The importance of Peace with Justice for the UNY Conference
December 20, 2016 / By Heather Smith
With all the turmoil surrounding that past several weeks - election results, increased racial and religious intolerance, numerous shootings, etc. - now is the time for those of us who call ourselves United Methodist to take action. Prayer, study, and justice work are more important than ever. One way connect to this work is to support the Special Sunday offerings outlined in the Book of Discipline.
As your Peace with Justice Coordinator, I especially appeal to you all to consider the Peace with Justice Sunday offering, but I know that each person in the pews will have a different area of passion. Those with a heart for relief efforts will be keen on UMCOR Sunday (formerly One Great Hour of Sharing); some will have a special interest in United Methodist Student Sunday, World Communion Sunday, or Native American Ministries Sunday which provide scholarship for college students; still others will be interested in supporting Human Relations Sunday which supports outreach the at-risk youth and social justice efforts.
Each of these askings create occasions for folks in your congregations to find and connect with ministries beyond the local church. These are not offerings that should only be taken after your Ministry Shares are met. They are church-wide offerings meant to be taken in every United Methodist Church each year. The six Special Sunday offerings are giving opportunites that every UM church-goer should have the chance to support, please help spread the word about all the ministries of the church by promoting them.
As the Peace with Justice coordinator for the Upper NY Conference. I’ve had the task and pleasure to facilitate the PwJ Grant program. This year alone, we have supported:
- Adult life skills in Syracuse
- Statewide Protestant Chaplain Care Program
- Congregations for Social Justice Pilot Program
- Faith for Fair New York Conference on Economic and Racial Justice
- Networking and Conference on NYS Prison Chaplaincy
In 2015, we were able to help fund some ministries that have trickled into this year like:
- Leadership Training: Ministry with the Marginalized
- English as a Second Language Outreach in Rochester
- Trip to Palestine/Israel for two General Conference Delegates
- Development of a Congregational Program to Address Transgender Justice
If you’d like more information about any of these ministries, how to apply for a Peace with Justice Grant, or if you’d like me to talk with your church about the Peace with Justice Sunday program; please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-785-7383.
Although Peace with Justice Sunday is recommended for the Sunday after Pentecost, it is not too late to present it to your congregation. Christmas is a wonderful time to combine the messages of Social Justice and preparing a way for Christ in our lives.
May Peace and Justice be our goal in the coming year!