ATLANTA: The General Board of Global Ministries is extending an invitation to United Methodist churches and annual conferences to participate in United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) Awareness Sunday. This new celebration Sunday offers an opportunity to recognize volunteers who offer their time, talents and abilities to serve others.
“UMVIM volunteers are engaged in God’s mission,” said Una Jones, Director of Mission Volunteers at Global Ministries. “This ministry stretches them to be in relationship with the partners they serve. Both the recipient and the volunteers learn so much from each other. This is a great reason to celebrate!”
The 2016 General Conference approved UMVIM Awareness Sunday as a time to recognize the ministry of “those who have served in short- and long-term missions and the work of UMVIM throughout the world.” (The 2016 Book of Discipline, paragraph 265.5)
UMVIM Awareness Sunday is an annual celebration held on a date determined by local churches or annual conferences. Laity Sunday, on October 15, 2017, is a suggested date to hold the event. Churches should consider:
- Asking a UMVIM volunteer to share their experience with the congregation
- Sharing a mission moment that lifts up the ministry of UMVIM during worship
- Recognizing volunteers in the congregation and/or annual conference
- Displaying photos or videos that highlight volunteer work
- Praying that God will use every aspect of UMVIM as an instrument of his grace and mercy, and that the ministry portrays Christian love in action
Global Ministries has created free downloadable resources to support UMVIM Awareness Sunday planning efforts. Resources are available at UMCmission.org/volunteer, and include:
- Bulletin insert, poster and PowerPoint presentation
- Mission moments, a sermon starter and a litany
- Facebook and email header images
Churches are encouraged to also recognize all of the volunteers in their congregation. If a special offering is incorporated into the celebration, giving should be directed to the annual conference’s UMVIM fund.