Every year, The Salvation Army holds a special appeal within its churches (corps) to support work in developing countries: the ‘Self Denial Appeal’. This year’s campaign launches on Sunday 20 July, and runs over a six week period, culminating in Self Denial Sunday on 24 August. That’s the date we bring our gifts, which are then sent to International Headquarters in London for use around the world.
The campaign is promoted over a number of weeks to allow people time to make a considered decision about their giving and to learn more about situations indicative of where their money will be put to work. This year’s appeal is titled ‘planting seeds of hope’, and the spotlight is on The Salvation Army’s work and partnership projects in Tanzania, China, Bolivia and Bangladesh.
Money given in the Self Denial Appeal translates into practical and spiritual mission tools for Salvationists in some very poor locations. It also speaks of the faith we have in being part of something bigger than ourselves, that will accomplish results way bigger than we could every dream of. The theme of ‘planting seeds of hope’ reflects the scriptures where, in 1 Corinthians 3:1-9, Paul likens the work of God to a field; ‘someone plants, someone else waters, but it is God who gives the harvest’. Paul is writing here about the value of each person’s contribution to the work of God. No part is bigger or smaller than any other, no part of greater or lesser importance.
The words ‘self denial’ reflect the principal of making sacrifices out of our relative wealth for the sake of others. In a promotion video clip Commissioners Janine & Robert Donaldson remind us that, ‘this is an invitation to give in order to help those serving in situations of desperate poverty, where there are so many physical, emotional and spiritual needs. We are called not to give just out of our surplus—that’s far too easy—we want to deny ourselves something. That’s what Jesus is calling us to do’.
Knowing that this appeal is coming around each year, many Salvationists will wisely and generously budget well in advance, allowing them to give so that others can serve. Thinking globally, while acting locally.
Watch this year’s Self Denial Appeal videos on The Salvation Army's YouTube channel.
• For more on the Self Denial Appeal, or to find out how you can contribute, contact David Smith.