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5 Ways to Engage Your Faith Community Around Organ Donation

It takes one person to spark conversation about organ, eye and tissue donation and inspire others in their communities to register. Did you know all major faith communities support organ, eye and tissue donation?

Faith communities across the nation will come together for the National Donor Sabbath (the weekend of November 13 – 15, 2020) to share the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation.

If you are not able to participate during the National Donor Sabbath, we encourage you to set aside an additional time for you to discuss organ, eye and tissue donation with your congregation. Free materials are available year-round and can be requested at any time.  

Listed below are a few ideas that might work in your place of worship to help raise awareness about this life-saving mission.  

#1 Share your connection to donation with your congregation. 

  • Testimony: Allow a 2-3 minute testimonial from someone whose life has been touched by organ, eye or tissue donation, either from your congregation or a LifeSource Donate Life Ambassador. Include the topic of organ, eye and tissue donation in adult or youth education classes, Sunday School classes or at your next blood drive or health fair. 
  • Write an Article or Letter: Write a letter to the editor of your local paper about your support for donation. Include an article in the church newsletter about organ donation. 

#2 Recognize donor families and transplant recipients in your congregation. 

  • Hold a candle-lighting or a unity sand ceremony before, during, or after your worship service. Remember organ and tissue donors with candlelight vigils or other remembrance ceremonies.
  • Purchase flowers for your services in memory of those who have donated and/or in honor of those who have received a life-saving transplant. 
  • Ask for those who have been affected by organ and tissue donation to please stand during a sermon. Ask for a moment of silence to honor those who gave, on behalf of those who received, and with hope for those who continue to wait. 
  • Ring the bell at your house of worship 22 times in honor of those who die each day in the U.S. while waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Organize a prayer breakfast to educate congregants about donation. 
  • Share stories and pictures of those touched by organ and tissue donation as well as educational information in bulletins and newsletters. 

#3 Talk Donation: Create opportunity for more conversation 

  • Ask permission to distribute information and materials before, during, or after services. 
  • Host an organ and tissue donor registry table. This table can be set up during services as well as community events, enabling your congregation to make an educated and informed decision. LifeSource volunteers are available to distribute materials and assist with donor registration. 
  • Offer to lead a discussion or bible study focusing on donation. 
  • For those who feel less comfortable presenting for a long period of time, simply arrange to “drop by” the adult education forums, youth groups, and children’s classes to speak briefly about your story and the life-saving gift of donation. Contact LifeSource to have a volunteer/staff member touched by donation speak briefly at any of these opportunities. 
  • If your congregation offers coffee and treats after worship services, offer to host this fellowship time and distribute donation information in this informal setting. 

#4 Incorporate a message of donation during service. 

  • Include a prayer for all of the individuals currently waiting for a transplant and all of the donors who have so generously shared the gift of life with others. You could also devote a sermon or scripture reading to this current health issue and share your religion’s views concerning organ, eye and tissue donation with your members. 
  • If your community offers the opportunity for public prayer, offer a prayer during this time for those who have given the gift of life through donation and/or those who have received that gift. 

#5 Provide educational resources. 

  • Design a bulletin board or display focused on organ, eye and tissue donation for a public area of your house of worship. 
  • Display materials or create a Donation Display Board. Include a donation message on your house of worship’s outdoor message board. You could also display posters about organ, eye and tissue donation on your bulletin boards. 
  • Use flyers as bulletin inserts: Include LifeSource flyers in your church bulletin or include a supportive statement about donation in your printed bulletin. 
  • Distribute Materials: Make informational brochures available and/or distribute green wristbands to congregation members. 

For more information about how to engage your faith community during National Donor Sabbath and beyond, check out the resources below.