umcgiving

March 29 – Interdenominational Cooperation Fund/Fifth Sunday in Lent

A Moment for Mission

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.'" —John 11:25-26a, NRSV

Ecumenical activities don't always happen inside a church building. Consider, for example, a recent community celebration to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in southern Illinois.

Hundreds of people from diverse backgrounds and beliefs gathered to "Stand up and Be Counted." Leading the event were people representing many faithsBaptist, Christian, Lutheran, Methodist and nondenominational churcheswho shared music and readings.

One participant was the Rev. In-Sook Hwang, a retired clergy member of the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference. "I celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with the Carbondale community," she said. "I'm indebted to him for who I am and what I am. Thank you for your prophetic voices and actions, Dr. King!"

For his work encouraging racial equality throughout the region, the late Rev. William Warner was posthumously given the Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Community Award. The United Methodist pastor, who died in 2018, championed integration, unity and equal access to clean air, education and housing alongside African American leaders. The award recognizes an individual or group who exemplifies the character and legacy of King.

Ecumenism begins at home, often with joint activities among congregations of different faiths. On a much larger scale, the Interdenominational Cooperation Fund enables United Methodists to share a presence and a voice in the activities of several national and worldwide ecumenical organizations.

Your generous support is vital to continued cooperation between United Methodists and our neighbors, near and far.

When congregations support the Interdenominational Cooperation Fund, they illustrate the apostle Paul's words in Ephesians 2:19: "You are no longer strangers…, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God."

Offertory Prayer
Loving God, thank you for the gift of Jesus, who showed his followers what it means to respect one another and work together for your glory. In your name, we pray. Amen.

From Discipleship Ministries: Fifth Sunday in Lent – Consoling God of comfort and love, we cried out to you out of the depths of our despair, embraced in worry and fear, so that we failed to hear your answers of compassion and hope. Later, we saw that you were there with us, willing to help us with strength and support. We bring more than our gifts and tithes today; we bring ourselves as an offering -- ready to use our arms, hands, and feet to be your comforting and strengthening presence to others. We make this offering joyfully and faithfully in the name of Jesus, our rock and redeemer. Amen.  (Psalm 130)

Newsletter Nugget
Working toward mutual Christian understanding and unity is the main job for The United Methodist Church's ecumenical arm.

"The United Methodist Church has a powerful opportunity to witness to the world that the love of Jesus Christ is stronger than the disagreements that threaten to divide us," says the Rev. Jean Hawxhurst, an ecumenical staff officer for the Council of Bishops. "We are called to let all our relationships be governed by Christlike love."

The United Methodist Church is in talks with the Episcopal Church—the sister church of John Wesley's beloved Church of England—about a possible full communion agreement in the future. The United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have been full communion partners since 2009.

When congregations support the Interdenominational Cooperation Fund, they illustrate the apostle Paul's words in Ephesians 2:19: "You are no longer strangers…, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God."

—Adapted from "Church Unity and Ecumenism," Heather Hahn, UM News, Dec. 7, 2016. Used by permission.