A Moment for Mission
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 12:12, NRSV
Makiyah Wilson was 10 when she was murdered in July 2018. A member of Hughes Memorial United Methodist Church’s Community Anti-violence Project, Wilson “was killed when four hooded gunmen drove into her apartment complex and shot 70 rounds of ammunition with automatic assault weapons while she was outside playing in a courtyard located approximately 1,000 feet from our church,” said the Rev. Paul Johnson.
To help address that violence, Hughes UMC joined with Howard University School of Law to begin an after-school program to help at-risk children and youth who live in the community surrounding the church. Started in 2005, CAP works with children in need, recognizing the challenges they face to achieve academically.
The District of Columbia Public School system “has historically been defined by sometimes stark racial and class divides,” Johnson said. “Poverty, food insecurity, housing insecurity and rampant violence are just some of the factors that negatively impact the academic performance of the children who live near Hughes Memorial UMC. It is unfair and unrealistic to expect impoverished children who are hungry, cold and scared to excel in school.”
CAP participants have shown improved reading scores and other advancements. But Johnson is also convinced that “in our community there is no peace because there is no justice, and there is no justice because there is no peace.”
When United Methodists give generously on Peace with Justice Sunday, CAP and other ministries change lives. Thank you!
Loving God, indeed, we are the body of Christ. Remind us to treat others like family. Help us to embrace peace and justice in everything we do. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Pentecost Sunday — Holy God, thank you for sending your Spirit, the Spirit of the risen Christ, from heaven. Help us to be like the early disciples, praying patiently as we wait for your guidance and power. Fill our hearts and minds with your gifts of faith, hope, and love. May our conversations with people of every language and culture around us witness to your grace and mercy. We dedicate ourselves and our offerings to your good purposes in the world through our church’s mission by the power of your Spirit. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Acts 2:1-21)
Every year, on the First Sunday after Pentecost, United Methodists celebrate Peace with Justice Sunday and contribute to a churchwide offering. The money is awarded to programs to advocate in communities and nations for God’s shalom. Half of the money collected stays within the annual conference for area ministries, and the other half provides grants at the national level.
Peace with Justice Sunday is next Sunday, June 7, 2020.
United Methodist gifts fund a variety of ministries. In the Baltimore-Washington Conference, for example, the 2019 recipients included a community anti-violence project, a neighborhood-feeding program, Justice for Our Neighbors, a summer arts camp and an empowerment and discipleship effort between two congregations – one in Maryland, the other in El Salvador.
In Matthew 5:9, CEB, we read, “Happy are people who make peace, because they will be called God’s children.” Peace with Justice Sunday gives us an opportunity to do exactly that! Thank you.
– Adapted from “BWC churches receive grants to create ‘shalom,’” Melissa Lauber, Baltimore-Washington Conference, Aug. 8, 2019. Used by permission.