Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

Timeline: 60 Years of Sharing Through The Advance

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1939

World War II Creates Massive Relocation of Missionaries

World War II begins, and Methodist mission and personnel are disrupted. Political upheavals force missionary evacuations and relocations around the world.

The Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Protestant Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South unite to form the Methodist Church. Mission work is centralized.

1944

$27 Million Is Raised for Mission

A world traumatized by World War II is in dire need of new vision and new hope. Amid the hunger and want of ruined cities and scorched villages, hope seems lost.

Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam requests $25 million over four years for the “crusade for Christ” to finance war relief and evangelism efforts. An unprecedented 1.6 million new members join the Methodist Church in one year. Fund-raising and evangelism efforts go hand in hand. More than $27 million is collected for the Board of Missions, predecessor of the General Board of Global Ministries.

1948

General Conference Commits to World-Wide Mission

General Conference declares a commitment to “a world-wide Advance in which Methodists may share in a ministry of relief and in carrying the Gospel of Christ to the peoples of the earth.” United Methodists from all over the world are connected by doctrine, practice and mission, therefore we are positioned to do the work of Jesus Christ both within and beyond our immediate reach.

General Conference approves the “Quadrennial Plan for Christ and His Church,” with an educational component and “The Advance Fund.” Projects authorized for giving through The Advance receive designated funds from churches and conferences directly. World Service is raised by 33 percent, and a channel of giving for churches—the “Week of Dedication”—is established.

Gifts are generous, with $10.5 million for The Advance, $2.5 million for the Week of Dedication and $27 million for World Service.

1952

Special Conference Partnerships Are Established

The Advance continues for four more years with a provision that 10 percent of funds raised would go to conference-initiated projects in the United States.

1956

The Advance Is Established as a Permanent Structure of Contribution

By 1956, General Conference solidifies The Advance as a permanent structure and a continuing source of funding and begins to regulate the ways in which contributions are collected and designated. Local churches collect and send funds to the conference treasurer, who forwards the money to The Advance.

1999

Advance Projects Received $44 Million

Contributions to Advance projects total $44 million in 1999, compared to $30 million in 1998. The previous record for annual giving to the Advance was $34 million in 1985.

2001

Advance Responds to Sept. 11 Terrorist Attacks

By the end of November, UMCOR receives a total of $22.3 million through general Advance specials, including “Love in the Midst of Tragedy,” the church’s special offering in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In addition, Advance specials to other mission program areas total $13.2 million. Almost $1 million had come in for bishops’ appeals.

Together, these three areas of Advance specials had receive nearly $36.4 million.

2004

United Methodist Global HIV/AIDS Fund is Established

The United Methodist Global AIDS Fund is established at the 2004 General Conference to raise $8 million by 2008. Funds are to be used to support programs offering HIV and AIDS education, prevention, treatment, and care services in the United States and around the world.

The United Methodist Global AIDS Fund awards a grant to Chicuque Rural Hospital in Mozambique.

The Advance is Assigned a New Oversight Committee

General Conference votes to dismantle the General Council on Ministries and replaces it with the Connectional Table. Oversight for The Advance is changed to The Advance Committee of the Connectional Table and the General Board of Global Ministries.

2008

The Advance Celebrates 60 Years

During its first 60 years of existence, United Methodists gave over $1.2 billion through The Advance to support mission work and missionaries all over the world.