By: Lyndy Zabel
As you probably already know, great things happen when Methodists are UNITED.
We have many opportunities to unite throughout the year, and one of the ways we do so is through our financial support. More than 850 projects, or “Advances,” approved by the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries meet a wide range of needs, from helping survivors cope with disasters to helping communities build churches, feed and educate children, and equip hospitals and clinics.
Since its founding in 1948, The Advance has helped channel more than 3 million gifts totaling more than $1 billion to thousands of projects and ministries.
While people can give to an approved project at any time of year, there is one day when we are especially encouraged to work together to make an impact: “Giving Tuesday,” which is on Dec. 2 this year. Our extravagant generosity on that day makes a statement about our thankful spirit during the season of Advent, shifting our energy and focus away from secular consumerism and instead toward maximizing the impact of thousands of United Methodists coming together to transform the world. Last year, a record-breaking $6.5 million was given in one day by 11,000 donors in 34 countries.
The General Board of Global Ministries will provide matching funds, dollar for dollar, for the first $1 million in gifts to Advance projects that are received online on that day. A maximum of $2,500 per individual gift will be matched, and each Advance project may receive a maximum of $25,000 in matching funds.
You may give to any Advance(s) that you’d like to support. There are three that the Minnesota Conference is highlighting for your consideration:
• Disaster Response, International (Advance #982450) will help the efforts of those fighting Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. The United Methodist Church’s response involves treatment, prevention, communication, and public education.
• Feed My Starving Children (Advance #171282) provides nutritious meals to children in nearly 70 countries around the world. Supporting this project continues the Minnesota Conference’s “Million Meals Marathon,” through which United Methodists across the state have packed more than 2.7 million meals since January.
• Vietnam Mission Initiative (Advance #14932A) will help support the Minnesota Conference’s developing partnership with orphanages in Ho Chi Minh and surrounding areas.
Here’s how to give:
1. Between Midnight and 11:59 p.m. Dec. 2, go to www.umcmission.org/give.
2. Enter the project or Advance number, or select a missionary you wish to support.
3. On the page of the project or missionary you want to support, click “Give Now.”
4. Follow the prompts on the donation screen, which include specifying the name of your church.
5. Payment must be made online using a credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover are all honored).
6. Your donation, up to $2,500, will be doubled (provided that some of the $1 million in matching funds remains when you donate).
*Note that you may give to multiple projects. Follow the process listed above for each project using the appropriate Advance number.
As we look for ways to break out of the consumer-driven shopping traditions of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday and start the holiday season by giving instead of getting, consider making a gift to one of these three Advances.
Thanks for your commitment to living out God’s mission to heal a broken world.
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