‘Lenten Hunger Offering' goal: participation by at least 35% of all Memphis Conference churches in recognition of campaign’s 35th anniversary in 2018
2018 is the 35th anniversary year of the Memphis Conference's annual Lenten Hunger Offering.
Click here for 2018 campaign materials.
By Lane Gardner Camp, Memphis Conference Director of Communications
In recognition of the 35th anniversary of the Memphis Conference’s annual Lenten Hunger Offering, 35 percent church participation is the goal for the 2018 campaign that will run from Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, to Easter Sunday, April 1.
Established in 1983, the offering once known as the Lenten World Hunger Offering was shortened to Lenten Hunger Offering (LHO) in 2016 to help stress local hunger needs alongside world hunger issues.
2018 marks the campaign’s 35th anniversary. Over the years the Memphis Conference has raised more than $2 million for hunger relief.
BISHOP McALILLY EXPRESSES THANKS
Thanking “faithful United Methodists across the Memphis Conference” who have “given sacrificially” to the Lenten Hunger Offering for 35 years, Bishop Bill McAlilly said, “It is phenomenal what we can do together for the cause of Christ.”
McAlilly is the resident bishop for the Nashville Episcopal Area that includes the Memphis and Tennessee Conferences. The Memphis Conference includes more than 400 churches in four districts in West Tennessee and Western Kentucky.
For its 35th anniversary, McAlilly said it is his prayer that “every congregation in the Memphis Conference make a gift to the Lenten Hunger Offering” in 2018.
“This is one of the hallmarks of our connection,” said McAlilly, “that together we are better and can do more to address the needs of the world through our giving.”
RECOGNIZING THE NEED
As the Memphis Conference’s world hunger advocate, Dr. Debra S. (Debi) Selby is leading the Lenten Hunger Offering campaign for the second year in a row. She lives in Paris, Tennessee, where she is a member of Paris First United Methodist Church and works as a pediatrician.
“Let’s remember hunger continues to plague the human population and that thousands die every day from hunger-related causes,” writes Selby in her 2018 campaign letter.
“The U.S. is one of the world’s wealthiest nations, yet more than 14 percent of American households struggle to put enough food on the table. These households include not only young children but also aging parents, two populations at high risk for complications of hunger.”
MEETING THE NEED
Dr. Joe Geary, director of Connectional Ministries for the Memphis Conference, explained how proceeds of just over $39,000 from the 2017 campaign were distributed.
“The vast percentage,” he said was given to each of the Conference’s four districts and to two of its agencies, Reelfoot Rural Ministries and United Methodist Neighborhood Centers.
“Our two agencies daily feed the hungry in their urban and rural settings,” said Geary. “The districts grant their funds back to local churches who have face-to-face relationships with the vulnerable populations of their communities.
“Local church food ministries allow current disciples to make new disciples of Jesus through relationships that foster Word and Deed.”
Geary explained that a smaller percentage of the offering “goes beyond our area to make a difference in other nations where we have Memphis Conference missionaries or Volunteers in Mission serving longer term.”
Click here to read 2017 campaign results.
In recognition of the Lenten Hunger Offering’s 35th anniversary, Selby is inviting and encouraging participation from churches that have previously not participated. She has issued a challenge for at least 35 percent of all Memphis Conference churches to be involved by not only helping to raise money, but also raising awareness about the presence and realities of hunger close to home and around the world.
Selby also is asking churches that have generously and consistently participated in the past to strive to increase their giving in 2018.
That two-part challenge is how Selby hopes to increase 2018 giving from 2017’s total.
Click here to read Selby’s 2018 campaign letter.
A MISSIONAL HEART
One Memphis Conference church that has consistently made generous contributions to the Lenten Hunger Offering over 35 years is Enville United Methodist Church (UMC) in Enville, Tennessee, in the Tennessee River District. With an average Sunday worship of 70, this small church donated $6,500 to the Lenten Hunger Offering in 2017.
Vicki Dimond is chair of Enville UMC’s church council. Asked about her congregation’s gift to the Lenten Hunger Offering, she said, “When members of Enville United Methodist Church discuss giving, a wise man in our congregation often says, ‘What are we here for?’ And then we do what we can.”
She quoted Matthew 25:40 NIV: "…I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
Rev. Bill Evans, Enville UMC’s pastor, describes his congregation as having “a visionary spirit and missional heart.”
He said, “They see needs ... and welcome opportunities to respond,” stressing that they don’t look for money needs, but missional needs.
“Missional giving is part of our way of life at Enville,” stated Evans. “We just have to present a need and people respond. If you have a second-mile spirit, the first mile will take care of itself.”
As was done in 2016 and 2017, the 2018 campaign is designed to keep more money inside the Memphis Conference with grants to the conference’s four districts for their churches’ community and neighborhood food pantries and feeding ministries.
Other 2018 campaign beneficiaries (Memphis Conference and global partners) include Reelfoot Rural Ministries, United Methodist Neighborhood Centers of Memphis, Our Father's House, Project Peanut Butter and feeding ministry partners in Mexico.
Click here to learn more about 2018 campaign beneficiaries.
2018 CAMPAIGN MATERIALS
A variety of print and electronic materials have been developed to help churches implement a 2018 local Lenten Hunger Offering campaign.
Click here to access campaign materials that include a poster, video, social media graphics, bulletin insert and more.
HOW TO SUBMIT FUNDS
To ensure prompt distribution of funds to those in need, please remit offerings as soon as possible. All offerings should be received by the Treasurers office no later than Monday, April 30. They should be mailed to Memphis Conference Treasurer, PO Box 10667, Jackson, TN 38308-0111. (Use Second Mile Giving on the monthly remittance statement. Please note Lenten Hunger Offering.)
Any individual or church with questions about the Lenten Hunger Offering should contact their district office or Memphis Conference Communications at email@example.com or 731-664-8480.
Click here for 2018 campaign materials.