Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sacrament of Faith-filled Giving

The Rev. Jack Amick (center) and Ciony Ayo-Eduarte (left) join volunteers to load a truck at the offices of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) in Manila with relief supplies for survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Photo: A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.

By Rev. Jack Amick
UMCOR Assistant General Secretary, International Disaster Response

Somebody said to me once, “Whenever I hear about a disaster, I know that UMCOR is there; somehow, some way UMCOR is there or UMCOR is going to do something.” That’s a pretty big responsibility to bear. But it’s one that makes me very proud, and I’m honored and privileged to share in this work in this way. It’s a burden and a privilege at the same time.

United Methodists can be proud of the history we have with UMCOR, getting involved to help those who are suffering in times of natural or civil disaster, whatever their beliefs. When we engage in this ministry, we are, as John Wesley said, “Shedding the light of Christ abroad.”

Every grant we make in response to a disaster somewhere in the world is a reflection of UMCOR. Every grant is a gift from people not just in the United States but around the world. It’s a gift from United Methodists—and more than a gift. It’s a sacrament—an outward sign of an inward, spiritual gift—because it’s saying, “We want to be with you; we want to be present as Christ is present to us. We can’t, and so we’re going to do that through UMCOR and through UMCOR’s relationships.”

I look at financial giving to UMCOR as a sacramental act that churches make. We, as the International Disaster Response unit, have a profound trust and stewardship role to see that those funds are used for their intended purpose; to see that they’re used in accordance with international standards; and to see that every grant made everywhere in the world is a grant that works with the poor, ministers with them (not to them or at them), and respects their human rights.

Thank you for giving to One Great Hour of Sharing. This special offering the fourth Sunday in Lent (March 30 this year) covers UMCOR’s costs of doing business and allows United Methodists, through UMCOR, to be present to disaster survivors and to struggling communities endeavoring to build a better life. When you make a gift to One Great Hour of Sharing at this time or any time throughout the year, you make it possible for 100 percent of every other gift made to a specific project to be used solely for that project.

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