Dear Church Family,
As 2015 winds down I think back on what an incredible year it has been. The amazing growth of the food pantry, paying apportionments at 100% for the first time in over a decade, and the new young families who have joined us for worship – all nothing short of miraculous.
God is using each of us to grow the Kingdom, and in doing so we continue to live into what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. The process of following Jesus is never easy, but it is good. And God continues to do good things right here in and through our church family.
I believe the best way to share the blessings we’ve experienced is by honoring Jesus on his birthday. This Christmas I am asking your participation in giving to "the least of these," so that as a church family 100% of our Christmas offering goes to those displaced by war. One of 122 human beings is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum on Planet Earth. These numbers are staggering, and present a major global issue.
This Christmas we are partnering with the United Methodist Committee on Relief, Global Ministries, and hundreds of other local churches to support those who have nothing. Our commitment is not intended as a political statement. Rather it is about the right of every person to live with safety and dignity.
UMCOR has four major refugee initiatives that we are supporting through our Christmas Eve offering:
· Right to Stay. Support partner churches, organizations, and communities that are providing alternative possibilities for survival, directly in relation to the communities that are fleeing;
· Safe Passage. Provide protection and access to communication, as well as food, water, and shelter along the traveled routes;
· Welcoming and Belonging. Provide emergency assistance to communities overwhelmed by an influx of refugees and migrants, and provide support for welcoming and integrating the newcomers; and
· Support for the Returned. Provide assistance and support to those who have been returned or deported to their countries of origin, so that they may reintegrate with dignity.
Jesus' message challenges us to serve "the least of these," without restrictions, wherever they may live, and I am confident our church family will respond faithfully to where God is calling us. My challenge to you this year is to examine what you spent on Christmas, and if you are able, bring the same amount to support those who have nothing left.
On behalf of Karen and the kids, it is my sincerest hope you have an amazing Christmas season. Please join us for one of the three worship celebrations; 5pm (family worship), 7pm (contemporary), and 10pm (traditional). And, as always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 937.433.0880.
Together in the Mission,
Pastor Tony Miltenberger
p.s. – to learn more about what the Methodist Church is doing to help those who are currently displaced please check out the 8 minute video below.