Human Relations Day
January 16, 2011: Human Relations Day is one of the opportunities for United Methodist Churches to celebrate our connectional work. This day of social action and raising awareness aims to heal social ills at the national level. It supports Community Developers, United Methodist Voluntary Service (UMVS), and the Youth Offender Rehabilitation Program. The first two programs are administered through the General Board of Global Ministries.
In The United Methodist Church calendar, Human Relations Day happens the Sunday immediately following the observance of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. The juxtaposition of these two very special days is not a coincidence. The United Methodist Book of Discipline describes the purpose of Human Relations Day as a call to "the Church to recognize the right of all God's children in realizing their potential as human beings in relationship with each other."
The Community Developers program is one of the most exciting opportunities through which United Methodist churches assist ministries in racial-ethnic United Methodist Churches and communities throughout the United States. Local congregations initiate the work of a community developer, create effective responses to specific community needs, create a network of community developers that resource each other, and provide training and resources for them. The result is that these congregations make systemic changes that allow them to provide services in their communities, ranging from education and substance abuse to employment training, affordable housing, at-risk youth programs, HIV/AIDS testing and counseling, and much, much more.
Through the United Methodist Voluntary Service, Global Ministries seeks to be in supportive relationship with grass-roots organizations that work through youth and young adult volunteers to challenge oppression and injustice and to improve the lives and fulfill the potential of those whom Jesus called the "least of these."
Human Relations Day was established by the 1972 General Conference to promote support for the Community Developers, United Methodist Voluntary Service, and Police-Community Relations programs. In 1989 the Youth Offender Rehabilitation Program replaced the Police-Community Relations Program to respond to the growing population of youth offenders and their need for creative redirection.
Programs supported through the receipts of the Human Relations Day offering include but are not limited to:
- Affordable Housing
- Youth Empowerment/Initiatives
- Mental & Physical Health
- Youth Leadership
- Senior Citizen Assistance
- Restorative Justice
- Prison Ministries
- After-School & Summer Initiatives
- Human Relations Day (umcgiving.org)