Denominational Data

Denominational Data

Gathering Denominational Data

The annual gathering and compilation of United Methodist church statistics requires the assistance of numerous people across the connection. We are deeply appreciative of those persons and their efforts. Our gratitude goes out to the pastors and other local church leaders who give their time and effort to complete the Annual Statistical Reports. Their attention to detail makes it possible to publish an accurate resource of United Methodist Church Data.

We are also thankful for all the annual conference secretaries, statisticians and treasurers for collecting and submitting the information for their annual conferences. The denomination-wide collection of this data would not be possible without their administrative ministries.

The assistance of all these people makes UMData.org possible. Through their faithful and efficient work, UMData provides appointment information and statistical history of local churches, annual conferences, and jurisdictions. A sincere and heartfelt thank you to United Methodist employees who collect, vet and combine the voluminous information that makes United Methodist Data so readily available.

God bless you and may He continue to guide your work.

Ministry of Hospitality

Ministry of Hospitality

UMCmarket.com can help support ministries in the most unlikely places. In the respected halls of academia, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafts from the office of the Wesley Foundation at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), in Murfreesboro, TN. This smell of coffee helps to usher students into a ministry of hospitality.

When the MTSU Wesley Foundation meets, it is able to provide not only holy fellowship in the Wesleyan tradition to the students who attend, but also drinks and snacks.

Reverend Tyson Ferguson who oversees the Foundation says, “With the dollars from UMCmarket we are able to purchase fair trade coffee through equal exchange and provide free coffee and tea to students at the MTSU Wesley Foundation on a daily basis. Having drinks and snacks is one way we are able to be a ministry of hospitality to the students, build relationships, and share about their faith journey in a meaningful way.”

By using UMCmarket and designating the MTSU Wesley Foundation as their ministry to support, Reverend Ferguson points out that alumni, friends, and others have an opportunity to provide support in a new and innovative way.

He notes that “Extension ministries, like Wesley Foundations, have to raise funds and programs like the UMCmarket are helpful in keeping mission outreach possible.”

With UMCmarket.org, those who shop online can select from several thousand vetted retailers who offer a percentage-of-the-purchase-donation to a local church or other UM ministry.  Each purchase generates a donation to the ministry.  When several people select that ministry, the donation grows.

“… but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.”  Proverbs 13:11b (NIV)

Meditation Monday: Love Thy Neighbor

Love Thy Neighbor

“Love thy neighbor” is a precept often found in Christian vernacular, but sometimes difficult to practice. There is an apocryphal story of a church in the mid-west, who had an atheist that attended church every Sunday. He helped out with regular church activities and when asked why an atheist would go to church he answered, “I like the people.”

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.  Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:5-6 ESV

I suspect for the church the sentiment was the same, they liked him. Despite their deep differences, this atheist and this church were able to form community with one another. They saw beyond their differences to the fact that they were all human beings trying to find their way in this world. While they fundamentally disagreed on how to do that, they still loved one another.

Love Thy Neighbor

“… in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3: 15-16 ESV

“Gracious,” “gentleness,” and “respect,” all words used by the biblical writers to help guide Christians in their dealings with those who don’t believe as they do. Certainly these words can also be used between Christians when we disagree over important matters.

Dear God, may the early church be our example in how we can disagree with those in and out of the faith. Help us to be gracious, gentle and respectful of one another because we are all your children. In your son’s name, Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Meditation Monday: Refugee Relief

 

Photo of Syrian refugees coming ashore on the Greek island of Lesbos that accompanied the Guardian‘s editorial (9/3/15) condemning “the refusal to intervene against Bashar al-Assad.” (photo: Angelos Tzortzinis/Getty)

 

Matthew 25:35b: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

The refugee humanitarian crisis in Europe has given me pause to ask the question, “What can I do?”

As an individual Christian I can pray. Pray for the refugees who in seeking to do better by their families, are often victimized on the journey to freedom from hunger, tyranny and violence. Pray for those caring for them. Pray for an end to the wars that are causing these refugees to flee from their homes in terror. I can also, through my local church, provide financial support by giving to the Advance projects directed to aid people in the most need.

As General Secretary of the General Council on Finance and Administration, I am incredibly grateful to be a part of the process of connecting United Methodist annual conferences, districts, local churches, and organizations, as well as individuals and families to those agencies, missionaries and affiliated groups who are in the trenches, serving persons displaced by the fighting in Syria and Iraq.

GCFA, through the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) processes the gifts that come into the church and sends it to those in need. One hundred percent of all Advance giving goes to the chosen mission project or ministry.

Refugee Relief

GivingStatistic

If you would like to take part in this ministry, contributions to UMCOR’s ongoing work with the refugee relief in Europe and the Middle East should be made to the International Disaster Relief Fund, Advance #982450, at www.umcmission.org/Give-to-Mission/Search-for-Projects/Projects/982450. UMCOR has allocated $2 million to provide the basics of life to persons displaced in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Turkey.

 

Prayer:

Lord, Jesus having been found a stranger in his own hometown, we know you as the God to the outsider, the migrant, the ones who find themselves in a foreign land. As you once walked in the cool of the garden with Adam and Eve, help us to also walk with those who have been displaced by war and violence as they journey to somewhere safer, Lord. Bless the gifts of food, time, and finances that are given throughout the UMC connection and all people of faith that strive to keep your commandment to love one another as ourselves. Amen.