Oct. 24, 2021—22nd Sunday after Pentecost /United Nations Day—Rural Life Sunday (Undated Annual Conference may take special offering)

A Moment for Mission

“The blind man said, ‘Teacher, I want to see.’ Jesus said, ‘Go, your faith has healed you.’ At once he was able to see, and he began to follow Jesus on the way.” —Mark 10:51b-52, CEB

Most children look forward to Head Start classes because they love playing with their friends. “Tammy,” a four-year-old in northeastern Tennessee, loved Head Start because of the opportunity to take a warm bath.

Her home on a mountain ridge had no indoor plumbing. Her grandmother, who cared for Tammy and her brother, drew water from a well outside, and an outhouse was their only sanitation facility.

“The need for water here is amazing,” said Lisa Nichols, director of the United Methodist Jubilee Project (Advance #781350) and a Church and Community Worker (U.S. missionary) in Sneedville, Tennessee. “People living up in the ‘hollers’ even today lack access to clean, fresh water.” Sulfur in wells and bacteria in spring water jeopardize health.

Sally Morris, a retired public nurse, oversees the Jubilee Water Project. “We tried to do a grant to build a well for [Tammy’s family], but the well couldn’t be dug deep enough and wasn’t producing,” she recalled. Eventually, however, they were able to finish indoor plumbing, a septic system and a bathroom.

On average, Jubilee builds three wells annually. Funding comes from churches and other donors. A mission of the Holston Annual Conference, Jubilee also receives grants from the United Methodist Appalachian Ministries Network.

On Rural Life Sunday, we celebrate the rural heritage of The United Methodist Church, recognize the ongoing rural crises around the world and affirm the interdependence of rural and urban communities. Annual conferences may collect a special offering.

Offertory Prayer
Loving God, a blind man learned about faith when Jesus healed him. Teach us to model faith and make disciples as we reach out with Christ’s love. In your name, we pray. Amen.

From Discipleship Ministries: Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost Extravagantly Generous God, there is nothing we have, there is nothing we require, there is nothing we long for that does not pale when placed beside the relationship you’ve offered to us. As we bring our gifts to you, remind us of the covenant you put before Israel: “If they will be my people I will be their God.” Receive what we give in gratitude for your invitation, and help us be your people, reflected in our love for you and for all your children. We pray this in the name of Jesus, the Christ, who gave all there was to give for us. Amen. (Job 42:1-6, 10-17)

Newsletter Nugget
Alongside a water ministry and a work camp, the United Methodist Jubilee Project (Advance #781350) in Sneedville, Tennessee, focuses on food security in Hancock County. The terrain makes it difficult to grow anything more than a small garden. Jubilee works with two food pantries in the county to ensure people have enough to eat.

Spiritual and community development are also important. A variety of fellowship groups meet regularly at the Jubilee Center.

The many ways that Jubilee approaches the county’s pervasive poverty is an indication of how these Appalachian mountain communities have been left behind in basic necessities like food, water, sanitation and shelter.

Sally Morris, a retired public nurse, oversees the Jubilee Water Project. Of her friends on the mountain ridge, she said, “It’s their turn to have water in their homes.”

On Rural Life Sunday, we celebrate the rural heritage of The United Methodist Church, recognize the ongoing rural crises around the world and affirm the interdependence of rural and urban communities.

Adapted from “Jubilee Water Project Installs Indoor Plumbing in Tennessee Mountain Homes,” Christie R. House, Global Ministries website, March 2020. Used by permission.