A Moment for Mission
“This is how we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep God’s commandments.” — 1 John 5:2, CEB
Growing up, Carol Sheley had watched her parents foster older, hard-to-place kids in the system, and she wanted to do the same.
“I knew it was what I wanted to do,” she recalled, “but my husband, Jeff, had to want it, too. Our first placement was an older boy. He and Jeff bonded quickly, and we haven’t stopped taking children since.” In fact, 32 years and 47 foster children later, she knows this is what she was meant to do. Of those 47 children, they went on to adopt 11. They also maintain relationships with many of the children who were reunified with their families.
Carol has learned that every child is precious, and every family situation is different. “When you say ‘yes’ to one child, you are really saying ‘yes’ to that child and all that comes with them—siblings, relationships of varying degrees with their parents, and their past trauma,” she said.
“Chaddock * has been a godsend in our understanding of being trauma-informed,” Carol continued. “We rely on them heavily to teach us. I’ve learned how to be a better parent.”
One final measure of success: keeping this sprawling brood intact. “We try to bring all of our kids together as much as possible,” she explained. “We want them to have relationships with each other. They’ll always be a family.”
Through gifts to the annual Golden Cross Sunday offering, ministries like Chaddock in Quincy, Illinois, change lives.
Adapted from “47 and Counting,” The Chaddock Connection, August 2020. Used by permission.
*Chaddock is an is a leader in the treatment of children suffering from the psychological, emotional, and spiritual effects of significant abuse, neglect and trauma.
Loving God, you call us to love your children. Thank you for the health and welfare ministries and institutions that our Golden Cross Sunday gifts support. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Sixth Sunday of Easter (Mother’s Day – Festival of the Christian Home) — God of unimaginable love, we have known of your caring since we were babies in our mother’s arms. We have been told the stories of your love, and we have sung songs about your love. These things bring us comfort. What challenges us is the command of Jesus, “As I have loved you, so you should love one another” —not just those who think as we do, pray as we do, and look the way that we do. Help us, through our giving, our living and our loving, to live up to the challenge of loving as you would have us love. In the name of our risen Savior, we pray. Amen. (John 15:9-17)
God works through our prayers and support in acts of mercy to bless the lives of individuals of all ages and at all stages of life.
In the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference, for example, Golden Cross ministries are hard at work every day, bringing hope and healing to people from cradle to grave. The offering is divided equally among 10 ministries—six with adults and four with children and families. Each year, more than 6,500 individuals receive benevolent care.
Each United Methodist annual conference selects a date to celebrate Golden Cross Sunday. The observance highlights the work of health and welfare ministries and institutions in the conference. An offering may be received for their support.
Wherever you live and wherever you give to Golden Cross Sunday, your contributions are multiplied because we are stronger and more efficient together. When you give to support these excellent ministries, God blesses your generosity, and the lives you touch are forever changed.
Adapted from “Golden Cross: Church Beyond the Doors,” Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference website