The History of One Great Hour of Sharing
Fifty years ago, during World War II and immediately following, Protestant churches made appeals for relief and reconstruction. In 1946, Bishop Henry Knox Sherrill, newly—elected Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, set a goal of one million dollars per year for the Presiding Bishop's Fund for World Relief. On nationwide radio, he challenged members to raise “one million dollars in one hour.” His impassioned challenge worked.
During the first three years, Episcopalians raised $3.8 million. In 1950, the title “One Great Hour of Sharing” was used for the first time. A logo depicting a church steeple clock with hands fixed at eleven was also adopted. A series of six fifteen—minute radio programs was produced to promote the effort, but problems with radio stations brought disappointing results. The next year, the name of the offering was changed to “One Great Time of Sharing.” In 1952, the name was changed back to One Great Hour of Sharing, and has remained so ever since. By 1954, the announced goal for all giving to One Great Hour of Sharing reached eight million dollars.
From the beginning this has been an ecumenical effort. As denominations changed and merged, One Great Hour of Sharing has varied from eight to twenty—nine participating communions. Currently, the One Great Hour of Sharing committee officially comprises nine Christian denominations. In various ways, all work in cooperation with Church World Service, the relief, development and refugee assistance arm of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A .
The purpose of One Great Hour of Sharing has remained the same: to collect special gifts to assist those in need. Today, projects are under way in more than 100 countries, including the United States and Canada. In the 1990s, receipts have exceeded $20 million annually. While specific allocations differ in each denomination, all use their One Great Hour of Sharing funds to make possible disaster relief, refugee assistance, and development aid.
Neighborhood House Association, established in 1896, is dedicated to providing a Safe Haven with comprehensive services that meet the social, emotional and material needs of individuals and families from infancy to the elderly.
The common goal of all services is to enhance the quality of life and foster independence of those served. Neighborhood House was founded as a settlement house. It began with a church service in September of 1896. Poor immigrants could find refuge and receive many of life's necessities. A 1910 census report showed that 2/3 of the residents in the Eighth Ward (the South Side) were either foreign born or of foreign parentage. Fourteen different languages were spoken and immigrants had settled in this area to find their freedom and fortune. Neighborhood House will continue to provide the core comprehensive services that began in 1896. We will remain in constant communication with our citizens, service recipients, and community leaders.
We have the unique ability to continually assess the needs of the community and to promptly initiate specialized comprehensive programs to meet identified needs.
At Neighborhood House, we believe:
• That all lives are enriched by participation in a compassionate and supportive community
• That the enduring strength of our Neighborhood Community relies on cultivating a spirit of neighborliness and mutual respect among diverse populations
• That Neighborhood House should work to bring groups and individuals together as an inclusive community
• That families require lifelines of support and benefit from community services and programs responsive to their needs
• That children and their families from all socioeconomic backgrounds should have equal access to quality early childhood programs
• That children and teens should have a safe environment for their development in order to foster positive social Interactions
• That seniors, including the homebound elderly, need and deserve to be valued as individuals who are important to the fabric of community life
• That an effective settlement house must continually evolve and adapt to the ever changing needs of its community.
The church focuses on a unique mission each month that serves different aspects of our society.