New Advance Project Guide Now Available
New York, NY: Almost a thousand projects and programs in 100 countries are included in the new Giving Resource Guide from The Advance, the United Methodist designated mission giving channel.
Subtitled Strength in Numbers, the 111-page guide, a magazine-style catalogue, lists approved recipients for the quadrennium, or four-year period, from 2009-2012. It also contains other information on mission support, such as how congregations can enter into Covenant Relationships with missionaries.
The Advance represents "second-mile" mission giving, the "first mile" being mission support included in World Service apportionments to congregations.
Some $39 million is given in a typical year through The Advance for a wide range of mission projects, missionary support, disaster relief, and humanitarian service. Funds for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) go through The Advance, officially, "The Advance for Christ and His Church." One hundred percent of every Advance gift goes to the ministry designated by the donor. No administrative costs are taken from the contributions.
"We carefully reviewed hundreds upon hundreds of applicants for Advance designation," according to the Rev. Shawn Bakker, director of The Advance and an associate general secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries. The Advance is part of the international mission agency.
The new giving guide is organized geographically, with a section devoted to general mission topics. It covers all regions of the world except Australia/New Zealand, Canada, and scattered parts of Western Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. One can also search for projects by area, country, name, title, etc. on the online giving page.
"The contents of the print guide and the online database have been coordinated," said Rev. Bakker. "Donors can go online to get more comprehensive information on projects. They can contribute by several means, including credit card gifts online or by telephone, by check directly to The Advance or through their congregations."
Both broad ministries, such as new congregation development, hunger, AIDS prevention/treatment, or specific projects can be supported through The Advance. One new board ministry this year is the Four Hundred Fund, which is being used to start 400 new congregations outside the United States. A new specific project is Church Labor Advocacy and Solidarity Program in the Philippines. This project provides skills training and capacity-building to seasonal workers who are prohibited from forming unions.
Almost all Advance causes and projects originate on local or regional levels as ministry priorities of those related to needs and possibilities. Applications come through annual conferences and other regional organizations and must have the approval of area Episcopal leaders. However, approval as "an Advance" does not guarantee funding. Project goals in the resource guide are just that – goals.
A committee named by the Global Ministries directors oversees The Advance, which operates under financial supervision of the General Council on Finance and Administration and the General Treasurer of the mission agency.
Copies of the guide were mailed in January to all bishops, pastors, associate pastors, diaconal ministers, and a wide range of annual conference officers and staff members. Other mailings are planned.
Persons needing the print guide for their work on congregation, conference, or institutional levels may obtain free single copies through United Methodist Communications by visiting our online store or by calling 888-346-3862 and asking for item number 87400308. Alternately, you may call Cokesbury at 800-672-1789 and ask for item number 528190.
Other resources and materials related to The Advance are also available.