Dear Friends in Christ,
We are entering a season of thanksgiving and giving. Our thoughts often turn to those closest to us — family, friends, neighbors, local folks — but as connectional people, we also seek to practice our faith in relationships that go far beyond the local setting.
Some scientists have come up with the “butterfly effect” to describe the ways in which very remote events can have significant impacts in the world. A butterfly flaps a wing in the Amazon, and this is connected to flash floods in Alabama.The world is a vast and wonderfully interconnected set of systems that exceed our understanding.
When God works for the good in all circumstances, as St. Paul reminds us in Romans 8, it is often by urging those who are open to acting in small, seemingly imperceptible ways to help achieve a good that God is offering us. When we attend to this urging, God’s will is carried out; when we fail to listen, God’s movement for the good is frustrated.
In nearly all our churches, we face financial challenges — often related to demographic issues and missional exhaustion. We may see the payment of mission shares as the last thing to pay, if we have enough funds. We look to local needs and despair of having impacts farther afield. But this ignores the butterfly effect and the amazing power of God to mobilize resources for the good in our hometowns, churches and all around the globe.
Our Bishop’s call to find 10 persons in each congregation who will contribute the equivalent of $3 per day or $180 before the close of the year is a call to trust the amazing power of God to achieve great things through small gestures of the willing.
This harkens back to the pennies collected by Sunday School children that went to build and support major Methodist hospitals a century ago, the health and school kits we assemble for folks around the globe and many other ways that those of us who may never travel very far can touch and heal lives around the globe.
The Conference Council on Finance and Administration joins the Cabinet and Bishop in urging you to make the small sacrifices needed to fund our mission shares during the closing months of our fiscal year, so …
- students can attend historically black colleges, Africa University, and theological schools in the U.S.,
- our ethnic churches can continue to receive vital support from the general church,
- our camps can continue to transform lives of our young people,
- our general agencies can continue to advocate for justice for marginalized communities along with the many other programs that seek to right injustices in the U.S. and around the globe.
Please make your checks out to your local church and designate the money for mission shares. Ask your treasurer or financial secretary to keep track of these special gifts to see how your individual acts of generosity and sacrifice add up. Then, after the close of the year, we will be able to all see how the flap of a butterfly wing has brought goodness where we thought impossible.
Conference Council on Finance and Administration
Rev. Ralph W Howe, Chair