People of all ages respond to the rituals of Christmas in ways we don’t fully understand. Ritual has a way of forming us, and involving many people in your church in Advent and Christmas rituals expands the rituals’ potential for impacting people in a new way. For instance, many churches include families or people of different ages in the lighting of the Advent wreath during worship each Sunday.
The September 2010 issue of The Current is a milestone on a number of fronts.
As the pace of activity quickens let us together resolve to work smart, to focus on those activities that have the greatest likelihood of “high yield”, and to remember to cease from doing on a regular basis (Sabbath) in order to renew and remember whose work we are really engaged in.
Every natural disaster reminds us of the valuable ministry our connection provides through the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Over the past five years, UMCOR's capacity has been stretched to serve the needs in earthquake ravaged Haiti and even more recently, in the upper Midwest, with flooding in Iowa. This is by no means a complete list of all that UMCOR does in the name of Jesus with your help and support.
But our mission and the mission of UMCOR is one that circles the globe. UMCOR was there and remains in Southeast Asia where a tsunami hit in December 2004 and they also have a presence in flood-stricken Pakistan.
Kara Crawford's Reflections on the second full day of the Global Young People's Convocation and Legislative Assembly, a quadrennial gathering of United Methodist young people (and adults who work with them).
Kara Crawford's Reflections on the first full day of the Global Young People's Convocation and Legislative Assembly, a quadrennial gathering of United Methodist young people (and adults who work with them).
As you look for ways to provide a loving witness to our sisters and brothers, consider the following ways in which you can be a part:
- Be in prayer for not only the storm victims but for those who come to lend a hand. Pray especially for public safety officials and utility line personnel who will log an enormous number of hours as these communities begin the journey toward normalcy.
- Prepare teams of personnel to travel to Streator and Dwight to volunteer. If you have particular gifts, such as carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, construction or cooking, you indeed are gifted for this type of ministry. But even if you don’t, there is a place for general manual labor that can be a healing presence to those who have lived through these storms.
- Encourage your congregation to take up a special offering to provide financial resources for the IGRC Conference Disaster Relief Fund - IGRC Advance # 6800. We are just at the beginning of the storm season. Having funds in hand enables us to respond when the need arises.
Additionally, conference staff are arranging disaster response and pastoral care training. Prayerfully consider attending and become equipped for this much needed type of ministry.
Though the session is over, the robust energy and spiritual blessing abide. I pray the time on the proverbial mountain top will translate into continued fruitful ministry in all the congregations, ministries and communities of the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference.
We started Annual Conference with many signs of faithfulness and fruitfulness. I am persuaded that the opportunity to celebrate and reflect together June 2-5 further positions us to have sharpened focus about the strengths we bring to address the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Change for the sake of change is foolhardy at best. But change is real and often necessary. So I invite you to experience change (whether you sought it or it sought you) – in your life, ministry, relationships – as an opportunity to claim the future that God holds before you. Harry Emerson Fosdick said ‘Christians are supposed not merely to endure change, nor even to profit by it, but to cause it”. Let’s embrace the changes before us as blessed opportunity and every now and again even summon up the courage to initiate change.