United Methodist giving is about people working together to accomplish something bigger than themselves. In so doing, we affect change in the world in the name of Jesus Christ. We do this in our individual congregations, of course. In Minnesota, approximately 90 percent of every dollar put into in the offering plate supports the work of the particular United Methodist congregation that received it. The rest goes beyond our walls to help heal a broken world.
We give because God first gave to us. One way we express our gratitude is through six special denominational Sunday offerings each year. They are received for various ministries and recommended for certain times of the year, although they can be received at any time.
Here’s a look at each of the Special Sundays and how the funds collected for them are used:
• One Great Hour of Sharing is usually received during Lent. It enables the United Methodist Committee of Relief (UMCOR) to reach out and ease pain and suffering by providing humanitarian aid after disasters. This offering covers administrative expenses so that 100 percent of donations given to particular UMCOR projects and appeals can go directly to them.
• Native American Ministries Sunday is usually received in April. It supports ministries in the Twin Cities and northern Minnesota as well as nationwide, and it equips and empowers Native American pastors, congregations, and seminary students to authentically worship and serve Jesus.
• Peace with Justice Sunday is usually received in the late spring. It supports global ministries of reconciliation through the United Methodist Board of Church and Society.
• World Communion Sunday is usually received on the first Sunday in October. It supports scholarships for ethnic students who will be the first generation in their families to attend college—and for people of color who haven’t historically had access to resources that make higher education possible.
• United Methodist Student Day is usually scheduled in late fall. Funds are awarded as scholarships and loans to United Methodist students who wouldn’t otherwise have the resources to attend college.
• Human Relations Day is usually received on the Sunday before Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. It helps support outreach to people living on the margins of society in communities in the United States and Puerto Rico.
In addition to the special offerings listed above, Bishops’ Appeals are occasionally made by the United Methodist Council of Bishops, typically in response to a national or international disaster. The Love Offering is also collected each year within Minnesota United Methodist churches and delivered to annual conference session. It benefits international, national, and Minnesota missions. The conference Mission Promotion Team determines the annual recipients.
Lyndy Zabel is director of missional impact for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church