For as long as I can remember, I have heard the expression, “Run for your life.”  Usually, that has to do with something nonsensical in which no one’s life is in serious jeopardy.  However, there are people who actually have to run for their lives.  They are called refugees.  They are all over the world, but most recently we are acquainted with those from Afghanistan and Ukraine.

Those from Afghanistan ran because they helped the USA and were being hunted by the Taliban.  Those in Ukraine are running from the bombs of Russian war.  They have no home anymore.  They are, in Bible language, refugees, sojourners and foreigners.  Our scripture is very clear about treating these folks as if they are our own, since our faith was born out of running—Abram from famine, Moses from Pharoah, and Jesus from Herod.

This year’s annual conference offering is being collected for refugees.  What a great idea!  Rather than think of the offering as something that happens AT conference, we want it to be something collected beforehand and BROUGHT TO conference.  That means that your church should find a way to pass the plate, hold a special offering, tap the mission committee, or hold a fund raiser.  Then bring a check to conference, made out to INUMC, and marked for the refugee offering.  If you wish to contribute but are unable to attend annual conference, please send your check to the Conference Office  designated for the annual conference offering.

This support will go to help an Indiana organization—Exodus Refugee.  Exodus has been settling refugees since 1981, so they have a lot of experience.  That said, they were nearly overwhelmed with the surge of families from Afghanistan.  No sooner were they getting them settled and the word came down that the Ukrainians are coming.

Exodus Refugee helps our new neighbors with language skills, jobs, homes, furnishings, schools for the kids, banking, legal assistance, health care, counselling support, social orientation, and so much more.  This amazing organization is more than worthy of our support.  They are an Indiana organization providing Hoosier Hospitality on behalf of us all.

I want to encourage everyone reading this to make a contribution, and to ask your church to make one, as well.  The need is high.  The time is right.  We can make a life-changing difference.  We can help the “least of these.”  We can turn refugees into friends.  We can “love our neighbors as ourselves.”  Thank you for your help.

Glenn HowellIf you want more ideas for stewardship and giving, whether pastor or lay person, contact us at your United Methodist Foundation here or by calling us toll free at 877-391-8811.

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Glenn Howell
Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana