Spirit Alive: Are You Connected? Let Me Count the Ways
October 10, 2017
With Heart, Soul, and Mind:
When We Can Count on Each Other,
Our Generosity Makes a Lasting Difference"The disciples decided they would send support to the brothers and sisters in Judea, with everyone contributing to this ministry according to each person's abundance."
Acts 11: 29
Friends, even though we depend on each other on a daily basis, it is often during times of crisis that we discover and come to appreciate just how important our neighbors...and even complete strangers...are to our collective well-being. It is then that we realize that we are deeply connected to each other in countless ways...both near and far.
Did you know that in 2017 over $100,000 has already been contributed to various Advance Projects and UMCOR efforts from churches in the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference? And that over $50,000 has been collected through the various Special UMC Sundays, including Human Relations Day, UMCOR Sunday (formerly One Great Hour of Sharing), United Methodist Student Day, World Communion Sunday, Peace with Justice Sunday, and Native American Ministries Day. And all this giving counts as well!
One form of giving that often goes unnoticed within the annual conference are the contributions that are made by congregations to the annual conference's four "askings." For those of you who don't know what these "askings" support. Here's a quick crash course. We receive "askings" from local churches for:
- Youth and Young Adult Ministry (which has received over $18,000 this year to help support the hiring of District Youth Coordinators, provide scholarships for young adults to attend training events, and financially support a retreat time for Youth Directors in the annual conference so they could gather in an ecumenical setting with others.)
- Hispanic Ministry (which has received over $11,000 so far this year to help support our Hispanic ministries in Wilder, Hillsboro, and Salem. Without these funds, we would not be able to support our efforts to reach out to the growing Hispanic population in our area and create a United Methodist presence within these communities.)
- Campus Ministry (which has received approximately $11,000 so far this year to help support the important campus ministry work taking place at University of Oregon, Boise State University, Idaho State University, Oregon State University, and Western Oregon University. These funds are a small, but important, part of what makes it possible for our campus ministries to touch the lives of students during a critical time of faith formation in their lives.)
- The Vital Church Project (which has received over $15,000 in 2017 to support the VCP's work with church revitalization and new church starts.)
If your congregation has already contributed to these important annual conference "askings," thank you! If not, please consider doing so. Your contributions to these ministries count....and make a difference in our collective ministry presence in Oregon and Idaho. In fact, we could not be present in the many ways we are as an annual conference without your on-going support.
But in these difficult and challenging times, I want to invite you and your congregation to consider giving more than you already do to respond to the growing needs around us. Sometimes these needs seem so overwhelming that we can become frozen by all the demands. I feel this way myself at times. What difference can I really make? It all seems like just a drop in the bucket, so to speak. And yet when I read
Let us walk in the light of God's love,
Spirit Alive is a twice a month blog and email by Rev. Lowell Greathouse, Mission and Ministry Coordinator for the Oregon-Idaho Conference. It seeks to identify where the spirit is alive in our congregations and communities. Check out past editions, or subscribe to the email list.