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Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network > News & Views > News Blog > National Donor Sabbath 2014: Finger Lakes Religious Leaders and Congregants Asked to Promote Organ Donation

National Donor Sabbath 2014: Finger Lakes Religious Leaders and Congregants Asked to Promote Organ Donation

September 26th, 2014 by

Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network (FLDRN) has called upon religious leaders and congregants to promote National Donor Sabbath during the weekend of November 14-16, 2014.

In an email message to supporters of organ donation and hospitals, FLDRN executive director Rob Kochik wrote: “All major religions approve of organ, eye and tissue donation as a sacred act of love. During National Donor Sabbath, leaders from many religions, families of donors, transplant recipients and living donors participate in programs to promote life-saving donation.”

Illustrated buttons reflecting symbols of religionsQuoting Maya Angelou, who passed away earlier this year, Mr. Kochik referred to her belief “that each of us comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory.”

Building on Ms. Angelou’s values system, Mr. Kochik stated: “It is my earnest hope that as Donor Sabbath draws near, we can all be inspired by Maya’s unbending belief that human beings, in the image of our God–no matter which religion we follow–can attain noble acts, ‘trailing wisps of glory.'”

Mr. Kochik pointed out that the need for organ donors has never been greater. “Eighteen people die each day in America waiting for a life-saving transplant,” he said.

“Approximately 1,500 New Yorkers have been on the waiting list for five years or longer. Last year, 381 New Yorkers became too sick to remain on the waiting list, and 539 died waiting. Statewide, 22 percent of people in New York State are registered organ donors. Though that number is higher in FLDRN’s service area –30 percent of residents are registered organ donors — the region still trails the national average of 42 percent registered.”


Religious leaders can share the importance of organ donation, as well as eye and tissue donation, with their congregants. FLDRN suggests various ways this can take place:

  • Address the subject in sermons, prayers and homilies
  • Share information through bulletins and newsletters and web communications
  • Hold a prayer breakfast with speakers including local patients and families of donors
  • During funeral services, and with the family’s approval, acknowledge the gifts of donation
  • Promote the importance of enrolling in the New York State Donate Life Registry


  • Donate Life graphicCongregants should inform their religious leader that National Donor Sabbath takes place the weekend of November 14-16 and request that he or she devotes a sermon to organ donation.
  • Worshipers at houses of worship can organize Donor Sabbath Celebrations. They can arrange for a transplant recipient, donor family member or living donor to speak, and distribute handouts. FLDRN can connect them with speakers and provide free handouts.
  • All New Yorkers age 18 and over should enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry. Once they have done so, it is imperative they follow up by having conversations with their families, informing them they have registered to give the Gift of Life and to encourage them to follow in their footsteps.

To arrange a Donor Sabbath program at your house of worship during the weekend of Nov. 14-16, 2014: Email Amy James, Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network’s Community Education Manager or call her at 585-272-4930.


Religion and Organ Donation

More about National Donor Sabbath – and Download Resources Including Sermon Ideas and Newsletter Samples


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