All of us are witnessing once more the work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti. UMCOR is also gearing up to be of assistance in Chile following its earthquake and tsunami. We are grateful that our Church has an agency through which we can be in mission in times of disaster, and we are proud of the recognition that UMCOR receives from the international community of disaster responders.
Recently, the Rev. Tom Hazelwood met with the Rev. Beth Fogle-Miller, Director of Connectional Ministries, Mrs. Marilyn Swanson, Director of Disaster Recovery, and me. Tom is an Assistant General Secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries who is now carrying much of the responsibility of the late Rev. Sam Dixon, the Deputy General Secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries, who perished in the Hotel Montana during the earthquake in Haiti. Tom briefed us on the work of UMCOR in Haiti, and he learned about how Florida congregations and the whole conference are developing plans for future involvement in Haiti. Tom is an old friend of our conference since he was involved in our response to the three major hurricanes in 2004as well as a number of other disasters. Once again, UMCOR is planning to be involved at the scene of a disaster during the recovery phase long after the disaster has occured.
I wish every congregation would receive an offering every year for One Great Hour of Sharing, but it is really extremely important for congregations to do so in 2010.
Many United Methodists know that every penny they contribute to UMCOR is used for ministry, and that not one penny is used for the administration of UMCOR. What many do not know is that the administrative funds for running UMCOR come from the special offering known as One Great Hour of Sharing. These administrative funds do not come from apportioned dollars, but from the special offering only. That is how UMCOR can operate and not use for its own administration any money from appeals in times of disaster, such as the appeal for help in Haiti. Given all the responsibilities UMCOR is bearing, and considering how stressful it is for our colleagues who have to work with the loss of Sam Dixon, I ask each congregation to provide an opportunity for its members to contribute to One Great Hour of Sharing.
I know these are difficult times for many people in the present economy, and I am deeply grateful for the generosity of Christians in the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church for your responses to the appeals to give to UMCOR and to The Methodist Church in Haiti. I lift up this special offering because I think you would want to know that UMCOR as an agency depends on One Great Hour of Sharing to survive, and you would want to show your support as you are able.
The recommended Sunday to receive One Great Hour of Sharing is March 14, 2010, the Fourth Sunday in Lent. If it cannot be received on March 14th, then it can be taken at another time.