Giving Tuesday Celebrating Advent Through Mission Commitment
ATLANTA, Nov. 17, 2016—Giving Tuesday, Nov.29, provides United Methodists an opportunity to commit to God’s mission in concrete ways as we prepare during Advent to receive God’s great love in Jesus at Christmas.
The four scripture lessons for the First Sunday of Advent (Nov. 27) focus on the coming Messiah and the hope for peace, honor among people, and God’s unexpected grace (from Isaiah 2, Psalm 122, Romans 13, and Matthew 24). These themes are part of the mission story and remind us of the global mission outreach and service of the church — work that requires prayer, devotion, and support.
Giving Tuesday is a response, started in 2012, to the commercialism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, a time to rally families and communities to assist worthy causes that meet human needs around the world. For United Methodists, it has become a time of designated mission giving through The Advance for Christ and His Church, which assures that every dollar goes to the ministries indicated by the donor.
Over the past three years, the General Board of Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) have matched designated Giving Tuesday gifts up to set levels. The match has motivated contributions but was never intended to become a permanent part of the occasion and will not be offered this year.
The motivation for mission giving is mission itself.
Giving Tuesday is not only about collecting money. It is about awareness of the opportunity and need for individuals, families, congregations, and communities to unite in mission in the season of Advent.
For David Kennedy and Barbara Noe, a couple, members of the Capital Hill United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference, Giving Tuesday has become the kick-off for the celebration of Advent. “It allows for an immediate focus on the most important gift of Christmas—the birth of Christ,” they said in an email to The Advance office.
Barbara Noe with Mildred, Daniella, Mary, Sola, Kafunya, Precious, and Lydia.
David and Barbara are regular Giving Tuesday supporters of the Lord’s Mountain Orphanage (formerly the Front Porch Orphanage) in Zambezi, Zambia. Lord’s Mountain, related to the United Methodist Church in Zambia, puts a strong emphasis on education for children who have experienced neglect and abuse. It equips young people for productive lives of dignity. The facility raises much of its own food. Two United Methodist Global Mission Fellows, Russell Takudzwa Rusike from Zimbabwe and David Martins from Nigeria, are currently teaching at the Lord’s Mountain school.
Both projects, such as Lord’s Mountain, and missionaries, including Global Mission Fellows, invite partnership and support through Giving Tuesday and regular participation in The Advance.
“We have found many friends and families excited about participating in the Lord’s Mountain ministry because we can provide first-hand witness of the joy and love that is at work there,” David and Barbara said, “People want to give.”
While the couple welcomed the dollar match of earlier Giving Tuesdays, the absence of that feature this year is no disincentive for continuing commitment, which incorporates prayer and advocacy as well as contributions. “Faith and works are blended when we give and participate in the mission of Lord’s Mountain,” they wrote.
David Kennedy with Joseph, Chinyama, Wisdom, Chris, Evans, Oliver, Caleb, and Joshua.
Another affirmation came from the Riverside United Methodist Church in Muncie, Ind., in the Indiana Annual Conference. The mission committee asked about a matching provision but was not disappointed to learn there will be none this year. “We will continue to encourage support of The Advance and our denomination’s commitment to cover administrative costs so that 100% of giving goes to the projects designated,” the Riverside message said. This congregation has taken part in Giving Tuesday since 2013.
The Advance is a “wonderful vehicle for supporting mission throughout the world,” David and Barbara said.