March 20 – UMCOR Sunday (Next Week)
A Moment for Mission
“Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Isaiah 55:1, NRSV
Next week, United Methodists will celebrate UMCOR Sunday, an opportunity to share the goodness of life with those who hurt.
“In the United States, the United Methodist Committee on Relief works with each conference’s disaster-response ministry to provide financial assistance through emergency grant funding, as requested by the bishops of the affected conferences,” said Roland Fernandes, general secretary of Global Ministries and UMCOR. After Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana, Mississippi and the Northeast last August and September, conference disaster-response coordinators received solidarity grants to help with immediate needs, providing food, water, cleaning supplies and other forms of emergency assistance.
The agency also offered assessment and training to affected conferences, fostering connections among UMCOR’s large network of nonprofit partners and volunteers.
Other domestic disasters benefiting from UMCOR’s outreach in 2021 included torrential rains and flash flooding in Tennessee, Hurricane Henri in New England, Tropical Storm Fred in North Carolina, the Surfside apartment building collapse in Florida, and flooding, winter storms and wildfires in the western United States.
Now, perhaps more than ever, we are called to extend healing and hope that can guide us to becoming a new creation in Christ. Through our gifts and support, we partner with God and God’s people to strengthen Christ’s loving presence in a hurting world.
Your gifts on UMCOR Sunday are essential! Concentrating our resources to support shared ministries equips us to step with faithful determination into a grace-filled new beginning.
No matter where you live, you probably have experienced or heard about disasters in your community or somewhere else. When earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and other disasters happen, people need immediate assistance such as food, water and cleaning supplies. Later, they will need help rebuilding homes and schools. When people cannot raise crops or livestock because of drought, UMCOR also steps in, offering help and hope.
In our church, the United Methodist Committee on Relief – “UMCOR” for short – is ready to serve whenever and wherever disaster strikes.
Next week, we will celebrate UMCOR Sunday. Through a special offering, we will help UMCOR do its important job – at home or far away. Our gifts become the hands of Jesus, reaching out to neighbors in need.
Loving God, you give hope and healing to those who hunger and thirst. Bless the far-reaching ministries of the United Methodist Committee on Relief. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Third Sunday in Lent — Patient and merciful God, we bring our offerings humbly on this day, hoping they will bring fruit to the ministry of your church on earth. We ourselves have not always set our priorities on bearing good fruit, and yet you are a patient gardener. You have sent saints into our midst to make the soil richer, yet like the stubborn fig tree, good fruit has been scarce. May our journey this Lenten season feed our spirits to bring forth the fruit you desire. We pray in the name of our savior and redeemer, Jesus the Christ. Amen. (Luke 13:1-9)
During 2021, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, the denomination’s humanitarian relief and recovery organization, responded to hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, catastrophic flooding, earthquakes, political unrest, wildfires and volcanoes. UMCOR, under the direction of the denomination’s international mission agency, the General Board of Global Ministries, also worked between major disaster events to help communities prepare for disasters, assisting annual conferences as they developed resilient ways of facing disasters, working to lessen the impact as much as possible.
“Connecting with local governments and other relief agencies and identifying existing assets within an affected conference is important in developing a coordinated plan of action,” said Lara S. Martin, director of UMCOR’s U.S. Disaster Response.
Disasters – natural and humanmade – have increased the world over, which means UMCOR’s work has increased as well. UMCOR staff work diligently to resource and assist partners nationally and internationally to reach people who await help, wherever they may be and whatever the cause of their distress.
Please give generously on UMCOR Sunday! Thank you.
Adapted from “UMCOR responses in 2021 continue to climb,” UMCOR responses in 2021 continue to climb - Global Ministries (umcmission.org), Christie R. House, September 24, 2021. Used by permission.