As many of you know, Dave and Sharon Horensky issued a challenge to us. Our annual benevolences include donations to OCWM, Bethany Children’s Home, Phoebe Devitt Home and Lancaster Theological Seminary. Last year, we did not send our donations because of financial constraints. This year, the Horenskys matched every dollar donated and to see just how much we are willing to give. As of December 27, $702 was given in the Christmas Offering envelopes. Some of you would have donated to these benevolences without the extra incentive and the receiving organizations are extremely grateful for your continued support. For those who just began giving to the Christmas Offering, the following is a summary of the organizations that benefit from your generosity. OUR BENEVOLENCE OFFERINGS OCWM stands for Our Church’s Wider Mission. Through contributions to OCWM, we provide funds for national and local programs, resources and tools needed to keep local UCC churches strong, effective and growing. We also provide relief through UCC Disaster Ministries, guidance to people who are called to ministry, and print and digital information about our denomination. Bethany Children’s Home provides care and supervision to youth who are at risk or in difficult home situations. They provide shelter and help develop social skills so these children can have a good future. The youth attend local schools for their education and participate in programs at Bethany to expand their abilities. In 2010, Bethany became the first DPW Sanctuary® Certified Agency in Pennsylvania. The Phoebe Devitt Homes are a part of Phoebe Ministries. There are varying degrees of care provided from assisted living to complete dependency. Phoebe is guided by its mission to provide compassionate care to residents of its communities, regardless of their ability to pay. According to the Fall 2015 Phoebe Messenger, “Charitable care is part of Phoebe’s promise to our residents. In 2008, $5.2 million of charitable care was provided to those we serve. Now, only seven years later, that number has nearly tripled to over $14 million.” Through our offerings to Lancaster Theological Seminary we provide money which enables the Seminary to close the gap between tuition revenues and the actual cost of educating a student. Their newest offering is a revised Master of Divinity which has estimated tuition, living expenses and books of $32,000 per student. This new version of the MDiv provides the usual “Day track” for students studying full time and a new “Weekend track” for students pursuing a ministerial degree while still employed, allowing them to balance work and school.

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