(The United Methodist Relay, September 2013)
This fall, A Future with Hope Mission Fund Campaign will be in full swing in United Methodist Churches around the conference. Approved during the 2013 Annual Conference and officially launched with a comprehensive manual sent to all clergy and lay leaders, the Campaign will raise $12 million dollars over the next 3 years.
To help congregations implement the campaign, the Conference is making available every resource possible:
- A comprehensive manual outlining each step and a timeline for implementation
- A 4-week worship series for clergy to use during the campaign
- A small group study on Three Simple Questions
- A list of guest preachers and speakers
- Videos on Imagine No Malaria and our Sandy recovery work
- Field coordinators to work with volunteer leadership
- A webinar series to help campaign planners
- Mission ideas
- Promotional support from UMCOM
- And more.
These materials are being posted to GNJ’s website www.gnjumc.org/missionfund and can be emailed or mailed in hard copy by request.
In addition, thanks to a grant from Imagine No Malaria, the Conference has hired a full-time field coordinator, Rebecca Nichols, to support the campaign and congregations.
A cornerstone of this campaign is that 25% of all monies raised will remain in the local churches to support local mission. To encourage local mission, each congregation is encouraged to conduct a mission project during the 4-week campaign period. To aid in this effort, the Conference will be sponsoring Hope Week, the last week of October, which will provide the opportunity for churches to participate in a tangible way in Sandy recovery while we mark the one year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. More information on Hope Week will be shared with congregations in the coming weeks.
“Mission work is why we are United Methodists. With this campaign, we have a unique opportunity to connect on the local, regional and global level”, says Rev. Dr. Regina Hendrickson, St. Pastor, St. Andrew’s UMC in Cherry Hill and a member of A Future with Hope Board of Directors.
Sandy recovery is the second leg of this campaign and a full $7 million of the monies raised will be dedicated to the Conference’s work to help the most vulnerable populations in long term recovery. A Future with Hope, the nonprofit organization initiated by the Conference to handle Sandy recovery, has started work on more than a dozen homes and has hosted close to 1000 construction volunteers since recovery work began in March. In addition to the generous support received by United Methodist congregations, A Future with Hope has received generous funding from UMCOR, The Robin Hood Foundation and the American Red Cross.
Bobbie Ridgely, Director of A Future with Hope, thinks the Mission Fund Campaign does more than raise money, “It is a great opportunity for churches to connect with local communities and make a difference in the lives of people in need. I’m excited for the work ahead and to connect with our local churches.”
The third leg of the campaign is to help end deaths from malaria in Africa. Malaria is a treatable and stoppable disease. The Conference support of Imagine No Malaria will help end the senseless deaths of thousands of people, mostly children, in Africa.
In his address at Annual Conference, Bishop Schol described the campaign and the need as God-sized. “Why do we do this?” said Bishop Schol, “When people hurt, United Methodists heal; when people lose hope, United Methodists become a future with hope; when people do not have enough, United Methodists help.”
Monday - August 19, 2013