September 21, 2017
September 22, 2017
"I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy." (Psalm 142:1)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Grace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, Healer of our Brokenness and Hope of the World!
The great Afro-American Methodist pastor and gospel hymn writer, Charles Albert Tindley was revered for his preaching and musical gifts. Recently, because of the extent of the natural disasters experienced in Mexico, the Caribbean, the United States, and throughout the world, I have found myself thinking of his hymn, "Stand by Me." The words of the first and second stanza read: "When the storms of life are raging, stand by me; when the storms of life are raging, stand by me. When the world is tossing me, like a ship upon the sea, thou who rulest wind and water, stand by me.
In the midst of tribulation, stand by me; in the midst of tribulation, stand by me. When the host of hell assail, and my strength begins to fail, thou who never lost a battle, stand by me."
Rev. Dr. Tindley's hymn is uplifting the desperate necessity of the presence of God in the storms of life. Too many people in too many places, have experienced overwhelming destruction from the recent natural disasters. Homes have been destroyed, property has been ruined, and most tragically a number of people have perished in these monstrous storms and earthquakes. Our hearts and prayers go to those who are directly affected by the catastrophes, their families, and communities.
We have seen the witness of people who have responded in gracious and courageous acts of kindness, sometimes risking their lives to aid and save lives. There will come a time when the people of the Susquehanna Conference will be present in these places to help people rebuild their lives and homes. In the meantime, we extend our prayers and respond through the generosity of our gifts. The needs are overwhelming, but one by one gifts added together can provide hope and relief to many.
A few years ago, the Susquehanna Annual Conference was recognized by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) for the generous contributions this conference has given. Over six million dollars have been donated by the members and congregation
of this conference over the period of ten years. Thanks be to God! It was a remarkable testimony to the amazing generosity of our people and to a church alive in mission.
I would like you to know that UMCOR is our United Methodist Church in mission at its best and that it is already present in those affected areas. Please also know that our Mission Central is a significant partner with UMCOR now.
I come to you once again. I realize that these extra requests have been more numerous recently; but our mission is to be extended in response to the emerging and dire needs of God's children in these areas hit so hard by natural disasters. Throughout the next several weeks, please prayerfully consider continuing to take offerings to receive funds to be given to UMCOR. The church treasurer can send those gifts directly to the conference office at 303 Mulberry Drive, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050-3179. Checks should be written payable to the Susquehanna Conference and designated in the memo line with the number 2180 if the money is to be used for national relief or the number 2470 if the money is to be used for international relief. You may want to designate the money for both causes by writing your wishes on the check or remittance report. (Church Treasurers - please use Section A on the Remittance Report when sending in the money).
I am humbled by your generosity, heart for mission, and spirit of care. I am privileged to partner with you in mission and ministry for such a time as this. May God continue to bless your congregation in its mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Your Partner in Mission,
Jeremiah J. Park