SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT Beginning today, the Connect ’N Mission newsletter will be distributed biweekly, alternating with the UMCOR Hotline every Wednesday. The next issue of Connect ‘N Mission will arrive in your mailbox on March 3.
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NEWS: STRENGTHENING HISPANIC/LATINO MINISTRIES A three-year partnership grant between the General Board of Global Ministries, the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry, The Duke Endowment and the North Carolina Annual Conference, supports the development and strengthening of Hispanic/Latino ministries through the Empowering Network Initiative (ENI), a ministry of the North Carolina Annual Conference.
ENI offers support and accountability to current and future Hispanic/Latino pastors. Using the National Plan’s training modules, ENI offers church leaders formal pastoral and theological education in church planting and mission growth.
“We as the National Plan are intentional in our efforts to walk with the people of the local congregations and our institution to make His kingdom possible in the 21st century,” said Francisco Canas, director of the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministries.
Trainees through ENI include current leaders in the candidacy process, those serving under episcopal appointment, emerging leaders, and leaders whose ministries are connected with a local church or district.
The Duke Endowment will generously match both the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry and North Carolina Annual Conference funds providing $120,000 of the $300,000 total grant funds for the three-year period.
PRAYER: ASH WEDNESDAY Gracious God,
We come to you on this Holy day with humble hearts, thankful for your many blessings.
On this first day of Lent we remember your son, Jesus Christ, and his 40 days in the desert, fasting and praying.
We too, enter this season fasting and praying.
Show us oh God the literal and figurative ways we should be fasting this holy season, dying to our own human flesh so that we may know you better.
Reveal to us the scripture that you would have us meditate on this season.
Let this season be a time of discernment.
Speak to us Holy One; order our steps in Your Word.
May this season be a season of breakthrough!
Let us repent in all of the ways that we have fallen short.
Let us turn away from the illusions of comfort that surround us in this world,
and let us find rest in You.
In the busyness of our day-to-day lives, remind us of the Holy season among us.
Show us —in the way that only you can —that we are loved.
Today Holy God free us to lay down our burdens and strengthen us to pick up your cross.
—Laura Wise, Mission Communicator, Global Ministries
MISSION INSIGHTS FROM THE GENERAL SECRETARY The Holy Spirit and Lent
I was overjoyed when I discovered a Lenten resource centered on the Holy Spirit, published in time for this year’s observance of the season. 40 Days with the Holy Spirit (Paraclete Press) is a series of lively, provocative and inspiring meditations for these 40 days of preparation for Easter. The author is Jack Levison, professor of Old Testament interpretation and biblical Hebrew at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.
Our very own Global Ministries’ statement of mission theology affirms the important role of the Spirit in leading us as Christians “to fullness in God’s purpose,” that is, in God’s mission. The centrality of the Holy Spirit in mission is also affirmed in “Together Towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes,” a document prepared by a group organized by the World Council of Churches. The focus on Spirit in each of these statements provides guidance for our engagement in God's mission.
Each of the 40 sections in Levison's book contains scripture, thoughts to consider, prayer and opportunity to reflect. Each also focuses on the breath in spiritual practice. I like this in part because it reflects the intention of “Take a Breath,” our weekly staff service of prayer and meditation at the General Board of Global Ministries. Taking a breath makes room for the Holy Spirit!
Those of us who work together in God’s mission need also to pray and study together—to be silent in one another’s presence, to listen to the Holy Spirit, who visits us in manifold ways.
This year for our Lenten preparation, the leadership team (the “cabinet”) of Global Ministries is using 40 Days with the Holy Spirit as our prayer and study guide.
I was privileged to have the opportunity to read and comment on the book prior to publication. I am deeply impressed by the sensitive, inclusive and biblically relevant insights Professor Levison brings to our awareness of the Holy Spirit and to the experience of Lent. I encourage others to spend “40 days with the Holy Spirit” this year in preparation for the celebration of the Risen Christ.
Professor Levison’s book is available for a moderate price from Cokesbury. It can be ordered online.
RESOURCES: 10 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR PRAYER LIFE Do you find yourself at a loss of words when it’s time to pray? Are you distracted by many things?
As Lent begins and you consider ways to deepen the spiritual disciplines of worship, fasting and prayer, “10 Ways to Improve Your Prayer Life” is a helpful tool to strengthen your prayer and devotional time.
Suggestions such as being still, listening, changing your current routine, and establishing times of solitude can help lift you out of a spiritually dry season.
Click here to read more.
MEDIA: IMPROVING NUTRITION IN NEPAL In this new video, Global Ministries Missionary Deirdre Zimmerman highlights her work as a nutritionist addressing the problem of malnutrition among women and children in Nepal, South Asia.
Zimmerman serves as an advisor to the Nutrition Promotion and Consultancy Services, through the Nutrition Project for Urban Communities, Advance #3020440, which works to enrich the lives of Nepalis with better nutrition through education and training.
Watch the video now to learn more
Photos in order of appearance: Global Ministries; Kathleen Barry, UMNS; Isaac Broune, UMNS and Deirdre Zimmerman.