It seems like a week has not passed lately without a catastrophic disaster of nature. There have always been such things since the dawn of time, but scientists are confirming that the force and breadth of these events have been more severe than usual.
Humanitarian crises result, and it all leaves us unsettled, sad and finding ways to alleviate suffering through the collection of flood buckets, health kits and donations to the UM Committee on Relief. There is hardly a person who does not know someone who has been displaced or adversely affected by hurricanes, floods and fires in our region.
Yet, the devastation from hurricanes, mudslides and earthquakes in countries around the world has left even more peoples’ lives destroyed due to their fragile infrastructures and the poverty many of our global friends must suffer and struggle through.
As we prepare for World Communion Sunday on Sunday, October 1, let us remember all people around the world who are suffering and the rescuers who rush in to aid those in need with great sacrifice and love. May we continue to collect offerings to offer them our help.
But may we also remember to support the efforts of many diverse United Methodists who, through higher education and training for leadership, are preparing their hearts and minds to relieve suffering and improve the lives of their churches and communities. Our United Methodist World Communion Sunday offering supports many of them with scholarships and grants, thus helping to prepare the next generation of leaders among us.
As we give to this Special Sunday offering, may we plant seeds for a brighter future of principled leaders. Leaders who will be able to guide the church into the days ahead, when we will likely see more storms but also more heroic Christian acts to rescue victims and aid survivors.
The love of God in Jesus Christ is passed on into the future through Christ’s devoted disciples and servant-leaders, as we help prepare those leaders with quality education today.
Please feel free to use this suggested “Great Thanksgiving” Communion liturgy, prepared by the Rev. Michael Johnson, on this World Communion Sunday or any appropriate Sunday during these trying times. May God bless you and your faithful ministries.
In remembrance of Christ,
Bishop Peggy Johnson