SPECIAL SUNDAYS
OF THE
UNITED METHODIST
CHURCH

The Special Sundays in The United Methodist Church are intended to be illustrative of the nature and calling of the church and are celebrated annually. The special Sundays are placed on the calendar to make clear the calling of the church as the people of God, and to give persons the opportunity of contributing offerings to special programs.

Six special churchwide Sundays provide for chuchwide offerings to do deeds expressive of our commitment:

Three special Sundays are without offering:

Four churchwide Sundays:

The special Sundays approved by General Conference shall be the only Sundays of churchwide emphasis. The program calendar of the denomination shall include only the special Sundays approved by General Conference, special Sundays approved by ecumenical agencies to which The United Methodist Church is officially related, and the days and seasons of the Christian Year.

Because of the diversity of history and heritages experienced by the central conferences, they shall not be required to observe all of the special days listed above. The central conferences are authorized to observe other special days appropriate to their unique history and heritages.

Annual conferences may determine other special Sundays with or without offering. Special Sundays with offering shall be approved by the annual conference upon recommendation of the annual conference council on ministries in consultation with annual conference council on finance and administration. Special Sundays without offering shall be approved by the annual conference upon recommendation of the annual conference council on ministries.

Six special churchwide Sundays with offerings shall be celebrated in each United Methodist Church.

Purpose --

The purpose of the churchwide offerings shall be determined by General Conference upon recommendation of the General Council on Finance and Administration, after consultation with the Council of bishops and the General Council on Ministries. The purpose of these funds shall remain constant for the quadrennium, and the net receipts shall be distributed on ration to the administering agencies by the treasurer of the General Council on Finance and Administration. The funds shall be promoted by the General Commission on Communication in cooperation with the agencies responsible for the administration of these funds.


2014 Special Sunday Offerings Dates

Human Relations Day - January 19.

One Great Hour of Sharing - March 16.

Native American Ministries Sunday - April 20.

Peace with Justice Sunday - June 1.

World Communion Sunday - October 5.

United Methodist Student Day - November 23.

More information about these and other days may be found below.


Human Relations Day

Human Relations Day shall be observed with an offering, preferably on the Sunday before the observance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. This Sunday occurs during Epiphany, the season of manifesting God’s light to the world. Human Relations Day calls the Church to recognize the right of all God’s children in realizing their potential as human beings in relationship with each other. The purpose of the day is to further the development of better human relations.

“It doesn’t matter where we work, what we do,
how many degrees we have or where we grew up.

What matters is having the willingness to serve God
in the most unusual places.”

The Human Relations Day offering makes it possible for community developers to turn lives around and make a change for the better. The Human Relations Day offering helps church-based community developers work in racial- and ethnic-minority communities in the United States and Puerto Rico. The offering also ensures a second chance for youth offenders. “My passion for this work lives because I understand I cannot call myself a Christian if I live blinded by the [situations] that surround me,” Delia adds.

Why do we celebrate this offering on the Sunday before the observance of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday? Because as United Methodists we believe in the development of better human relations and we seek to empower others to become the whole persons God intended.

The 1972 General Conference established Human Relations Day to “recognize the right of all God’s children in realizing their potential as human beings in relationship with each other.” Every one of God’s children deserves justice and equality. Every one of God’s children deserves to open doors to success.

To learn more about Human Relations Day and to donate online, click here.


One Great Hour of Sharing

One Great Hour of Sharing shall be observed with an offering, preferably on the Fourth Sunday in Lent. Lent is the season of repentance, self-examination, and awareness of the hurts of the peoples of the world. One Great Hour of Sharing calls the Church to share the goodness of life with those who hurt.

The observance shall be under the general supervision of the General Commission on Communication. Insofar as possible, the planning and promotion of the One Great Hour of Sharing shall be done cooperatively with other denominations through the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., it being understood, however, that receipts shall be administered by The United Methodist Church. Net receipts from the offering, after payment of the expenses of promotion, shall be remitted by the treasurer of the General Council on Finance and Administration to the General Board of Global Ministries, to be administered by the United Methodist Committee on Relief. With funding from One Great Hour of Sharing, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) supports these and many other life changing ministries:


World Communion Sunday

World Communion Sunday shall be observed with an offering, preferably on the first Sunday of October. World Communion Sunday calls the church to be the catholic inclusive church. In connection with World Communion Sunday there shall be a churchwide appeal conducted by the General Commission on Communication in accord with the following directives: Each local church shall be requested to remit all the communion offering received on World Communion Sunday and such portion of the communion offering received at other observances of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper as the local church may designate.


United Methodist Student Day

United Methodist Student Day shall be observed with an offering, preferably on the last Sunday in November or another Sunday appropriate to the local church. United Methodist Student Day calls the Church to support students as they prepare for life in uniting faith with knowledge. The offering receipts support the United Methodist scholarships and the United Methodist Student Loan Fund. The funds shall be administered by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.


Peace with Justice Sunday

Peace with Justice Sunday shall be observed with an offering, preferably on the first Sunday after Pentecost. Pentecost celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit calling for God’s shalom. Peace with Justice witnesses to God’s demand for a faithful, just, disarmed, and secure world. The observance of Peace with Justice Sunday shall be under the general supervision of the General Board of Church and Society.

In a world where 250.000 children are forced to be fighters or sex slaves. the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the largest persistent violator, according to the United Nations Security Council. Because of the war. young boys are forced to enlist In the rebel army. Sexual assault of women and young girls has become the norm.

Compounding the problem is ‘conflict mineral.’ the selling of copper, tungsten, tin and other minerals to support war efforts. Unfortunately. minerals sold to global supply chains and corporations may be used as components for electronics that are part of our everyday lives: mobile phones. MP3 players and computers.

United Methodists are trying to do something about it.

Armed with a grant from the Peace with Justice Sunday offering, the Jerusalem Justice and Peace Ministry OWN) is assisting communities in the DRC. While physical and emotional healing is vital, the ministry also challenges unjust systems.

‘We cannot keep quiet if there is something wrong.” said JJPM executive Dr Leonard kabwita. JJPM workshops educate and empower Congolese people about justice issues in their communities and seek local solutions to close the gap between rich and poor.

When you give to Peace with Justice Sunday, you support ministries in the DRC, the United States and worldwide to remove unjust systems and equip the victimized to live more fulfilled lives.


Native American Ministries Sunday

Native American Ministries Sunday shall be observed with an offering, preferably on the third Sunday of Easter. This Sunday serves to remind the church of the gifts and contributions made by Native Americans to our society. The observance of native American Awareness Sunday will be under the general supervision of the General Board of Global Ministries.

YOUR GIFTS SUPPORT NATIVE AMERICAN MINISTRIES

Whether it's providing shelter for victimsof domestic violence, filling food pantries, starting new churches or educating Native American seminary students, the special offering is one way United Methodists honor Native Americans.

YOUR ANNUAL CONFERENCE KEEPS 50 PERCENT OF THE SPECIAL OFFERING TO DEVELOP AND STRENGTHEN NATIVE AMERICAN MINISTRIES IN THE CONFERENCE

The rest of the money goes to programs benefiting Native Americans in cities throughout the United States. Your gifts also provide scholarships to Native Americans attending United Methodist and other approved schools of theology.

To learn more about Native American Ministries Sunday and to donate on line, visit this website.


Heritage Sunday

In 2004, Heritage Sunday observance changed from around April 23 (the day in 1968 when The United Methodist Church was created by the union of The Evangelical United Brethren Church and The Methodist Church) to a date closer to May 24 (the date of Wesley's experience at Aldersgate). Heritage Sunday calls the Church to remember the past by committing itself to the continuing call of God.

The observance of Heritage Sunday shall be under the general supervision of the General Commission on Archives and History. Any general agency of the Church which desires to recommend a theme for a give year for this Sunday may do so one year prior to the observance for which the recommendation is made. This recommendation is to be made to the General Commission Archives and History, and the decision of the annual theme of this Sunday shall be made by the voting members of the General Commission on Archives and History.


Laity Sunday

Laity Sunday shall be observed annually, preferably on the third Sunday in October. Laity Sunday calls the church to celebrate the ministry of all lay Christians, as their lives are empowered for ministry by the Holy Spirit. The observance of laity Sunday shall be under the general supervision of the General Board of discipleship. Any general agency of the Church that desires to recommend a theme for a given year for this Sunday may do so two years prior to the observance for which the recommendation is made. This recommendation is to be made the General Board of Discipleship, and the decision of the annual theme of this Sunday shall be made by the voting members of the General Board of Discipleship.


Organ and Tissue Donor Sunday

Organ and Tissue Donor Sunday shall be observed annually, preferably on the second Sunday in November since the date is close to Thanksgiving and is viewed as time to come together around the issues of life and Thanksgiving.  Congregations are encouraged to support Organ and Tissue Donor Sunday by including the topic in their worship services.   Worship resource materials are available at all of the not-for-profit donor programs in the United States.


Christian Education Sunday

Christian Education Sunday shall be observed on a date determined by the annual conference. It calls the Church as the people of God to be open to growth and learning as disciples of Jesus Christ. If the annual conference so directs, an offering may be received for the work of Christian education within the annual conference.  The observance of Christian Education Sundy shall be under the general supervision of the General Board of Discipleship. Attention is focused on Christian education in the conference, and an offering may be collected to support that work.


Golden Cross Sunday

Golden Cross Sunday shall be observed annually on a date determined by the annual conference. If the annual conference so directs, an offering may be received for the work of health and welfare ministries in the annual conference.  The observance of Golden Cross Sunday shall be under the general supervision of the General Board of Global Ministries. Local congregations in the Central Texas Conference collect money designated to assist the medically indigent treated in Harris Methodist hospitals, address the preventative medicine needs of UM congregations through support of Faith Community Nursing, and provide scholarships for area UM nurses who wish to receive training in FCN.


Rural Life Sunday

Rural Life Sunday shall be observed on a date to be determined by the annual conference. Rural Life Sunday shall call the Church to celebrate the rural heritage of The United Methodist Church, to recognize the ongoing crisis occurring in rural areas of the nation and world today, and to affirm the interdependence of rural and urban communities.

The observance of Rural Life Sunday shall be under the general supervision of the general Board of Global Ministries. Anyone who desires to recommend a theme for a given year for this Sunday may do so one year prior to the observance for which the recommendation is made. This recommendation is to be made to the General Board of Global Ministries, and the decision of the annual theme of this Sunday shall be made by the voting members of the General board of global Ministries. If the annual conference so directs, an offering may be received for the purpose of strengthening the nurture, outreach, and/or witness of congregations in town and rural areas.


Disability Awareness Sunday

Disability Awareness Sunday shall be observed annually on a date to be determined by the annual conference.  Disability Awareness Sunday calls the Church to celebrate the gifts and graces of persons with disabilities and calls the Church and society to full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the community.

If the annual conference so directs, an offering may be received and the funds used by the annual conference to promote the work of creating architectural and attitudinal accessibility in local churches.  The observance of Disability Awareness Sunday shall be under the general supervision of the General Board of Global Ministries.


Wesleyan Homes Sunday

Each year, the United Methodist Churches of the Central Texas Conference take an offering to support those residents of Wesleyan Homes who are in great financial need.

Over the past 40 years, Wesleyan Homes has cared for several thousand older adults. Today, over 300 residents are provided with retirement living, long term medical care, and specialized care for persons suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. These services are provided in three beautiful facilities located in Georgetown, Texas.

As a ministry of the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, our mission has always been to provide care for older adults without regard to their ability to pay Infa4 no resident has ever been asked to leave one of our facilities because of their inability to pay the full cost of their care. Today some of our residents require more assistance than ever because their incomes have not kept pace with the Increasing cost of health care. In most instances, these persons have outlived their savings and thmily resources. More than 40 percent of our residents will require some type of charitable assistance this year. Wesleyan Homes is YOUR ministry to older adults. Please give generously to help Wesleyan Homes provide Charitable Care and love when it’s needed most.

Making A Difference

Your gifts are crucial for Wesleyan Homes’ ministry with senior adults. As a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit ministry of the United Methodist Church, every penny you give to our Benevolent Fund goes fully to financially assist at-risk senior adults. Your gifts of time and treasure insure that all aspects of our ministry will continue to be accessible to senior adults regardless of their ability to pay.

Your gifts can take many forms: cash, securities, real property, bequests, retirement accounts, life insurance, charitable remainder trusts, and charitable lead trusts. While you and your tax advisors can determine what means of making a difference is right for you, our commitment to expanding compassionate and high quality community for senior adults is greatly expanded by your gift.

Thank you for making a difference for senior adults.


Methodist Mission Home

Methodist Mission Home was founded in 1895 in the wake of a dramatic and spontaneous conversion experience by Madam M. L. Volino who ran a brothel on San Saba Street. Inspired by a street revivalist, Madam Volino returned to her house in the red light district vowing to begin a new life. Through financial and emotional support of the Methodist community and Travis Park Methodist Church, Volino converted the brothel into a rescue home for "fallen women."

By the early 1900's, most of the women who arrived were pregnant and unwed and the Rescue Home became known primarily as a maternity center.

Over the years, a changing social climate was reflected in the activities of Methodist Mission Home. In 1938, residents of the overcrowded San Saba residence moved to the old Baylor Hospital building on 9th street.

Continued growth led to the building of the current multi-building, 25-acre campus which opened its doors in 1968. In 1969, the Mission Home served an all-time high of 321 maternity residents. However, as the 60's closed and the 70's dawned, more options were becoming available for an unwed mother: She could stay at home with less embarrassment; she could be single and parent the baby with less stigma; abortion became more publicly acceptable and available. By the early 1970's, the number of birth mothers being served dropped quickly and substantially, to less than a third of those served just a few years earlier.

With a beautiful new campus being used to only a portion of its potential, the administration started looking for a new ministry for the Home to fully justify the mission of serving people who have special needs. Upon exploration, it was discovered there was a great need to help young adults who were deaf/hard of hearing to transition to the real world. A new program was developed and the first clients came on campus in early 1974. The initial purpose was to help these individuals develop better communication skills, learn how to live alone, learn how to work, and learn fundamentals of basic living. The end result would help each person be able to compete in the job market and be able to live independently. The program goals have remained basically the same since 1974, but in 1998, the SCHI started serving people with cognitive and physical disabilities, while specializing in deaf/hard of hearing services.

More than a century after our humble beginnings, Methodist Mission Home continues to serve hundreds of people each year. Our Adoption Services helps birth mothers (and fathers) during a time of great need. We offer domestic, international, and older-child adoption programs to families wanting to adopt. SCHI offers community-based and residential programs for adults who are deaf/hard of hearing, or have other disabilities. For more information on our programs or how you can help Methodist Mission Home, please explore our website or contact us at 1-800-842-5433.


Aldersgate Enrichment Center

Aldersgate Enrichment Center is a not-for-profit sheltered workshop with a vocational program and a residential program. It is a ministry related to the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church to meet the needs of physically and mentally challenged adults. Employment and life-skills training are provided for those of our society who otherwise would be considered unemployable.


Aldersgate Day

Aldersgate Day is a holiday celebrated by Methodists on 24 May to commemorate the day in 1738 when John Wesley 'experienced confirmation of his salvation by the grace of God.' in a meeting room in Aldersgate Street, London. According to his journal, Wesley found that his enthusiastic gospel message had been rejected by his Anglican brothers. Heavy-hearted, he went to an evening society meeting on Aldersgate Street "very unwillingly." It was there, while someone was reading from Martin Luther's Preface to the Epistle to the Romans, that he felt that his heart was "strangely warmed." He describes it as:

I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation;
and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins,
even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.

There exists some confusion in the United States Methodist calendar between Heritage Day and Aldersgate Day. This confusion was only compounded when in 2004 the United Methodist General Conference moved Heritage Day to coincide with Aldersgate Day. In the United Kingdom, Wesley's Aldersgate experience is celebrated on the Sunday preceding 24 May if that day is not a Sunday and the occasion is referred to as Aldersgate Sunday.

SOURCE: Wikipedia.

Aldersgate Day

by Rev. Kristin Sachen

On May 24, 1738, John Wesley, burdened by the rejection of his enthusiastic gospel message by his Anglican brothers, went very unwillingly to an evening society meeting in Aldersgate-street, London. But, as he records in his journal, about a quarter to nine he felt his heart strangely warmed. “I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.” Wesley’s Aldersgate experience is identified as a turning point in his spiritual growth, a time in which the faith he preached so boldly became real for and in him.

When we remember “Aldersgate Day,” what exactly is it that we are commemorating? Here is a man who had been “washed in the Holy Ghost” as an infant in his baptism, been brought up in a Christian home, studied the Bible, prayed regularly, entered into holy orders, founded a reforming movement, engaged in good works, and used all the means of grace at his disposal. What could possibly have happened to him on that May evening that is worth our notice today?

There may be several ways to describe it, but the significance of Aldersgate could be described as the day Wesley joined the human race. Up to that point, he certainly identified with the unworthiness of humanity, drawing up lists of his failings and sins that are astounding in their detail. But he never quite saw himself in the same light as those who joyfully accepted faith in Christ as God’s gift of salvation. He didn’t have the sense of forgiveness that his Moravian friend Peter Bohler taught him was the fruit of true faith. He was caught in the dance of either trying to earn God’s love or feeling unworthy of ever receiving it. On May 24, his heart melted a bit, his humanity was revealed, and he knew he was just one of those for whom Christ died – no better, no worse. He let go and let God do the work of salvation in him.

On May 24 we commemorate the founder of Methodism’s heart-warming experience, and find another opportunity to be among those who receive the gift of God’s forgiveness, and not just the ones who offer it.

SOURCE: GBGM-UMC.