May 12 – Golden Cross Sunday (Actual Date May 5)/Fourth Sunday of Easter

A MOMENT FOR MISSION

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long." —Psalm 23:6, NRSV

"Swoosh!" shouted Riley, 10, as his dad picked him up to dunk a basketball in the family's driveway. A year ago, Riley was searching for his forever home. Then his parents came to The Baby Fold in Normal, Illinois, to complete their family. Now Riley, along with his adoptive siblings and parents, cannot imagine life without one another. Through home visits, parent-child activities and custom goals, The Baby Fold succeeded in transforming Riley's life.

This is just one of The Baby Fold's success stories that wouldn't be possible without faithful support through the annual Golden Cross Sunday offering and other generous gifts. When The Baby Fold frees a child from academic challenges, unhealthy behavior patterns or loneliness, everyone wins. When The Baby Fold guides a family to be strong, responsible and connected, everyone wins. When The Baby Fold reaches out to young mothers with practical and emotional support, everyone wins.

Through United Methodist support, people experience life-changing opportunities that help them transform into the best versions of themselves so they can flourish. Maybe Riley will glide across the court in the 2029 March Madness games. Or perhaps he'll continue to shoot hopes with his adoptive family at home.

A loving God, said the psalmist, promises "goodness and mercy" throughout life. When your congregation gives generously on Golden Cross Sunday, you offer hope and happiness to children, families and older adults through health and welfare ministries of your annual conference. 

—Adapted from a fundraising letter from The Baby Fold, March 19, 2019

OFFERTORY PRAYER
Loving God, thank you for granting us goodness and mercy throughout our lives. May we share the joy of that gift with your children who need it the most. In your name, we pray. Amen.

From Discipleship Ministries: Fourth Sunday of Easter — Watchful and Loving God: You have given us the gift of a shepherd because in our lostness and our despair, we have cried out to you to show us the way. You sent Jesus so we might be saved, and yet though we know his voice, we often find ourselves wandering, searching on our own to find better grazing, new grass, and cooler water. We give our gifts this morning as a testimony that we know we need to give ourselves more fully. We strive and we long to follow the Shepherd, this day and all our days. We pray this prayer in the name of the One who will protect and lead us if we but follow. Amen. (John 10:22-30)

NEWSLETTER NUGGET
In The United Methodist Church, Golden Cross Sunday is one of five opportunities for special annual conference offerings. Financial gifts benefit health and welfare ministries in the conference. On Golden Cross Sunday, 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, young and old. The offering is divided equally among 10 ministries—six for older adults and four for children and families. Each year, more than 6,500 individuals in Illinois Great Rivers receive benevolent care.

Check out the Golden Cross-supported health and welfare ministries in your conference. Learn about them and know that when you give, 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