Most churches teach regularly on financial stewardship and giving -- it’s an essential spiritual discipline, as well as the lifeblood of any congregation.
For three days in mid-November, faith communities throughout the United States will join to focus awareness and encouragement on a different sort of gift -- The Gift of Life -- during National Donor Sabbath, two weekends prior to Thanksgiving.
During National Donor Sabbath, faith leaders join with local organ procurement organizations such as ARORA, governmental agencies like the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and each other to encourage organ and tissue donation.
Many donor families lean heavily on their faith and spirituality to comfort them about their loss of a loved one. Some recipients, struggle with a sense of guilt for having received a life-saving organ transplant following the death of their donor. Some turn to a higher power for understanding. All major religions in the U.S. support organ donation as the ultimate act of charity and self-sacrifice.
Catholics view organ and tissue donation as an act of charity, love and self-sacrifice; organ and tissue donation is morally and ethically acceptable. Pope Francis has said, “Organ donation is a testimony of love for our neighbor.”
National Donor Sabbath provides an opportunity for faith communities to share their views and join in the conversation.
At ARORA, we encourage Arkansas’ faith leaders to consider ways they can join and foster the conversation. We have assembled a page of useful resources at https://www.arora.org/NDS, and I’d like to share a few of these simple, actionable ideas to grow The Gift of Life in Arkansas, paraphrased from the comprehensive resource guide on our website:
Becoming an organ and tissue donor can be an act of faith. It expresses belief about the sanctity and importance of life, about the need to care for one another, about fundamental tenets. This Nov. 13-15, we encourage you and your community of faith to explore The Gift of Life during the National Donor Sabbath. For extensive resources and connections to our people, please visit arora.org/nds.
Alan Cochran is president and executive director of ARORA, the agency charged with managing donation and tissue recovery for most of Arkansas. ARORA’s work facilitates some 500 organ transplants and tens of thousands of tissue and eye transplants every year. Reach him .
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