A Moment for Mission
"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ." —1 Corinthians 12:12, NRSV
How do United Methodist and other congregations in your community work together? Perhaps they exchange clergy and choirs for special worship services. Maybe they team up for vacation Bible school. What about neighborhood outreach like ESL classes, GED tutoring, food pantries and shelters for homeless people? Or after-school and summer programs for children and youth?
Our beliefs may differ, but often we discover we are more alike than different. Through the Interdenominational Cooperation Fund, United Methodists affirm our unity with other Christian communions all over the world. We witness to a common Christian faith, meet human suffering and advocate for global peace and justice. We gain a voice in the activities of several national and worldwide ecumenical organizations as the fund provides our denomination's portion of the basic budgets of these groups.
The apostle Paul reminded the early Christians that we all have spiritual gifts. In his letter to the church at Rome (Romans 12:6-8, NRSV), he wrote, "We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness." God intends for us to complement—not compete with—one another.
Through the Interdenominational Cooperation Fund, United Methodists and their sisters and brothers who share a love for Jesus Christ help bring Paul's words to life.
Loving God, we often sing "One Bread, One Body" but forget what those words mean. Remind us often that we, though many, are one body in Jesus Christ. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Third Sunday after Epiphany – Holy and One True God: We sit in our seats this morning, with space around us, lest we be uncomfortable or make someone else uncomfortable. We sometimes feel we can stay as an island, protected and guarded, and still be faithful to you. Then you remind us that we are part of one body in Christ and that every part, from the greatest to the least, is important to the whole. So as we give our gifts this morning, we are reminded that our generosity strengthens us and the whole body, here and in the farthest parts of the globe. This, we pray in that holy name above all others, Jesus, the Christ. Amen. (1 Corinthians 12:12-31a)
Six years ago, the United Methodist Council of Bishops marked an organizational transition in the denomination by launching the Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships. Following 2012 General Conference action, the new office replaced the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns and consolidated ecumenical and interfaith ministries within the Council of Bishops.
The rationale was to strengthen United Methodist ecumenical religious witness around the world through the leadership of the bishops. "This structure," explained Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, "will allow United Methodists to rethink our current relationships and gives us an opportunity to think of a new future that supports the denomination-wide goal of creating more vital congregations through local ecumenical and interfaith outreach."
Engaging with other Christian denominations to work toward unity and peace, the OCUIR seeks to strengthen interreligious relationships, which enable community building.
Your congregation's support of the Interdenominational Cooperation Fund ensures that United Methodists have a voice in ecumenical and interfaith organizations around the world. Thank you!