As a part of this year's conference theme of Ministry on the Margins, our annual Bridge of Love offering sponsored by the Conference Board of Global Ministries at Annual Conference will focus on supporting ministries with displaced populations. As such, we have identified the following three UMC affiliated ministries as beneficiaries:
1) ADVANCE #3022144 - UMCOR Global Refugee/Migration - around the world there are millions of refugees who have been displaced from their homes due to war, persecution and violence. They are in search of safety, protection and a chance at life. Those who embark on their treacherous journeys include Syrians, Iraqis and Afghanis migrating northward. Funds go to partner churches and organizations that are providing alternative possibilities for survival; food, water and shelter along the traveled routes; and emergency assistance to communities overwhelmed by the influx of refugees.
2) Crossroads Urban Center, Salt Lake City - provides services to hungry, homeless and/or low-income people. It is also a major participant in two committees that co-advocate with low-income people to address issues such as simplifying "Food Stamp" applications; Medicaid funding; low-income housing; and affordable public transportation.
3) Denver Urban Matters (DenUM) - provides emergency and stabilization services to people in need. In addition, DenUM provides Employment Services to help job-seekers overcome barriers to employment. These clients are often people recently released from the Department of Corrections or are homeless.
4) Wyoming Association of Churches - leads advocacy and community engagement work for churches to promote justice, including for displaced persons. They are currently are working to get a Refugee Resettlement Plan in Wyoming, the only state without one.
The Bridge of Love offerings will be taken first thing Saturday morning, June 11, as Annual Conference attendees enter the plenary session room. Watch for the people with the buckets! You are also invited to go forth and start collecting for the Bridge of Love offering at your churches as early as you would like!
During this year's Lay Session, a special offering will be taken up to support new Fresh Expressions that are being launched throughout the RMC. These Fresh Expressions seek to be communities that are missional in their approach, contextual in their methods, formational in regards to discipleship, and ecclesial in their long term planning.