January 5 – World Service Fund (Discipleship Ministries)/Second Sunday after Christmas

A Moment for Mission

"What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it." —John 1:3b-5, NRSV

"A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" came to U.S. theaters just before Thanksgiving, and Discipleship Ministries is playing a key role in helping congregations respond to the film.

Sony Pictures invited the United Methodist agency to produce a faith-based study guide to accompany the movie. The discussion companion is designed to help groups learn to process feelings, understand forgiveness, talk about hard things, see reconciliation and practice positive spiritual discipline. The guide and a film trailer are available on the movie's website, www.resources.abeautifulday.movie.

Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks portrays the beloved children's TV host, Mister Rogers. "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" is a timely story of kindness and forgiveness triumphing over cynicism. It is based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After the jaded magazine writer, played by Emmy winner Matthew Rhys, is assigned to write a profile of Rogers, he is confronted with his own skepticism and learns about kindness, love and forgiveness from America's favorite neighbor.

"Mister Rogers demonstrated the love of Jesus Christ is every action of his life," said Junius Dotson, top executive of Discipleship Ministries. "He was a source of inspiration for millions of children and adults." He encouraged United Methodists to view the film and use the resource.

Thanks to generous World Service Fund support from United Methodist congregations, Discipleship Ministries enriches annual conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples.

—Adapted from "Discipleship Ministries Produces Official Study Guide for Movie Starring Tom Hanks," Nov. 12, 2019. Used by permission.

Offertory Prayer
Loving God, thank you for sending Jesus, the light of the world. Help us to model Christ's love as we reach out in love to neighbors near and far away. In your name, we pray. Amen.

From Discipleship Ministries: Epiphany Sunday — God of glorious surprises: Like the wise men sent by Herod, we, too, come as searchers for a glimpse of your presence. As were the people in those days, we are surprised that we find you not in a palace but in a stable, surrounded by a family of poor refugees and worshiped by the lowly shepherds. Like them, our gifts from our wealth seem simultaneously too material and woefully shabby and outshined by what you have given us. Just the same, use our gifts for the work of justice, mercy, and compassion -- as would befit the savior who sleeps in a manger. It's in is holy name, we pray. Amen.  (Matthew 2:1-12)

Newsletter Nugget
In John 13:35, NRSV, we read Jesus' familiar words: "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." The word disciple comes from a Greek word meaning "learner" or "pupil." Today, we think of disciples as followers of Jesus Christ.

We are familiar with the mission of The United Methodist Church: to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The Book of Discipline 2016 (Paragraph 120) notes, "Local churches and extension ministries … provide the most significant arenas through which disciple-making occurs."

One of our denomination's World Service Fund-supported agencies, Discipleship Ministries, is especially integral to disciple-making. Its primary purpose is to assist annual conferences, districts and local churches in their efforts to win people to Jesus Christ as his disciples, helping them grow in their understanding of God and respond in faith and love.

When your congregation supports World Service, you nurture disciple-making in your local church and beyond. Thank you!