Partnering together in mission, service and justice continues to be at the heart of connectional ministry. The Holy Spirit calls the Church into being for mission, being outwardly focused. Through mission, The United Methodist Church realizes its greatest unity, and through mission and being in mission together, we get glimpses of the kingdom of God.
We believe opportunities offered through the Missouri Annual Conference – grounded in our Wesleyan approach to mission and further resourced through the General Church – we can better assist your church for ministries at the local, regional and global level. We believe that many of our initiatives are great ways for your church to offer entry points into discipleship and leadership for nominal Christians and others to explore risk-taking mission.
Missouri Conference Disaster Response is our Conference’s extension of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). We work within Missouri to prepare and respond to disasters within our state and with the broader United Methodist Church connection via UMCOR to assist our fellow UMC conferences in the South Central Jurisdiction and beyond.
Missouri Conference Center Warehouse serves as one of the seven affiliate warehouses for UMCOR. As part of our capacity expansion, we have a regional hub network around the state for kit production, verification and storage. Creating hubs around the state provides us with greater safety for our readiness kits should one of our locations be damaged by a storm as well as the ability to offer more localized, expedient distribution when disaster strikes. These hubs are located at New McKendree, Saint Paul’s, Woods Chapel and Macon UMCs.
Missouri Conference Disaster Response prepares individuals and teams to respond to disaster through its in-person training opportunities. UMCOR Early Response Team Training provides you with the basic information you need about Early Response Teams. ERTs fill a specific need in the days after a disaster to clean out flood-damaged homes, remove debris, place tarps on homes and otherwise help to prevent further damage, while providing a caring Christian presence. UMCOR Site Evaluation Training explores ways to evaluate a site for safety and suitability for an ERT. ERT site evaluation specialty teams could be very helpful in the earliest days after an event to set the way for other teams to come. View upcoming training opportunities on the Disaster Response page.
When disaster strikes, Missouri Conference Disaster Response responds. Under the guidance of the Conference Disaster Response Coordinator and the host conference, we offer opportunities for trained individuals to deploy to disaster sites. Subscribe to the Disaster Response Newsletter to receive our quarterly newsletter and real-time disaster deployment callouts and updates.
Every person and every church in our United Methodist connection has something they can contribute to our shared work of disaster preparedness. No matter your age or skill level, there is something for everyone to do – from phone volunteers in the immediate aftermath of a disaster to onsite chaplains to damage assessment teams to tarping, mucking, chainsaw work and debris removal – please pray and think about how you, your family, and your church can help others in their most vulnerable time of need.
As a cooperative response to hunger, poverty and injustice in Missouri and beyond, Festival of Sharing hopes to support projects and programs that help our neighbors experience healthy and full lives. Our efforts include providing funding and resource goods, sharing information on agency efforts in communities and praying for our collective work. When people of faith come together and share, we can make a positive and powerful difference.
One of the ways Festival of Sharing does this work is through Sharefests, regional events hosted across the state in the fall. These ecumenical, interfaith gatherings of resources connect the state of Missouri with a common goal: providing resources for our neighbors in need. See upcoming Sharefest dates on the Festival of Sharing events calendar.
Another way Festival of Sharing supports the ecumenical response to poverty and hunger in Missouri is through its Cooperative Response Grant. Festival of Sharing has funding available to partner with Missouri churches and organizations in their efforts to cooperatively respond to community needs around poverty. Festival of Sharing recognizes that poverty is multidimensional and experienced in different ways. Responses may work to address concerns beyond economic resources, to include such things as physical, social, cultural or spiritual resources. Learn more about the Cooperative Response Grant cycle and application on the Festival of Sharing website.
Festival of Sharing hosts an annual, online quilt auction to raise funds for the Church World Service Blankets Program, which helps people rebuild their lives after disasters. The auction receives bidders from around the United States on quilts made by Missourians. See the dates for upcoming quilt submission periods and Festival of Sharing Quilt Auction dates on the Festival of Sharing website.
Stay connected to Festival of Sharing by signing up to receive its newsletter, the Festival of Sharing Brief, as well as other digital mailers, such as the annual Festival of Sharing Booklet. Make sure to like Festival of Sharing on Facebook as well.
The Mozambique Initiative’s goal is to walk slow, listen and create equitable partnerships that meet the greatest needs of partner communities in sub-Saharan Africa. While all of the Mozambique Initiative projects are defined by the needs of each community, most projects fall into one of three main categories: community development, church empowerment, and health and wellness.
Several Mozambique Initiative projects seek to both meet a need and build capacity for income generation within a community.
Constructing a solar well in a community serves two essential functions: They provide access to life-saving clean water in remote locations, and if there are enough homes and businesses nearby, they can operate as a micro-utility, bringing safe water and much-needed income to the community.
In these situations, water is pumped from the tower where it is stored to houses who then pay the local water community, who has partnered with Mozambique Initiative, for the piped water used in their home.
Solar wells can provide water to initiate an income-generating agricultural projects, like the one located at the Gondola Training Center (GTC) in Mozambique. The agricultural projects provide healthy food, develop plants resistant to climate change, and offer instruction on business development and food cultivation. Seminarians attending GTC will learn the agricultural practices while in training to take them back to their local communities.
The Mozambique Initiative supports hospitals (such as the Chicuque Rural Hospital), clinics, and wellness programs to provide immunizations, obstetric care, viral treatment and more. Mobile health clinics help support health and wellness in Mozambique.
A mobile health clinic brings healthcare to communities far from hospitals and clinics. Oftentimes, geographic distance makes these basic services inaccessible. The clinic is staffed by a combination of physicians, nurses, community health workers and other health professionals who provide a variety of health services. Both people and supplies are carried by several vehicles outfitted for rural Mozambique. Similar to the services provided by a brick-and-mortar hospital, mobile health clinics offer support in preventive and primary care by providing access to early diagnosis, treatment, and interventions of medical issues before complications arise.
Mozambique is home to the Ricatla Seminary, Cambine Seminary and Gondola Training Center. Since the seminaries’ establishment in 1920 and the training center’s founding in 2008, all three institutions have received students from a variety of regions and church denominations. As the country faces war and numerous social problems arise, pastors trained from these theological centers make a great difference. They act as the hands and feet of Christ, preaching, teaching and sharing in social work in the community including counseling and community activism. The Mozambique Initiative, in partnership with these institutions, provides seminary scholarships for 42 students per school year.
Additionally, the Mozambique Initiative provides leadership development and pastor support to clergy in Mozambique. Sometimes support is very practical: One Mozambique Initiative project raises funds to install solar panels on local church parsonages. The panels provide electricity to the pastor and their family as well as the church.
The impact of these community-centered projects often reaches far beyond the initial defined need. Delivery of clean water to Mozambican homes can reduce sickness in a community. Access to adequate medical care means that kids miss less school. When you support one of these goals, you truly transform a community.
Stay connected to the Mozambique Initiative by signing up to receive its quarterly Mozambique Initiative newsletter as well as liking the Mozambique Initiative on Facebook. Additionally, if you’d like to take up a special offering for the Mozambique Initiative in your local church, find videos and photos for use on the Mozambique Initiative media page.
The Rural Missouri Connection encourages and equips the rural church to engage with local resources in the development of outward ministries that reflect and address holistic opportunities in the community. We invite churches to consider what opportunities and assets are available to engage in ministry in each unique context.
Stay connected to the Rural Missouri Connection to receive information about upcoming events and available resources by signing up to receive its quarterly Rural Missouri Connection newsletter.
United Methodist Volunteers in Mission or UMVIM is a grassroots movement of United Methodists who seek to put their “Christian Love in Action.” Since the 1970s, UMVIM has offered a framework through which disciples can engage in short-term mission locally, nationally and globally. Tens of thousands of United Methodists across the connection engage in short-term mission each year in ministries as varied as disaster response, community development, pastor training, microenterprise, agriculture, Vacation Bible School, building repair and construction, and medical/dental services. There is a place for everyone to serve.
Missouri Conference Mission, Service and Justice Ministries offers spiritual formation and leadership development opportunities for nominal Christians to explore risk-taking mission, sacrificial service and transformative justice ministries. We provide avenues for spiritually mature disciples to live out their call to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8). Connect with our staff to learn more about available opportunities to go and serve.
Headshots by Schaefer Photography