March 27 – UMCOR Sunday (Today)
A Moment for Mission
“So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20, NRSV
Today we celebrate UMCOR Sunday, an opportunity to share the goodness of life with God’s children at home and internationally.
When a disaster strikes outside the United States, the United Methodist Committee on Relief serves as the primary channel for United Methodist assistance. In the short term, UMCOR provides funds to partners to distribute food, hygiene supplies, shelter and other basic items. In the long term, the agency works with local partners toward recovery and reconstruction.
Roland Fernandes, the general secretary of Global Ministries and UMCOR, has had long experience with UMCOR’s international disaster grants and programs. “UMCOR has a wide reach internationally because we have a large network of trusted partners experienced in humanitarian relief that we can confidently support,” he said. “Many are United Methodist-related, but others are ecumenical in nature, and a few are non-religious nonprofit humanitarian agencies. So even in places such as China or Afghanistan, we work with partners who can safely reach the affected populations.”
Both 2020 and 2021 saw catastrophic disasters, while the COVID-19 pandemic hampered relief and recovery work. Today, response inevitably includes personal protection equipment, soap and sanitizers, guidance on social distancing and other pandemic-related precautions – an extra layer of concern for people affected by disaster.
As ambassadors for Christ, we share hope and healing with people near and far. Together, God’s church is a beacon to navigate crises around the world.
Your gifts on UMCOR Sunday make a huge difference.
Adapted from “UMCOR’s international humanitarian relief in 2021,” UMCOR’s international humanitarian relief in 2021 - Global Ministries (umcmission.org), Christie R. House, Oct. 1, 2021. Used by permission.
Paul, one of Jesus’ apostles, reminded the church in Corinth, “We are ambassadors for Christ.” An ambassador works to bring people together in agreement. They are peace builders. When we act like Jesus, we help other people experience God’s love. We become ambassadors for Christ.
United Methodists are ambassadors for Jesus through the United Methodist Committee on Relief, which we call “UMCOR” for short. When a disaster affects a neighborhood or a community, people serve through UMCOR. They share God’s love by fixing up houses, making sure clean water is available, and listening and responding to what people need.
As we work through UMCOR, we discover how much more we can do when we work together with other United Methodist churches. It’s teamwork in action!
Loving God, you call us to reconciliation. Bless our gifts on UMCOR Sunday, as they extend God’s love to people struggling to recover from disaster. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Fourth Sunday in Lent — Long-suffering God, we hear the words of the familiar parable and, at different times, see ourselves as either son. We have received -- or demanded – blessings to which we were not entitled and squandered them in self-indulgent living. We have also looked out from our place of superiority and favor and have been indignant over your lavish dispensing of love and mercy. As we bring our gifts this day, we do so in the humble gratitude and recognition that any and all blessings in our life come as your gift of grace. We pray in the name of your greatest gift, Jesus our redeemer. Amen. (Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32)
“This legal orientation program has saved my life and that of my family. We can now remain together safely.”
The above quote from an asylum seeker trying to cross the U.S. border highlights the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s continuing work to support refugees and migrants around the world.
“Welcoming the stranger in our midst is a biblical mandate we take seriously,” notes Roland Fernandes, Global Ministries and UMCOR’s general secretary. “Providing welcome is urged in the Old Testament as part of the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 10:18-19), as well as in the New Testament (Matthew 25:35, Hebrews 13:2). UMCOR accompanies the church and other organizations to assist these vulnerable people.”
UMCOR’s Global Migration program supports humanitarian initiatives in the United States and around the world. Its major partners are Church World Service and ACT Alliance. National Justice for Our Neighbors, a subsidiary of UMCOR, provides legal assistance for those seeking asylum.
Through our special offering on UMCOR Sunday, we welcome the stranger. Please give generously.
Adapted from “UMCOR supports refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in 2021,” UMCOR supports refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in 2021 - Global Ministries (umcmission.org), Christie R. House, Oct. 6, 2021. Used by permission.