National Donor Sabbath

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 13, 2011

Contact:  Anastasia Darwish, Executive Director        
American Transplant Foundation
(303) 757-0959

Westminster church and others observe National Donor Sabbath

For the first time ever, churches in seven Colorado cities will discuss both living and deceased organ donation during the national event

(DENVER, CO) – It is a little-known fact that all major religions and denominations in the US support organ donation.  To spread this message, eight churches in seven Colorado cities will participate in National Donor Sabbath on Sunday, November 13.

Observed annually two weekends before Thanksgiving, faith leaders across the nation discuss organ donation with their congregations.  This year, Colorado will become the first state ever to focus the message of National Donor Sabbath on living organ donation instead of deceased donation.

Participating groups in Colorado plan to spread the message that living organ donation is important because although two-thirds of Coloradans are registered organ donors, the transplant waiting list continues to grow, and someone in our state dies every three days while on the waiting list.

Living organ donation is an issue of special significance for Westminster’s Crossing Church of the Nazarene, one of the participating churches.  Earlier this year, on Valentine’s Day, Pastor David Baca donated a kidney to friend and fellow parishioner Chuck Nelson.

“Being a living donor has been the most humbling experience of my life,” said Baca.  “Donating a kidney has been the epitome of my obedience to Jesus Christ, but it does not even compare to what He did for the world.”

But Baca has done more than just donating his kidney.  Knowing that so many other people are waiting for a transplant, he said, “As a minister, if I can use my position to raise awareness about organ donation, then I will certainly do so.”  Baca and the Crossing Church’s Lead Pastor Brian Wiesinger plan to play a video about National Donor Sabbath and Baca’s experiences during their services on Sunday.

“When I observe the relationship between Pastor David and Chuck, all I can think of are the words found in John 15: 12-14 – ‘Love each other in the same way I have loved you.  There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.’”  said Wiesinger.  “This is obviously a command, and Pastor David took it to heart – and kidney.  His friendship with Chuck and his love for God meant that it was a no-brainer when a need arose.”

Baca said, “My church family asks quite often how I’m feeling since the surgery, nine months ago.  I tell them that aside from being a little lighter on the left side, I’ve never felt better, and it’s true.  Chuck is doing fantastic and he is his old self again.  My health has never been better and my follow up exams have all come back perfect.”

American Transplant Foundation encourages people of all faiths to think about both living and deceased organ donation from their own faith’s perspective.

“This is the first time living donation has been the focus of National Donor Sabbath,” said Anastasia Darwish, executive director of American Transplant Foundation.  “This message is so important to save lives, and we hope that next year, fifty religious organizations in Colorado will participate.”

The groups participating this year are:

Augustana Lutheran Church – Denver, CO

Burns Memorial United Methodist Church – Aurora, CO

The Crossing Church of the Nazarene – Westminster, CO

Fellowship of the Rockies – Rifle, CO

First Presbyterian Church – Glenwood Springs, CO

First United Methodist Church – Glenwood Springs, CO

Green Mountain United Methodist Church – Lakewood, CO

The Orchard Church at Carbondale – Carbondale, CO

The American Transplant Foundation is a national nonprofit organization that works to increase the donation of organs and tissue to reduce the growing list of men, women and children who are awaiting a lifesaving transplant.


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