October 19, 2020
For I am convinced that neither Covid-19, nor racial tension, neither our presence in worship, nor our absence, neither a poverty of resources, nor divisions within our denomination, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ––A paraphrase of Romans 8:38-39
Paul assures us that no matter how many difficulties we face some 2.000 years after he walked this planet, nothing can separate us from the love of God. The only question we face is, “How will we respond to this ever-present gift?” The General Commission on United Methodist Men understands we face postponed events and division within our church, our country, our culture. We know we can’t do what we used to do because of pandemics, distrust, disappointment, limited resources, and uncertainty. Nevertheless, leaders in men’s and scouting ministries have done the remarkable. We are expanding our ministries.
We invite you to join our expansion team on October 19, our second annual Give Day.
The “why” is simple, there is a need to dramatically expand our discipleship opportunities for men and young people, and we have found ways to make that happen.
Former funding sources are struggling, and, last year, your generosity allowed us to provide a myriad of faith-building opportunities while finishing in the black.
Consider this, in the last six months hundreds of men and women, clergy, and laypeople across this country joined in a grass-roots prayer ministry. They met together electronically and prayed for three houses in five different settings. These were sponsored by United Methodist Men in the five U.S. jurisdictions. This is unprecedented. These men and women are hungry for more training and more resources.
Also, within the last six months, hundreds of scouting volunteers have been trained by professionals reflecting our work with youth in BSA, Girl Scouts, Campfire, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. In 2020, we trained more leaders in these areas than any previous year.
When face-to-face events were canceled, our work continued and expanded through technological processes. We lead the nation in these partnerships, and these volunteers want multiple days of training, not just a 60-minute webinar.
And in the last six months, multiple new Class Meetings have been created. Three eight-week trainings were held at the same time, and each member of those classes started new training on The Class Meetings within their context. These trained volunteers came from every U.S. jurisdiction. We combined replication with transformation.
In that same period of time, each jurisdiction has sponsored a 3-hour on-line “World Day of Prayer” and Gil Hanke and Bishop Swanson set plans to host a World Day of Prayer with leaders of The African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African American Episcopal Church Zion, and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.
We are called to reach and disciple more men and more youth, and the demand for more materials in men’s and scouting ministries dramatically increased during this year.
In spite of the increased costs, we are writing and producing much needed new print and electronic resources.
We are also bracing for a dramatic increase in travel once this pandemic is behind us. Yes, Zoom is serving us well, but face-to-face meetings with new users will be important as we move forward.
We were fortunate to have completed the meetings and elections of the National Association of Conference Presidents of United Methodist Men and the United Methodist Men Foundation just weeks before the pandemic hit the U.S. Each of these new leaders hopes your commission staff can help them in their context when travel is again possible.
Paul assures us that neither life nor death can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. We are expanding opportunities to share that good news and we hope you will join us in that effort on Oct. 19.