A MOMENT FOR MISSION
"The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us. May God continue to bless us; let all the ends of the earth revere him." — Psalm 67:6-7, NRSV
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, a time to honor and celebrate the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America's history and are instrumental in its future success.
Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing population in the United States. According to a new study from the Pew Research Center, Asians have surpassed Hispanics as the largest group of new immigrants to the United States. The total population of Asian-Americans, both foreign and U.S. born, is 18.2 million, or 5.8 percent of the total U.S. population, up from less than 1 percent in 1965.
What an opportunity for ministry! Here are five ways to welcome all newcomers to your church:
- Make sure everyone who walks through the doors will feel welcome. A simple "I'm glad you're here, and I hope you'll come back!" goes a long way.
- Instead of racing out the doors right after the benediction, take a few minutes to talk to the newcomers. Invite them to Bible study and other church activities.
- Ask newcomers how you can pray for them.
- Introduce them to other church members and your staff.
- Be an extension of God's loving hands. Deliver a bag of freshly baked cookies or send a card.
When we audaciously meet these new faces, engage in their communities and equip their spiritual leaders, people and communities are impacted to become disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
—Adapted from Discipleship Ministries and Guideposts websites
Loving God, you bless us in so many ways. Thank you for widening our little circle so that we can welcome and embrace new friends from many places. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Sixth Sunday of Easter — Source of all good blessings in our lives: We bring you our gifts with joy, but knowing that often our generosity has been regulated by our fears. We live in uncertain times, and we sometimes fear uncertainty, whether our money will last or whether we will find ourselves in need. We admit that we have heard but not heeded the words from your son, "Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid." Grant us courage to experience the joy of deep generosity without fear. We pray this in the name of our Risen Savior, who thought the cross was not too great a price to pay for us. Amen. (John 14:23-29)
In May, United Methodists join others in observing Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, celebrating achievements and contributions of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
Asian Pacific American Heritage Week was introduced in 1978 when President Jimmy Carter signed a Joint Resolution designating the annual event. Twelve years later, President George H. W. Bush signed a bill passed by Congress to extend the celebration to a monthlong observance. In 1992, the official designation of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month was signed into law.
The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. Most of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.
Newcomers bring rich traditions to both church and community. Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is a perfect time to welcome all of God's children into your congregation's life and ministry.
—Adapted from Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies website