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Commentary: Deepening Spirituality with Generous Giving


By Thomas Kemper

Thomas Kemper
Thomas Kemper
Courtesy GBGM

One of the joys of my work with the General Board of Global Ministries is to meet people around the world who are engaged in mission. Karen and Ut To, our missionary leaders in Vietnam, recently visited our New York offices. They shared their enthusiasm for mission, their dreams and plans for the growth of the church in Vietnam, and how we can be a Wesleyan presence there that keeps personal and social holiness together. It is inspirational and encouraging to meet people like them who, almost every day, tell the story of how God's love has transformed them, and is now transforming individuals and communities around them.

The Advance is one way that you can be part of that transformation. As you read this issue of Interpreter, I hope you will find exciting opportunities to connect with the missional strength of The United Methodist Church. Your unique gift can help communities build churches, dig wells, feed and educate children, and equip hospitals and clinics. You can support a missionary who is sharing the light of Christ. You can provide healing and hope to survivors of natural and civil disaster.

Sharing our gifts as a spiritual discipline helps us to grow stronger as the body of Christ. The church's response to those in need is an expression of our faith, a confirmation of our discipleship and a witness to our love for our neighbors.

This sense of connection and sharing reminds me of when I was a missionary serving in Brazil. Every Wednesday, we would gather under a bridge for soup making. Everyone brought what he or she had or could find: leftovers from street markets, fish heads and wilting vegetables. Some brought salt or oil. We sat around together preparing the gifts, cooked the soup over an open fire and ate it together in a large circle. Then we worshipped, connecting with the spiritual nurture that came after the soup.

Working together and bringing together gifts from all partners recognizes the fullness — the wholeness — of God's created order and the importance of collaborating with others in the restoration and preservation of all creation, including human families and communities.

The Advance is a link in The United Methodist Church that connects us in mission. And you can be confident that 100 percent of your gift will support the project you designate. Administrative costs are paid by the apportionments of United Methodist churches. One Great Hour of Sharing covers the administrative costs of UMCOR, which receives no apportionment funds. The Advance has more than 850 Methodist-related projects and more than 300 missionaries who have gone through a review process and are accountable for how funds are used.

This year, we have an exciting opportunity to maximize your support. When you or your church makes an online donation to any project or missionary through The Advance on Dec. 3, your gift will multiply. For one day only, on Dec. 3, 2013, as part of UMC #GivingTuesday, all gifts made online through The Advance to any project or missionary will be matched.

Discover the connection between generous giving and deepening your spirituality. I invite you to read through this issue with your heart open to where God is calling you to connect. Thank you for your faithful support and compassionate spirit.

Thomas Kemper is general secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries. The mission agency of The United Methodist Church is headquartered in New York.