Tornados cut across the southern Illinois region leaving a path of destruction to the community of Harrisburg. As we watch developments on television, our hearts ache, knowing that we are called to respond.
It is in these times that the people called United Methodists are at their best, providing a ministry of presence and offering care and compassion for those in need. Let's do our part!
In the aftermath of the tragedy of 9/11, when the United States and the world were grieving, mainline denominations called for prayer, inclusion and reconciliation. In an ad near Ground Zero, The United Methodist Church proclaimed, "Fear is not the only force at work in the world" with a set of praying hands.
When the South Asian tsunami brought massive death and destruction to the people of the Asian Rim, The United Methodist Church said that it was not the work of a vengeful God. Instead, they said, God was in the suffering, standing with those experiencing great loss. The Church called on the world to assist, and people around the world did exactly that.
The Apostle Paul was right when he wrote young Timothy, "God didn't give us a spirit that is timid but one that is powerful, loving and self-controlled." Once again, we are called to proclaim God's spirit provides hope in these tragic times. Please join me as we stand with the people of Norway.
Just as Aaron and Hur held up Moses' arms when they grew tired, will you join me in prayer for those whose arms are growing weary? Would you also pray for God to guide you how you might be a healing presence -- whether it is financially or by going to one of these affected areas and being the healing presence of Christ.
There is an urgent and acute need to intensify our response here at home. Much of the southern tip of Illinois lies beneath flood waters. Roads remain closed, schools are closed and people have moved from their homes due to high water. As the waters begin to recede, now is time for the church to mobilize in a big way and be ready to respond. Volunteers will be needed throughout the summer and many hands will be needed to help people throughout the entire region of southern Illinois.
Here are four very specific ways you may join in this effort.
Bishop Gregory V. Palmer invites United Methodists to pray for the people of Cote d'Ivoire as it is on the verge of a civil war following a disputed presidential election.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an opportunity and an invitation to Christians throughout the world to focus new and fresh energy on embodying in the church and the world the unity and oneness that God and the Christ of God, Jesus, intends for us.
Apportionments for 2010 finished at 92.91% -- the highest since 2000. Apportionments by no means tell the whole story of our financial stewardship let alone the ministry that is enabled. Today we remember, reflect and reconnect with the ongoing mission of recovery and rebuilding in Haiti and the IGRC's extraordinary generosity by which $780,396.17 were given through conference channels for recovery.
Bishop Gregory V. Palmer reflects on the shooting in Tucson, Ariz., in which a federal judge, a Congressional staffer and a 9-year-old girl were among the six dead in what appeared to be an assassination attempt on the life of U.S. Rep. Gabriella Giffords.
I was pleased last week that the Illinois General Assembly took up the important business of a capital construction bill that would tend to much needed infrastructure work and provide jobs.
But I was profoundly disappointed that the funding package for the program includes the dangerous expansion of gambling in Illinois. I am persuaded that such an expansion will do great injury and harm.
Remember, we are a people who live out their faith by observing "Three Simple Rules." The first of these rules is "do no harm."