Dear Friends in Christ,
Grace and peace to you in the name of the One called Bread of Life.
I call you into the gospel of John: When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place, so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.”
—John 6: 5-12 (NRSV)
Friends, more than 34 million people in the U.S. face hunger or lack access to healthy food. Closer to home, nearly one in every 10 adults in the Dakotas and Minnesota have reported there is sometimes or often not enough to eat for their household. There are people in every one of our communities who face the very real struggle to make ends meet and provide for their families. Some of our beloved United Methodist siblings are likely among them.
Let us come together to make a tangible difference in the lives of our neighbors in need. I hope you’ll join me in participating in our Dakotas-Minnesota Area 2023 Thanksgiving Offering: Five and Two—as in the story of Jesus taking five loaves of bread and two fish and feeding 5,000.
What might it look like for every United Methodist in the Dakotas and Minnesota to give at least $5 to two food ministries this Thanksgiving season? Now, for those who are able: You can provide more—perhaps $52 to a food ministry of your choice. However you choose to work out the math and whatever amount you’re able to give, imagine the impact we will make in our schools, our communities, and our neighborhoods.
I encourage each faith community across our area to choose a local organization that reaches individuals and families facing food insecurity—and to explore how to partner to meet local needs. Could you assemble meals for schools to send home with food-insecure children on weekends to feed their families? Might you create and stock a makeshift food pantry that sits in front of your church? Perhaps you could find out which types of food items are most needed at your local food pantry and challenge the congregation to see how many they can bring on a given Sunday.
I hope you will share your gifts directly and/or through a coordinated effort by your local church, and then let’s celebrate our collective work as the Dakota-Minnesota Episcopal Area. Please prayerfully consider your own capacity, and share your commitment to the 2023 Thanksgiving Offering: Five and Two by either completing this pledge card and sending it to us, or by completing this form online.
Additional information about the 2023 Thanksgiving Offering is available on the Dakotas and Minnesota Conference websites. Please invite the members and friends of your congregation to experience the joy of participating in this expression of ministry, modeled by the boy who shared what he had and saw that it was enough to feed those hungering.
Your Thanksgiving Offering is one key way we can show and share the love of God. Thank you in advance for your extravagant generosity. Thank you for blessing the Lord as you bless others and let us live out the gospel of John.
Let us pray: Lord, sharing the loaves and fishes, You gave us an image of solidarity with the hungry. O Lord give us the hunger to be a part of the feeding and the healing of this world. Amen.
Alongside you on the journey,
Bishop Lanette Plambeck
Resident Bishop, Dakotas-Minnesota Episcopal Area
The United Methodist Church
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