What is Gift Day?
At Sunnyside we are committed to giving as a way of expressing God’s love in word and deed. Once a year, we invite one off donations, to a ‘Gift Day’ collection. This is then donated to charities locally, nationally and internationally. Often these charities have personal links to Sunnyside, or have church members actively involved. Traditionally the date for Gift Day has been a Sunday in early summer, but in 2019, the date was moved back to its historical position in late September, where it coincides with St Michael & All Angels Day, and with the traditional Harvest season, in which we celebrate God’s great goodness to us. This year, 2021, Gift Day is planned for Sunday 26th September.
History of Gift Day
Gift Day began in 1984, as a replacement for an annual overseas missions sale. The objective for Gift Day was to raise about 25% of our annual income and with a clear message that, unlike any of the church’s regular giving, all the money raised would all be given away. Back then, Sunnyside operated without a staff team, which grew during the 1990’s and the 2000’s, but even with the increase in our expenditure, a very successful Gift day in 2019 still accounted for over 18% of our annual income.
The Gift Day Teams
There are two sections; international outreach work managed by the Gift Day International Group (GDI), and UK based outreach work managed by the Gift Day UK Group (GDUK).
Peter Hyatt is the chair of the GDI group.
Penny Harrison is the chair of the GDUK group.
(Above: Janet Ivin working for Asha overseas, Bex Henderson, a beneficiary of a Sunnyside Go Grant in 2010 for a mission to Uganda with Jenga, whom we now support., a Dacorum Emergency Night Shelter delivery van)
The Charities supported by Sunnyside Church
The charities supported are reviewed every year and during the year by both the GDI and GDUK groups with donation recommendations being made to the Mission Action Group (MAG) and to the PCC once donations have been totalled and Gift Aid claimed. The aim is to assist registered charities based on their needs as seen by Sunnyside Church. The charities considered will either have a specific Christian remit, or have aims and working methods which are a practical outworking of Christian Faith. Often the charities chosen are those in which church members are actively involved. 60% of the monies raised on Gift Day are allocated to GDI for charities operating in overseas mission, with 40% being distributed by GDUK to charities locally and in the UK. You can see a full list of the charities we’re linked with by looking at our Friends & Connections.
In 2020, 29 different charities were thankful for our support through Gift Day. We also set aside funding for overseas Go Grants to encourage church members to undertake short-term trips in support of mission work overseas (see below for more details).
The charities have been selected by both groups following careful discussion and prayer.
We feel these are the most appropriate charities we should support at this time. But our consideration should never stop, so next year we may have different charities. Everyone at Sunnyside is encouraged to come forward with suggestions for charities we could or should support particularly if they or others are actively involved with that organisation.
How to join in
Everyone at Sunnyside is invited to be part of Gift Day. We recommend prayerfully considering how much you can give; any gift, whether large or small is important. It is about coming together as a church family to give to this special outreach. Details on how you can give and the charities we will be supporting this year are available in our publication which is available to download below:
GO grants are made to encourage people from Sunnyside, young or not so young, to work overseas during holiday or year-out periods. The work would be with a recognised Christian organisation and to be undertaking a specific role or task which will contribute to the local community overseas. Applications will be treated on merit, considering the financial situation of the individual involved.
Pray for our partners
We can all take time to pray for the organisations and individuals that we support through Gift Day. Giving financially is one way of being involved, but prayer is something that costs nothing! Many of our charities and the individuals who work with them circulate prayer requests and/or prayer letters. If you would like to hear more regularly from any of the charities we support, please do ask the GDI/GDUK chairs.
Thank you for all your support
Gift Day is hugely appreciated by each of the charities we support and we have many letters each year thanking us for our support and informing us how our donations really make a difference to people’s lives.
Mission Innovation Fund
In 2017, the PCC established a Mission Innovation Fund. Its purpose is to enable the church to undertake outreach initiatives for which no provision has been made in the budget. These initiatives are to support the work of our staff and / or to encourage church members who have ideas for outreach by providing ‘seed corn’ funding.