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Letter from The Director of The Advance

Spring 2008Director of The Advance

Dear Partner in Ministry,

When Christ met the woman at the well, he demonstrated a clear connection between meeting physical needs and meeting spiritual needs. The conversation that began with "Will you give me a drink?" soon became a conversation about "living water" -- the kind of spiritual refreshment that can keep a person from ever being thirsty again.

That's what The Advance is about -- enabling people throughout the world to communicate the love of Christ and offer hope; like water to a person dying of thirst.

In 1948 much of the world was recovering from the horror of war. Lives and livelihoods were devastated, and communities were destroyed. The church was called to step up and step out in faith.

Led by the bishops, The Methodist Church launched an initiative -- to extend God's love in visible, concrete ways. "Advance," said Bishop T. Otto Nall, "is our kind of word -- moving, stirring, commanding, growing, expanding, inspiring. It summons us . . . from where we are, to where we know we ought to be."

For 60 years the people now called United Methodist have designated more than $1.2 billion to The Advance through second-mile giving -- in other words, contributions that are given after a congregation has met its "first-mile" responsibility to support the United Methodist Church's missions and ministries through World Service and other apportioned funds. This "second-mile" giving, beyond our apportioned remittance, is an outward sign of an inward love for Christ and the church.

Gifts -- large and small -- have built churches, dug wells, educated leaders, equipped schools and hospitals, fed and clothed children, planted trees, supported missionaries, rescued victims of wars and natural disasters, and shared God's love.

To all of the people across the world who share in this partnership, the mission work of The Advance is like living water. It refreshes, renews, blesses, gives life and gives hope. It transforms the world, causing even a desert to turn green with life. May God bless the work we do as, together, we walk the second mile.

New Signature
Shawn Bakker,
Director of The Advance