March 12, 2023 – UMCOR Sunday (Next Week)

Photo: Irina and her two children in the playground at the shelter in Batiovo, Ukraine. Dániel Fakete/Okumenikus Segélyszervezet: HIA
Photo: Irina and her two children in the playground at the shelter in Batiovo, Ukraine. Dániel Fakete/Okumenikus Segélyszervezet: HIA

A Moment for Mission

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” – Romans 12:12-13, NIV

Next week, The United Methodist Church will celebrate the critical work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief on UMCOR Sunday. It is an opportunity to share hope and respond with grace that makes a difference in the lives of others.

As tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters occur across the United States, UMCOR is always ready to respond. Contact is immediately established with individual conference disaster-response teams in order to provide financial assistance with emergency grants and funds when requested. As Hurricane Ian swept across Cuba and made landfall in Florida in late September, the category 4 storm devastated whole communities with heavy rain, wind and flooding. UMCOR responded quickly with thousands of cleaning kits and initial emergency funding to help the Florida Annual Conference address the most pressing needs.

UMCOR spearheaded a collaborative effort with nonprofit partners to teach and equip personnel in both North Carolina and Florida conferences to build and install transportable solar-powered generators. UMCOR staff continued to help with recruiting and organizing early-response teams as well.

Hurricane Ian was not the only natural disaster to occur in the U.S. throughout 2022. UMCOR responded to massive flooding across Kentucky, Mississippi and Georgia; tornadoes in the Midwest and Southeast; and wildfires in New Mexico.

Sometimes, we may feel as if the world is turning upside down, but we remember that God’s love is greater than anything we could face and we are called to share it. The gifts and energy we give enable us to be the hands and feet of Christ, bringing hope and love to a struggling world.

Thank you for supporting UMCOR with your gifts on UMCOR Sunday! Together, our resources allow us to stand with those who suffer while remaining joyful with hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. Thank you!

-Adapted from “UMCOR helps local partners respond to Hurricane Ian” by Dan Curran, General Board of Global Mission. Used by permission.

Children’s Message
You probably have heard and seen news stories about hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and wildfires. What do you know about these kinds of events? How do they affect people? (Let children answer.)

When disasters happen, they can cause lots of damage to buildings and even hurt or kill people. It’s very sad. Usually, it takes a long time to clean up and rebuild. That’s where we can help!

Our Scripture tells us that we need to “share with the Lord’s people who are in need” and “practice hospitality.” What is hospitality? (Let children answer.) It means that we need to treat our neighbors and even strangers with kindness and give to them from our hearts

In disaster situations, people need help right away. Jesus calls us to share love and hope, even with people we don’t actually know, and help them get back on their feet. In The United Methodist Church, we do a really good job with this. The United Methodist Committee on Relief, or UMCOR, jumps right into action when a natural disaster like a flood or some kind of conflict takes place. They send money, bring water and food, ship supplies and recruit people to clean up and restore communities.

The best part is that we can help right where we are. Next week is a special celebration known as “UMCOR Sunday.” We have the opportunity to give to UMCOR so that they can keep doing their awesome work of offering kindness, hope and hospitality to those who need help.

Prayer: God, thank you for UMCOR and the ways it helps so many people. Help us to be full of kindness and hospitality this week so we can make a difference in the lives of others. Amen.

Offertory Prayer
God of hospitality and love, you call us to bring hope and joy to those who need healing. Multiply our gifts to continue supporting UMCOR’s life-changing, Spirit-led work. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

From Discipleship Ministries
God, our provider, in Christ you give us a spring of pure water that overflows to eternal life. Your love and hope fill our hearts, so we want to worship you in Spirit and truth. Open our eyes to see the places in this neighborhood where our church’s ministries could reach new people. Direct our gifts and offerings for your purposes, so that our community will become like a field ripe for harvest. We ask this through Christ, our risen Lord. Amen.

Newsletter Nugget
Tragedy struck Gaylord, Michigan, on May 20, 2022, as an EF3 tornado barreled through the town. Two individuals lost their lives, and 44 others were injured

The United Methodist Committee on Relief, the denomination’s disaster-recovery arm, was eager to get to work and provide immediate assistance. After the Michigan Annual Conference requested aid, UMCOR approved a $10,000 grant to help with immediate needs such as water and gift cards for food and gas.

Downstate in Detroit, UMCOR released $800,000 in grant funds to help those recovering from destructive flooding the previous year. This money will be used to assist individuals in building back their lives in ways that meet their needs.

Sometimes, disasters seem distant. At other times, they happen right down the road to people we know and about whom we care. We’re called as Christ followers to offer help and hope. As United Methodists, we can amplify the impact through our gifts to UMCOR. UMCOR reaches people in their moment of suffering, no matter who or where they are. Your gift on UMCOR Sunday will ensure that this critical ministry continues. Thank you for your generosity!

-Adapted from “Grants strengthen relief in Gaylord, Detroit” by James Deaton, Content Editor for the Michigan Conference, June 15, 2022. Used by permission.