March 7, 2021 – 3rd Sunday in Lent – UMCOR Sunday (Next Week)

Courtesy photo.
Courtesy photo.

Moment for Mission

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” — Psalm 19:14, CEB

Tongan and Samoan older adults in Seattle; Hispanic and Latino families in Wheaton, Maryland; Syrian refugees in Nashville, Tennessee; and undocumented workers in New York City are some of the immigrant communities that turned to United Methodist churches across the U.S. for food, water and necessities during COVID-19 shutdowns.

In response, the United Methodist Committee on Relief created Sheltering in Love and other solidarity grants, and by June 2020, donations exceeded $1.5 million.

While many United Methodist churches were closed for congregational gathering and worship, the buildings were open for ministry.

“This place is like a beehive,” exclaimed the Rev. James Cole, pastor of Antioch United Methodist Church in Tennessee. “It’s like the gospel is being fleshed out right before us.”

That would be a beehive in which all the bees wear masks and work about six feet apart from one another in clean, disinfected areas.

Antioch UMC applied for an UMCOR grant to keep up with utility costs, sanitation and hygiene needs and personal protective equipment to keep staff and volunteers safe.

Most congregations receiving Sheltering in Love grants had already begun ministries to meet the needs of the newly unemployed and homebound. By offering the COVID-19 grants, UMCOR was able to come alongside churches to extend their ministries and the number of people served.

Next week, United Methodist congregations celebrate UMCOR Sunday. Your generous gifts to the special offering share the goodness of life with hurting people worldwide.

Offertory Prayer
Loving God, words and thoughts are important, but actions save lives. Often, the challenges seem overwhelming. Strengthen us to respond in love. In your name, we pray. Amen.

From Discipleship Resources: Third Sunday in Lent — God of holiness and grace, we know the words of your commandments. In our hearts, we know that following them makes life easier, not harder; fuller, not more restricted. We know there is no God greater than you, yet we have made the silliest things our gods and have thrown our money and resources after them. As we offer our gifts this day, we are reminded that only you have given the gift of a savior and the redemption of our rebellious lives. In Christ’s name, we trust and pray. Amen. (Exodus 20:1-17)

Newsletter Nugget
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year, Karla and her husband lost their full-time jobs overnight. In search of work, Karla went to Hughes United Methodist Church, Wheaton, Maryland. She needed to pay the internet bill, which was three months behind, so her children could continue their schooling online. The family needed food, but their biggest concern was the children’s education.

Thanks to a Sheltering in Love grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief, El Buen Samaritano—a Hughes UMC ministry—enabled the family to pay one major bill and receive food boxes each week. Karla came back and asked for extra flour. She was using the flour from her food box to make tortillas for a neighbor’s family.

“We’re hearing a lot of these stories, and it’s good to see these results,” said Hughes church administrator Ingrid Figueroa.

Loved by God through caring church communities, recipients also receive the bread of life. Thank you for your generous gifts on UMCOR Sunday, March 14.

Adapted from “In Service to Our Communities,” Christie R. House, Global Ministries website, June 2020. Used by permission.