Fish Banks are a fun way for children, youth, and families to live out their faith during Lent as they participate in the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) offering. It’s wonderful to know that our coins and dollars will bring relief to people when they are experiencing a crisis. We can be like the boy who gave his loaves and fish (John 6:9-13). God will multiply our gifts!
During Sunday school on Sunday, February 22, have older youth or adults talk about how the One Great Hour of Sharing offering will be used. Students in confirmation class can assist and learn through this process, too. Show pictures of kids and adults around the world who were helped recently through the One Great Hour of Sharing offering. This way, the children can imagine how their coins will be transformed into food and supplies that will bring help and hope to individuals and families in need. Do a craft project of creating coin banks for each child in Sunday school by using recycled materials such as a half and half carton or a jam jar with a slit in the metal lid made by a teacher. Decorate the coin banks like the colorful fish of the original bank pictured above.
Give each child or parent a flyer about the OGHS offering, including the date that your congregation will collect the fish banks. The recommended Sunday is March 15. Bulletin inserts and other informative resources are available for order here: http://www.umcgiving.org/pastors/resources?category=2747. Give friendly reminders closer to the time: in Sunday school, via email during the week to parents, in the newsletter and the bulletin. During worship, have older youth collect the fish banks in baskets and carry them forward with the regular offering. It’s a joy to see the fish banks gathered, as we “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!”
The Rev. Rosanna Anderson (RAnderson@UMCdiscipleship.org) is the Associate Director of Stewardship Ministries for Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church.