March 27, 2014
At the New Hampshire district leadership event last Saturday, laity and clergy heard good news from the Rev. Ken Sloan, Director of Stewardship for the General Board of Discipleship. He reported that United Methodists gave $6.2 billion in 2012. That’s an average of $121 million each Sunday. Praise God! Most of those dollars support local ministry and mission, while the rest make up the global reach our denomination has in transforming the world with Christ’s love. It’s another reminder of the power we have when we come together for a common mission.
This Sunday, United Methodists around the world will go above and beyond our regular giving to extend the reach still further. One Great Hour of Sharing (one of 6 special Sunday offerings throughout the year) is our opportunity to ensure the amazing work of our UM Committee on Relief (UMCOR) continues to stretch to all the places where people and communities are in crisis. We usually hear about UMCOR when there has been a natural disaster or other humanitarian crisis. Whenever we respond to those calls for offering, 100% of our gift goes directly to aid. Not one cent is spent on administrative costs. So…how do the staff get paid, the equipment and the building costs for the UMCOR offices, the printing costs and maintenance of the website that helps spread the word, the business management costs for processing our gifts? That is all covered by this one special offering each year during Lent called “One Great Hour of Sharing.”
Some of you have found creative ways to engage your congregation in preparing for this special offering. Others will simply include an offering envelope in each bulletin this Sunday (materials including posters, envelopes and worship materials are all free to you, including shipping!). If your church is not planning for OGHS this week, you can plan to observe it any Sunday. And, if you are not planning to be in worship this Sunday, you can always make a gift online and give credit to your local church.
The work of UMCOR includes rebuilding homes and communities, and restoring hope in the most devastated places in the U.S. and around the world. At the same time, UMCOR is also focused on global development work, including programs of health, sanitation, poverty, sustainable agriculture, nutrition, and food security.
You can be involved in the work of UMCOR beyond your financial contributions by creating relief kits for distribution. The current supply of kits is critically low. We will collect kits at the Annual Conference in June. All the instructions are outlined on the UMCOR website.
We are a generous people and we have so much to share. Let us celebrate the gifts and the opportunities we have to be the hands and feet of Christ at home and far away.
Connected in Christ,
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View Erica's blog any time at www.neumc.org/vine