There truly is power in numbers. Doing one, two, or 20 things for the Change the World event, May 14-15, makes it possible for any church – urban or rural, large or small – to make a difference in the local community or the world.
Last year more than 100,000 people from 1,000-plus churches united with a common purpose over a 48-hour period: to make a world of difference in ways both large and small, locally and globally. From California to Washington, Alabama to Mozambique, United Methodists from 13 countries and every state in the U.S. rolled up their sleeves and took to the streets to feed the hungry, aid the homeless, visit the lonely, and more.
From stocking food pantries and cleaning school grounds to washing cars and renovating homes, people of faith reached out to a world outside the four walls of their own churches … to transform the world.
Twelve churches in the California-Nevada Annual Conference made a commitment to put faith and love into action and helped make the Change the World event a success:
- St. Paul's UMC, Reno, NV
- Chinese Community UMC, Oakland, CA
- El Cerrito UMC, El Cerrito, CA
- Forestville UMC, Forestville, CA
- Trinity UMC, Mountain View, CA
- Davis UMC, Davis, CA
- Asbury UMC, Livermore, CA
- First UMC, Modesto, CA
- Temple UMC, San Francisco, CA
- Wesley UMC, Palo Alto, CA
- Oroville UMC, Oroville, CA
- Church of the Wayfarer, Carmel, CA
Projects ranged from Forestville UMC in Forestville, CA holding a work day to post new group signs on the Chamber of Commerce and a "Welcome to Forestville" sign on Highway 116; to Temple UMC in San Francisco sponsoring a "Brown Bag of Love," in which the youth of the church made and delivered peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to 100-150 homeless people downtown; to Wesley UMC in Palo Alto sponsoring "Walk Together" – an afternoon of walking, talking, and sharing issues of the community for better resource-sharing and helping one another.
Some other churches, which hadn't registered, still chose to participate. Twenty volunteers from the United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz fanned out through the neighborhood surrounding the church, picking up trash and connecting with their community, while members of Galt UMC raised their community's awareness about malaria.
This year United Methodist congregations around the world are again taking to the streets, schools, parks, nursing homes, neighborhoods, hospitals, homeless shelters, and more to make a difference, May 14-15 – making this an annual event. Will you be one of them?
Here's what to do:
First, identify a project that makes a difference in the local or global community (or both!).
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Feed the hungry (have a food drive for a local food bank, establish a food pantry, organize weekly community meals)
- Clean up community work day (beautification or "green & clean")
- Day of service to low income retirement homes, seniors, homeless shelters, and others
- Clean water projects (GBGM-UMC.org (a Change-the-World partner), CleanwaterUSA.org)
- Free health screenings
- Improvement projects through public school systems
- Raise money for Imagine No Malaria (a night of house parties, a car wash, youth sleep outs, basketball tournaments, etc.)
- Habitat for Humanity projects
- Clothing drive (conduct a "Coats for Kids" drive, hold a free "yard sale," establish a clothing closet)
- Paint a community center or playground
- Disaster relief (UMCOR, flood buckets, health kits, more relief supply kits)
While you're there, be sure to download the free flyer (available in English, Chinese, Spanish, Korean, and five other languages).
United Methodist Communications also has other resources and sermon starters in a number of languages, to further aid in planning and promoting Change the World events.
And be sure to invite people in your community to join in!
The causes are many: everything from preventing malaria and helping to cure breast cancer, to protecting the environment and feeding the homeless.
So do one, two, or 20 things – but don't be left behind …