A Moment for Mission
“Because your faithful love is right in front of me—I walk in your truth!” — Psalm 26:3, CEB
For more than 40 years, United Methodists around the world have observed World Communion Sunday to celebrate our connectedness as the body of Christ. The churchwide Special Sunday with offering is an occasion to support educational opportunities for both international students and U.S. racial-ethnic students.
The offering funds scholarships for graduate students studying for professional degrees. Since 2002, the World Communion Scholarship program of Global Ministries has awarded more than $11 million to over 500 students.
One of those students is Cleber Lizardo de Assis.
Lizardo de Assis attended Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and graduated with a degree in psychology. In 2008 and 2009, he received a World Communion Scholarship to continue his studies there and pursue a master of psychology degree.
A friend and missionary from the Methodist Church in Brazil told Lizardo de Assis about the scholarship opportunity. “I wanted to pursue a master’s degree,” he recalled, “but did not have the financial means.”
Since then, Lizardo de Assis has earned doctoral and postdoctoral degrees and recently wrote a children’s book, Minhoca Benzoca, illustrated by his son, Angelo Kalein.
“As a teacher in psychology, theology, philosophy and social practices,” he noted, “I have helped to train community leaders and current teachers in these fields of study.”
Today is World Communion Sunday. Support students around the world in their pursuit of education and social transformation. Please give generously.
Loving God, we long to walk in your truth. On this day especially, guide students around the world as they pursue opportunities to serve your children. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost — God of grace and goodness, your blessings in our lives have been so abundant that when trials come, we become disoriented. Our needs have so often been met that when we’re challenged in life, we wonder what’s wrong. Why isn’t the world perfectly aligned to meet our desires? This morning, we give our tithes and offerings, with hope that we might ground ourselves in gratitude for the blessings that we so easily come to take for granted. We pray for eyes to clearly see the bright mountains and the dark valleys, with grateful hearts for both. In Christ, we pray. Amen. (Job 1:1, 2:1-10)
When Cleber Lizardo de Assis received a World Communion Scholarship in 2008 and 2009, he was active in a church in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and helped with several community projects in the Liberdade neighborhood.
“I was a national agent and advisor for Sombra e Água Fresca of the Methodist Church in Brazil,” he said, “and helped to implement projects across the country.
“The scholarship allowed me to pursue higher education, continue my service to the community and expand my commitment to social transformation in the world. I also enjoy creating and implementing social programs that promote justice and peace for often-marginalized groups.”
One is the Mental Health Project for All, providing face-to-face and online psychotherapeutic assistance, free lectures and patient visits.
Celebrated on the first Sunday in October, World Communion Sunday “calls the church to be the catholic inclusive church” (The Book of Discipline, Par. 263.3). Along with World Communion Scholarships, the special offering also supports Ethnic Scholarships and Ethnic In-Service Training. Please give generously.
Adapted from “World Communion Scholar Puts the ‘Social’ in Social Science,” Sara Logeman, Global Ministries, Oct. 2, 2020. Used by permission.