Monday, March 1, 2010

Religion 101: Connectional System helps link support

There are many times during the year when I am thankful to be a part of what United Methodists call a Connectional System.

As busy people, we can't be everywhere doing everything all the time. So we rely on our "connection" -- phone calls, e-mails, Webcasts and sometimes the slow but faithful "snail mail" -- all these ways of making contact with another person who is in the needed location and is able to respond.

I have found that I can call upon pastors when I have had parishioners facing surgery at Stanford.

It came as no surprise to me that the United Methodist Committee on Relief was one of the first agencies to respond when the earthquake happened in Haiti.

I am so appreciative to be a part of a faith community where people I may never know can respond instantly.

Truth be told, the committee has been responsive internationally for years, sharing services before, during, and after a disaster.

One hundred percent of all financial donations go directly to services with the committee; all administrative costs are covered through another fund. That's often unheard of in this day and age.

I cannot be everywhere, but faithful work is being done all over the world. I share in that ministry, too. And you can be assured that when someone calls upon me to visit a loved one, or needs a piece of information about Merced -- and yes, this has actually happened -- I will do my utmost to respond.

We experience this in our community, don't we?

Perhaps you've had some need and a neighbor responded. You've been unsure about something and a stranger asked if you are in need of help.

Maybe you have made contact with an office worker and were patched through to another department. That is "connectional."

Some people might say that is "customer service; that's their job,"

But I think when someone goes out of their way to respond with human kindness with no expectation for payment, that effort is Jesus at work. United Methodists would call it "being connectional." And I would call it grace.

--Rev. Jay Pierce

Please encourage your leaders and congregation members to give to the World Service Fund apportionment at 100%.

--- Jay K. Pierce is pastor at United Methodist Church of Merced. You can reach him at (209) 722-5777.

God is Still In Control!

Miss Lladale Carey
Web Producer
United Methodist Communications

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