A March 2019 Letter from SDOP Moderator, Rev. Todd Stavrakos

I hope this letter finds you well.

As the church readies itself for another Holy Week and the joy of Easter, I wanted to take a moment and update you on a very important ministry of the PCUSA, the Self Development of People program.

The Self Development of People (SDOP) was formed in 1970 by action of the 182nd General Assembly and the present structure dates to 1987 when the General Assembly merged the SDOP with the Martin Luther King Jr Fund for the Economic Self-Development of Racial/Ethnic People of the former Presbyterian Church in the US. As such, SDOP has become the primary means in which the PCUSA educates itself about and acts on behalf of those struggling with poverty and issues of justice by engaging and supporting community organizations.

On Sunday, April 7th, the denomination celebrates SDOP Sunday, and resources for worship can be found here. As Philadelphia is the poorest city in the United States of America, containing the poorest zip codes in the nation, the need is urgent. In the 300th Celebration, the Presbytery of Philadelphia raised the profile of the levels of poverty and injustice in the region as we focused on the School to Prison Pipeline, but much work needs to be done.

I would ask that you strongly consider doing two things:

  1. Take time on Sunday, April 7th to raise awareness of the SDOP program.
  2. Plan to participate in the One Great Hour of Sharing Special Offering during the Easter season. One third of the offering goes to the Self Development of People.

Over the coming year, the local SDOP committee will be working with the Presbytery leadership to provide workshops, raise awareness of the issue of poverty in our region, and explore additional ways the church can be active in addressing this serious issue.

I thank you for your time and support of the SDOP program. If you have any questions or would like to get more involved, please do not hesitate to contact me, [email protected].

In Christ

Todd Stavrakos
Pastor of Gladwyne Presbyterian Church
Moderator of the SDOP Committee of Presbytery of Philadelphia.

What is SDOP?


Sunday APRIL 7, 2019 is SDOP Sunday