Strempke: So why give to UMCOR this Sunday?

The pastor tells how the relief agency uses the dollars you send

“Why should our church take up an offering for UMCOR Sunday? We already sent money to UMCOR for Hurricane Harvey and Irma relief.”

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is one of the best ways The United Methodist Church answers Jesus’ call to the “least of these my brothers and sisters.” UMCOR is the relief and refugee arm of the UMC. And when gifts are given to particular disasters, 100 percent of those gifts go to that disaster; none goes to administration.

UMCOR advertisementWhy? Because The United Methodist Church pays for the administration through our gifts on UMCOR Sunday. Yes, you gave to disaster relief — thank you! UMCOR has given 6,732 buckets and 5,469 kits in addition to $2.3 million in Hurricane Harvey relief in Texas and Louisiana, as well as 5,616 cleaning/flood buckets and 2,688 health/hygiene kits and $1 million to Hurricane Irma relief in Florida.

But all the disaster relief was ready because you gave to UMCOR Sunday. Funds from UMCOR Sunday underwrite the administrative costs. So when we proudly announce in our communities, “I know a group where 100 percent of your gift will go toward relief,” it’s because we already took care of the administrative costs.

You might ask, “Why should our church take up an offering on UMCOR Sunday? We pay all our apportionments each year.”

UMCOR receives no apportionment money. Nobody believes that on first hearing, so here it is again: UMCOR receives no apportionment money. Good for you for paying your apportionments! Please take an offering on UMCOR Sunday to extend that good work even further.

Maybe you ask, “Why should our church take up an offering on UMCOR Sunday? Doesn’t the Red Cross take care of people in disaster?”

The Red Cross is a blessing to those of us in the United States. It comes into disaster areas very early in the process. UMCOR usually arrives a couple of weeks after the Red Cross. But UMCOR is normally the last agency to leave a disaster area, long after the Red Cross is gone.

Plus UMCOR is active in disaster sites all over the world, not just in the United States. Because of UMCOR, you are helping people in Mozambique recover from Cyclone Dineo. Because of UMCOR, you are ministering to refugees from the Sudan. Because of UMCOR, you are financing farmers in Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil.

UMCOR Sunday is officially the fourth Sunday of Lent, which is March 11 in 2018. Many churches take up their UMCOR Sunday offering at a different time, such as doing a communion rail offering or a special offering at Easter, during Vacation Bible School, at Thanksgiving or Christmas.

There is plenty of material to help you explain UMCOR Sunday, from posters and offering envelopes to Facebook banners and videos. Go to this link to see what will help your church. For personal help, contact Rev. Kathryn Strempke at 972-264-6148.

And some may ask, “Why should our church take up an offering on UMCOR Sunday?” Because you are UMCOR, and UMCOR is you. Because of you, the love of Jesus is spread all over the world.

Rev. Kathryn Strempke, senior pastor at First UMC Grand Prairie.

Published: Wednesday, March 7, 2018