Dear Friends in Christ,
Grace and peace to you from God, the source of all our blessings, as we prepare for our national Thanksgiving celebration and the Advent season. In June, we met both virtually and in person in Sioux falls, South Dakota, for our Dakotas Annual Conference. Our theme was Jesus Waymaker!
We explored how we are called to step out of our comfort zone and follow the path to live like Jesus in ways beyond our imagination.
Again, this year, we received a Miracle Offering as an expression of our gratitude for God’s extravagant blessings and to advance our mission “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
So far, $47,000 has been collected for the 2021 Miracle Offering: Feeding the Dakotas. Our goal for the offering is $75,000, which will be shared with the Great Plains Food Bank in North Dakota, Feeding South Dakota, and will include grants to local hunger ministries.
Jesus instructs us to “Let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). The 2021 Thanksgiving Offering provides the opportunity for us to be light and living hope for those crying out for love, compassion, justice, and grace in their lives.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an economic recession, ending years of declining food insecurity rates. There is also a lack of access to sufficient food because of limited financial resources. Feeding America estimates that 45 million people (1 in 7), including 15 million children (1 in 5), may have experienced food insecurity in 2020.
In South Dakota, one out of every nine persons and one in six children face hunger daily. Collectively, 95,080 of the state’s population, of which 35,330 are children, deal with the realities of hunger.
In North Dakota, 51,610 people are struggling with hunger – and of them, 16,700 are children. North Dakota’s reality is that one person out of every 15 adults and one of every 10 children is struggling with hunger.
It is heartbreaking to see people, especially children, suffering from hunger. We pray for the Lord to give the hungry daily bread today (Matthew 6:11). At the same time, we are called to provide the food they need to grow and thrive.
I invite each of our 250 congregations to prayerfully consider a gift of at least $250 to the 2021 Thanksgiving Offering. If we make that commitment, our gifts will feed the bodies and souls of those who are hungry. Let us live out the words of Psalm 146:6-7, 10, “God, who is faithful forever, who gives justice to people who are oppressed; who gives bread to people who are starving; the Lord will rule forever!”
Additional information about the 2021 Thanksgiving offering is available on the Dakotas Conference website at www.dakotasumc.org. Please invite the members and friends of your congregation to experience the joy of participating in this miraculous expression of Christ’s light in the world. Jesus sent the Twelve out to “proclaim God’s Kingdom and to heal … (Luke 9:2), Let us also go forth to bring healing to a broken world. Your Thanksgiving offering is a gift that will bring honor to God. Thank you for blessing the Lord as you bless others.
In Christ’s Love,
Bishop Laurie Haller
Dakotas Annual Conference
The United Methodist Church
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