World Thank Offering: A Calling for this Time
World Thank Offering.
Prayerfully read through the lesson, thinking of ways to make this time together meaningful for the women in your circle, unit or group.
Gather the following items to use during the program:
- Index cards.
- Offering basket.
- Pencils or pens.
World Thank Offering boxes or labels
(order from www.umwmissionresources.org).
Make the following available for the program:
- Copies of response magazine.
- National and international maps printed from the United Methodist Women’s website.
- Prayer Calendar.
- The United Methodist Hymnal.
- United Methodist Women Bible (NRSV).
Before the meeting, ask individual women to help in the following roles:
- Lead the prayer (included in the lesson under “Study”).
- Read Luke 10:38–42.
- Read the assigned readings.
- Lead the music and singing.
- Lead the closing prayer.
- Lead the closing litany.
- In smaller units or circles, the leader may decide to ask one woman lead the opening and closing prayers and another woman to read the scripture and lead the litany.
- For the readings, the readers will provide national and international perspectives of how the World Thank Offering helps others, and the local reader provides the local perspective. If you would like to change the ministry used in the local reader text to one that is more personal for your unit, feel free to do so.
Set up the room with sufficient space for everyone to sit and move around as needed for the business meeting and the program.
- Set up the room in a way that will make it easy for the participants to quickly gather in small groups.
- Set up a worship center in a place visible to all participants—place a cross, an open Bible, a basin with water as a reminder of our baptism, copies of response magazine, Prayer Calendar and maps with different United Methodist Women supported mission institutions on the center.
Read and meditate on scripture and respond in faith.
Gracious and redeeming God, we come to you with our hearts filled with gratitude for the many blessings you have poured on us individually and collectively. Most of all, we want to thank you for calling us, your humble servants, to join you in mission through the organization of United Methodist Women. Help us to be your hands, your feet, your eyes and your mouth as we try to turn our faith, hope and love into actions on behalf of women, children and youth all over your created world. Amen!
“Open My Eyes, That I May See,” The United Methodist Hymnal, no. 454.
Reader 1: Martha and Mary’s story provides us with great examples of how we can be in service for the Lord. The sisters offer hospitality to Jesus and his disciples. They receive them into their home, prepare a meal for them and listen to their stories.
Jesus and the disciples had been on the road for a long time, going from place to place. They were on their way to Jerusalem, but they were still about two miles from their destination when they stopped at Martha and Mary’s. Hungry and tired, they needed a place to rest and receive some nourishment so they could continue their journey. Thus Martha, as a good hostess, sets out to tend to the needs of her guests after welcoming them into her home.
We also find Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening attentively and probably learning new ways to live out her calling as a faithful disciple. Mary is also being hospitable as she sits at Jesus’ feet. She is lending a listening ear to the guests’ travel stories. Before Jesus and his disciples arrived in Bethany, they experienced the excitement of the return of the 70 from their mission (Luke 10:17–20), then they had to deal with the lawyer who tried to “test Jesus” (verse 25–29), and there was also Jesus’ thought-provoking story about the good Samaritan (verses 30–35). The guests had stories to tell. Mary provided them with an audience!
Each woman, in her own way, tries to meet the guests’ needs and makes them feel very special. The sisters complement each other. However, in Jesus’ words, Mary’s decision to listen to the Lord was a wiser choice.
Explore the World Thank Offering and discover the impact it is making.
“Jesus’ Hands Were Kind Hands,” The United Methodist Hymnal, no. 273.
Reader 2: For the past 132 years, World Thank Offering has been a part of United Methodist Women and its predecessor organizations’ channel of giving. The World Thank Offering is an opportunity for individuals to respond to God’s abundance and grace with spontaneous gifts of gratitude following the example of Martha. The funds collected are used in the total program of mission in the United States and around the world that is carried out through the United Methodist Women’s national office.
Reader 3: Collectively, United Methodist Women members strive to meet the physical and social needs of women, children and youth around the world through the organization’s supported national and international mission institutions. In the United States, nearly 100 mission institutions are working toward dismantling hunger, providing safe places to those in need of shelter, soothing the pain of those suffering, lending listening ears to those who need to share their stories and providing radical hospitality.
Local Woman: Each year, as an outcome of their World Thank Offering program and in thankfulness to God, Miramar United Methodist Women members in the Southeast District of Florida Conference prepare baskets of nonperishable food to give to needy families in the church and community along with a gift certificate for perishable items. The entire congregation joins in their effort by donating nonperishable food. In 2012, Miramar United Methodist Women provided food baskets to 38 families whose children attend the church-sponsored preschool. In addition, they distributed boxes of groceries to the Homeless Voice in Hollywood, Broward Outreach Homeless Shelter, His House Children’s Home and Hallandale United Methodist Haitian Mission.
Reader 2: Just like Mary, United Methodist Women members seek to make themselves available to listen and hear the Lord’s voice through prayers, Bible studies and mission education so they can fulfill their calling “to love justice and walk humbly with the Lord” in order to bring wholeness to the broken world. Each year, members across the United States participate in district- and/or conference-sponsored spiritual retreats, Day Apart, Quiet Day and spiritual growth studies.
Local Woman: Understanding that without the leading of the Holy Spirit, their mission with their community is nothing but charitable work. Miramar United Methodist Women begins each new year with a prayer breakfast where members meet for two hours to pray for the work ahead of them as well as to thank God for the work accomplished through them in the previous year.
Go forward and take action in love.
Reader 1: Share or reflect in groups of two to three people ways that your local United Methodist Women is in mission in your community. Do you have a mission institution in your area or in a neighboring state? Think of ways you can be involved. If you are involved, how can you expand your concept of mission through your community? Write your ideas on the index card provided.
The Gift of Gratitude
Reader 3: It is rewarding to know how many lives have been touched over the years through United Methodist Women’s giving because members have responded to the call for service. However, as much as the World Thank Offering is about giving, it is equally about receiving. This offering is our individual and collective expression of gratitude for the many blessings we have already received from God. Each time we dropped a coin in a jar, a box, a basket or an envelope throughout this past year we had the opportunity to pause, reflect and be thankful for a specific blessing on that specific day. Let us share these blessings now so they can become blessings for others.
Please bring your World Thank Offering boxes, containers, envelopes or checks, along with your group index card, and place them in the basket as we sing.
“Take My Life, and Let It Be,” The United Methodist Hymnal, no. 399.
Thank you Lord, for calling us to serve you as well as to serve our neighbors. We accept your charge with both humility and joy. We recommit ourselves to you as we echo prophet Isaiah “Here, I am; send me!” We offer these gifts and ideas to you and pray that your Holy Spirit may guide those who will decide where to channel them, so together we can continue to make a difference in the lives of women, children and youth here in our community and around the world. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!
Leader: Let us read Psalm 111, a psalm of praise responsively.
Leader: Praise the Lord!
ALL: I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Leader: Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.
ALL: Full of honor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.
Leader: He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds; the Lord is gracious and merciful.
ALL: He provides food for those who fear him; he is ever mindful of his covenant.
Leader: He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the heritage of the nations.
ALL: The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. They are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
Leader: He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name.
ALL: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever.
Judith Pierre-Okerson is the chair of the committee on governance of the United Methodist Women Board of Directors for 2013–2016