In an effort to raise mission awareness and to highlight the many opportunities our Congregation has to support a wide variety of special needs in our world, the Mission Committee has designated the third Sunday of each month as â€œMission Sundayâ€. On June 15 we are launching our â€œthird Sundayâ€ initiative by recognizing one of the six â€œSpecial Sundaysâ€ designated by the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church, Native American Ministries Sunday.
The special Sundays are dedicated to supporting underserved populations of the Methodist community. Of the 8.3 million U.S. members of the United Methodist Church, only 19,000 are Native Americans. Urban areas, where 63% of the Native American members live, have particular difficulties. Urban Native American populations are transient — 80% come for employment or education and many leave once those have ended. The goals of the United Methodist Church are to establish a church home with a permanent Native American pastor who can connect with these isolated and alienated people in ways that non-Native Americans never could, and to sustain an active church membership in a place where these people feel they belong â€“ both to one another and to God.
Of the receipts from this special Sunday, 50% is used to develop and strengthen Native American ministries within the conference. Of this amount, half helps to fund higher education for Native American Methodist leaders and the other half goes to those urban ministries where leaders are dealing with members from a variety of tribes, many of whom have had no exposure to Christianity. The other 50% of the receipts is dedicated to scholarships for Native Americans who attend seminary.
Last year the nationwide Native American Ministries Sunday offering totaled an average of only 4 cents per U.S. member! With our proud tradition of mission support, we can do better than that!
Your offering on June 15 will help to expand the United Methodist presence among a severely underserved population. Please give as generously as you can.