Peace with Justice Sunday is fast approaching!
June 11th, the Sunday after Pentecost, is the prescribed Sunday to collect this important offering. If it is not the best Sunday for your congregation – no problem, schedule it another time. The important part is to present this giving opportunity to your congregation!
Half of all the funds collected for Peace with Justice stay right here in our Conference to be used to fund justice ministries. This year, we have changed up our grant program a bit. The most important changes are that 1) we only consider applications twice a year (April and October) and 2) the maximum amount for each grant is $2,000. These changes are to help ensure that we can spread funds throughout the Conference and give us a chance to replenish our coffers in between grant deadlines.
This spring, the Social Holiness team considered and approved three grant applications. The NYS Labor-Religion was awarded $2,000 to help fund a series of conferences to raise awareness of poverty. NYS Council of Churches will receive $2,000 to support a three-day conference on Bridging the Urban-Rural Divide to be held this July. $1,832 was awarded to Faithful Citizen, Inc. to fund workshops around the Conference, teaching congregations about becoming energy efficient as a step toward climate justice.
As I have said repeatedly as the Peace with Justice Coordinator, I am mostly concerned with participation around our Conference. If every congregation gave $1.00 that would be 100 percent participation, an increase of more than 80 percent over our recent years! The Peace with Justice offering is just one of the six Special Sunday offerings that the Book of Discipline mandates to be taken by every congregation. Not second-mile giving, but an opportunity for the members to find a passion and contact with the greater United Methodist Church.
There are a lot of ways to address these Special Offerings. You can take advantage of the free multi-media resources put out by the church (umcgiving.org), create your own envelopes to pass out with bulletins, or have the children pass containers through the congregation to collect pocket change.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like more information about the programs that have received grants or would like information on applying for your own grant.