A Moment for Mission
“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’” —Matthew 9:37-38, NRSV
When spring storms and COVID-19 collided, a gulf opened between eager volunteers and those who need them.
The Rev. Samantha Meadors, campus minister for Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, normally spends a lot of her time organizing mission teams to help with cleanup after the kind of storm that struck Jonesboro, but she had a different message this year.
“We are so grateful that we all survived this tornado with no fatalities and with relatively few injuries. Let’s continue to value lives by practicing social distancing or, if possible, staying home and donating our dollars rather than our things,” she wrote to her local newspaper and posted on Facebook.
Possessions can be replaced, people cannot, she said.
“Our encouragement right now is for folks to donate their money to reputable organizations,” she said. “We are also encouraging people to think long-term recovery.”
In The United Methodist Church, Volunteers in Mission Awareness Sunday is one of five churchwide special Sundays that provide opportunities for annual conference giving. Each conference determines the date of the observance.
As the coronavirus continues to shape the way we do ministry, please put any VIM journeys on hold and, instead, consider donating to the United Methodist Committee on Relief or local projects like traveling vacation Bible schools. Contact your jurisdictional Volunteers in Mission coordinator to learn the best ways to give generously in this challenging time of transition.
—Adapted from “Prayers, Donations Help in Aftermath of Storms,” Kathy Gilbert, UM News, April 6, 2020. Used by permission.
Loving God, going as “laborers into the harvest” can happen virtually through giving. Inspire us to give generously on Volunteers in Mission Awareness Sunday. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Second Sunday after Pentecost — Holy God, we marvel at your love for all your creation. When Jesus saw the crowds that gathered, he had compassion on them, and his ministry and the church that bears his name must always remember we were born out of compassion. We offer our gifts to continue the work of compassion, but more than this, we offer ourselves, as he also commanded us to “Go!” In his holy name, we pray. Amen. (Matthew 9:35-10:8, (9-23))
One of the newest annual conference-coordinated special Sundays with offering is Volunteers in Mission Awareness Sunday.
UMVIM a grassroots movement within The United Methodist Church designed to provide an official channel for volunteer service. Christians, lay and clergy, offer their skills for service in their home country and around the world on short-term assignments at their own expense.
The UMVIM network offers guidance, organization and training for more than 125,000 volunteers each year who give of their time and talent to minister with the poor, build churches and other mission facilities, assist in disaster-recovery efforts, participate in community health programs and take part in leadership training events each year.
As the world continues recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, travel for VIM is discouraged. However, generous financial support is always needed. The UMVIM movement is organized by jurisdiction. Contact your jurisdictional UMVIM coordinator to learn how you can help. Thank you!
—Adapted from General Board of Global Ministries website. Used by permission.