission, says there are many factors that account for this growth* but overall he believes that "when Seventh-day Adventists are convinced there's a need, they respond generously."

In 2007, Adventists around the world gave a record US$8.9 million to 13th Sabbath Offerings--donations collected in church-based Bible study classes every thirteenth week since 1921. Twenty-five percent of these offerings, or US$2.23 million, will help fund some 70 different projects in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. The remainder of the offering supports overseas mission work such as cross-cultural missionaries, construction of new churches, school operations, medical work, and large city evangelism.
"Over the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church the mission offering has sent thousands of dedicated missionaries around the globe," says Homer Trecartin, Adventist Mission's planning director. "It has also enabled the [world church] to bolster areas of the world where the church was weak or non-existent."
Just last year Adventists supported a variety of projects on three continents. Among these was a vocational school and student center at Nile Union Academy just outside Cairo, Egypt. This educational center is one of only two Adventist institutions in the country. Other key projects included an evangelistic outreach project in Geneva, Switzerland, construction at an Adventist hospital in Cameroon and churches for existing congregations in six different West African nations.
"The special projects supported by the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering are so much more than just a school or a church or a hospital," says Charlotte Ishkanian, Adventist Mission Magazine editor. "Each project presents a specific evangelistic potential to draw people to Christ."                                                      --ANN

* One factor in this equation may be the decreasing value of the U.S. dollar. – Editors