A Moment for Mission
“For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.” – James 2:26, NRSV
UMCOR Sunday has arrived, providing the church an opportunity to extend hands of help and hope to vulnerable individuals who are suffering both at home and abroad.
No matter the location, the United Methodist Committee on Relief is always prepared to respond fast and respond early. When disasters strike outside of the United States, UMCOR activates its large network of disaster-management offices to train and equip multiple Methodist and faith-based partners.
The usual emergency response includes distribution of food and nonfood products, as well as hygiene items. Volunteers and staff provide psychological support and prepare housing. UMCOR stays, even after the danger has passed, to empower and help communities rebuild, all while preparing mitigation plans and infrastructure improvements.
Relief efforts have been constant in Eastern Europe since Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine in February. Over 116,000 square miles are still “contaminated” with landmines, potentially making areas unsafe for more than a decade.
As the war shifts east and land is reclaimed, Ukrainians are returning to their homes and farms littered with unexploded mines and munitions that could cause major harm. Partnering with longtime partner Mines Advisory Group, UMCOR has provided a $2 million grant. It will help demine reclaimed ground, enable teams to pinpoint exact locations of unexploded ordnances and ensure returning Ukrainians have the education needed to reduce their risks and remain safe.
We are the children of God, called to serve through our words, thoughts and actions. As the author of James reminds us, our faith cannot be complete unless we go out to serve others. Your generosity on UMCOR Sunday empowers UMCOR to share God’s love with communities everywhere. Giving brings your faith to life and puts it into action, building a better world in Christ’s name.
Your gift to UMCOR will transform countless lives with hope and love. Thank you!
-Adapted from “New UMCOR grant to Mines Advisory Group will help Ukrainians deal with threat of landmines – Global Ministries (umcmission.org),” Dan Curran, Sept. 28, 2022. Used by Permission
What things go better together? (Let children answer; examples include pencils and paper, peanut butter and jelly, snow and winter.)
You can have just one, but without the other, they won’t be as good. Having snow in the late spring isn’t as fun as snow for sledding during Christmas vacation, is it?
In the Book of James, we are reminded that two things must work together: faith and works. (Read James 2:26 to the children.)
Who knows what faith is? It’s what we believe in. In this case, it’s our belief in God. Works – or good deeds – are the ways we put our faith into action to help other people. Jesus teaches us to use our faith to do good things that a make a difference in other people’s lives.
Why would it matter to believe in God if we didn’t share God’s hope and love with people around us? I’d argue that if we’re not doing it, we didn’t really have faith in the first place. Because God loves us, we love others by being kind to our family and friends, our neighbors and church members, and even random people on the street.
What does our church do in the community to help people? (Let children share.)
Remember that having faith in God means we should go out and share good things with others. We need both faith and works because when they work together, we make a difference in other people’s lives and even our own!
Prayer: God, we have faith in you. Help us to live out our faith and help other people in your name. Amen.
God of goodness, through our faith in you, we are called to bless others and share your good news. Bless and multiply our gifts this UMCOR Sunday, that they might reach around the world to extend your love and hope. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen
From Discipleship Ministries
Generous God, you tenderly care for each person you have created. You miraculously restore people to health and shine light into the lives of those who are discouraged. Guide us so that we will not regard others according to outward appearances but seek to find your love in their hearts. We dedicate our offerings and ourselves to contribute to the work of your kingdom on earth until Christ returns in glory. Amen
Thousands of individuals have been displaced from the Central African Republic by war and strife. Many have made their way to the refugee camp in Limbasa, Congo, where they have been greeted and helped by The United Methodist Church.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief, our denomination’s humanitarian and development relief agency, used its Global Migration program to disburse $50,000 to purchase food for incoming refugees.
“These displaced people are living in a camp set up by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and are going through much more difficult situations,” said Jean Tshomba, coordinator of UMCOR’s disaster-management office in eastern Congo.
United Methodists have been hosting newly arrived families and providing cash disbursements to refugees to help reduce product shortages and inflation in the region. The Congo Minister of Social Affairs, Humanitarian Actions and National Solidarity shared his thanks, saying, “Humanitarian actors, sometimes risking their lives, do immeasurable work to bring emergency aid to millions of men, women and children.”
These comments speak to our own hearts. Our gifts on UMCOR Sunday make impactful efforts like this possible. Through our special offering, we amplify God’s love. Thank you for your generosity!
-Adapted from “Church helps displaced Africans in Congo – UM News,” Chadrack Tambwe Londe, Sept. 14, 2022. Used by permission.