This Sunday, March 31, we will mark UMCOR Sunday with a special offering for this vital ministry in our denomination.
God’s Holy Spirit calls the Church into being for mission. The Church experiences and engages in God’s mission as it pours itself out for others, ready to cross every boundary to call for true human dignity among all peoples.1As Jesus said: ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’(Matthew 25:40)
UMCOR, The United Methodist Committee on Relief, takes this call to heart. As the humanitarian relief and development arm of The United Methodist Church, UMCOR is the hands and feet of Jesus whenever and wherever disaster strikes.In 1940, Bishop Herbert Welch, representing the Methodist Committee for China Relief, proposed the creation of the “Methodist Committee for Overseas Relief (MCOR),” in response to displaced and vulnerable populations in the wake of World War II.
Welch commented that MCOR would serve as a “voice of conscience among Methodists to act in the relief of human suffering without distinction of race, color or creed.” This mandate remains true to this day. MCOR grew from providing necessities to refugees and displaced populations, to getting involved in reconstruction, rehabilitation and repatriation of refugees and prisoners of war, restoration of churches and civil operations, and reconciliation – an effort to restore peace and goodwill.
When the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Methodist Church united into The United Methodist Church in 1968, MCOR became UMCOR – The United Methodist Committee on Overseas Relief.
Later, UMCOR expanded its scope to include agricultural and community development projects, as well as medical relief and development, and disaster risk reduction programs. No one in 1940 could have foreseen the depths and breath of what UMCOR is today.
UMCOR’s stated mission is: “Compelled by Christ to be a voice of conscience on behalf of the people called United Methodist, UMCOR works globally to alleviate human suffering and advance hope and healing.”This transformative work is categorized into three areas:
People around the world now know the transformative power of Christ through the action of first responders and volunteers of UMCOR. Their vision is to come together to strengthen and transform people and communities.Today, many serve and donate to UMCOR so that we may become even more involved in God’s mission, our mission. We pray constantly for God’s grace to be made known through us as we provide sustainable, practical and purposeful relief to those in need around the globe.