“Never before has it been so important to give to the six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings. Giving to Special Sundays prepares students to become leaders for the church and the world; empower the poor and victimized to live fuller lives through self-improvement programs; advocate and challenge injustice and pays administrative cost for disaster relief. You can change the world one life at a time.
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One parishioner said, “Special Sundays are an opportunity for me to walk the talk. My world is so small, and by participating in these offerings, I help people who are beyond my limited reach.”
General Conference created six unique Special Sundays to help congregations work with communities, rebuild shattered lives, strengthen self-sufficiency, encourage partnerships, nurture Native American ministries, model peace and justice, provide scholarships and loans for United Methodist students, and much more.
“Be generous,” Ecclesiastes 11:1-2 (The Message) advises. “Invest in acts of charity. Charity yields high returns. . . . Be a blessing to others.” God has blessed us, and through churchwide Special Sundays we can pass on those blessings to others.
“God loves it when the giver delights in the giving. God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.” --2 Corinthians 9:7-8, The Message
History of United Methodist Churchwide Special Sundays with Offerings
Human Relations Day
The 1972 General Conference established Human Relations Day to promote support for Community Developers, United Methodist Voluntary Services and Police-Community Relations programs. In 1989, the Youth Offender Rehabilitation Program replaced the Police-Community Relations Program. More than 30 church-based Community Developers work in racial- and ethnic-minority communities in the United States and Puerto Rico (57 percent of the offering). A multiracial network of grassroots social-justice organizations related to United Methodist Voluntary Services provides vital outreach (33 percent). Christ-centered Youth Offender Rehabilitation projects give teenagers a chance to succeed (10 percent).
One Great Hour of Sharing
In 1946, One Great Hour of Sharing began as a special effort of the Episcopal Church. In 1949, the observance became ecumenical. Originally, congregations reserved one special worship hour during the year for people of faith to contribute over and above their regular offerings. Today different denominations celebrate One Great Hour of Sharing on various dates, but the cooperative spirit remains.
Native American Ministries Sunday
In a petition to the 1988 General Conference, the Native American International Caucus proposed and delegates approved Native American Awareness Sunday. The 2000 General Conference changed the name of the observance to Native American Ministries Sunday.
Peace with Justice Sunday
The 1980 General Conference created a churchwide Peace with Justice program assigned to the General Board of Church and Society. The 1984 General Conference voted to support the program with an annual Special Sunday offering on World Order Sunday, established more than half a century ago to build recognition and support for the work of the United Nations. While World Order Sunday was set traditionally in October, churches were encouraged to observe it any time during the season of Pentecost. The 1988 General Conference established Peace with Justice Sunday as the first Sunday after Pentecost to give churches a single, more convenient date for the offering and a name that clearly identifies the ministries it supports.
World Communion Sunday
In 1940, the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America established Worldwide Communion Sunday as a global, interdenominational event. Prompted by the impact of World War II, the Methodist Church received an offering on this Sunday for the Fellowship of Suffering and Service. In 1971, The United Methodist Church changed the name of the observance to World Communion Sunday and redistributed the offering to support the Crusade Scholarship Program (begun in 1944), the Ethnic Minority Scholarship Program and the Division of Chaplains and Related Ministries. In 1980, Chaplains and Related Ministries was moved to World Service funding, but the World Communion Sunday offering continued to assist ethnic minority persons pursuing various avenues of ministry. In 2008, “Crusade Scholars” became “World Communion Scholars.”
United Methodist Student Day
In 1866, a special fund was established for the advanced education of Sunday-school children and the educational preparation of persons for the ministry and missionary service. The 1940 General Conference established Methodist Student Day with a churchwide offering. The 1968 Uniting Conference continued this connectional student-aid program to be funded by the United Methodist Student Day offering. Dates for taking the offering have changed through the years.