These past few weeks have been filled with headlines of disaster around the globe. Whether it is in the Philippines, Haiti or Chile, the United Methodist Committee on Relief has been there as the hands, the heart and the hope of the church wherever people are suffering.
This year has been an extremely difficult year. When the earthquake hit Haiti, UMCOR chief executive Sam Dixon and UMCOR director of volunteers Clint Rabb were already on the ground working on partnerships to minister to the impoverished Carribean country and its people. And while both men died from injuries sustained from the earthquake, UMCOR was poised to respond on behalf of the people of The United Methodist Church. To date, $13.8 million has been collected for Haiti relief with total receipts expected to reach more than $25 million. Illinois Great Rivers United Methodists have contributed $554,725 to date. This does not include direct giving online or through UMCOR.
This response is not something new. For 70 years, The United Methodist Church has responded through the United Methodist Committee on Relief. It is the one organization that guarantees that 100 percent of your contribution for disaster relief is sent to its intended destination. Because of this commitment, UMCOR has received an A-plus designation from the agency that analyzes financial integrity and transparency of non-profit organizations.
As a church, we are able to accomplish great things because of faithful and generous giving to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering, one of six denominational offerings. Funds received from One Great Hour of Sharing pay the administrative overhead of UMCOR. Because UMCOR does not receive World Service funds or any other apportionments, support of this offering is vitally critical.
I encourage you to please highlight March 14 with your congregation as a day to lay the foundation for UMCOR to seek justice and mercy for suffering people everywhere.
Thank you for opening your hearts to those that need to experience God's love and grace in times of disaster, suffering and tragedy.
Yours in Christ,
+Gregory Vaughn Palmer