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Bishop asks support for Haiti, Human Relations Day

Residents of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, carry coffins of the deceased through
the streets of the Haitian capital following a massive earthquake.
A UMNS photo by Marco Dormino, UN. 

A UMNS Report
By Barbara Dunlap-Berg*

2:30 PM EST Jan. 15, 2010

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer

The president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops is calling on church members to “rise to the occasion” of meeting both the emergency needs of the Haitian people and U.S. community development needs supported in a special offering scheduled for Sunday.

The two causes should not compete, Bishop Gregory V. Palmer said in a letter to Illinois Great Rivers Annual (regional) Conference clergy.

“As you know,” he wrote, “Sunday, Jan. 17, is Human Relations Day in The United Methodist Church. This annual emphasis also carries with it the invitation to give a special offering that supports the ministry of The United Methodist Church in strengthening people, relationships and communities.

“We are also in the midst of giving special offerings through UMCOR because of the disaster in Haiti. Both giving opportunities are important, so please do all you can not to let them compete. Because of the urgency of the efforts in Haiti, please feel free to do the Human Relations Day offering on another Sunday. But please don't forget about it.”

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Palmer encouraged church members to respond to the crisis in Haiti through prayer, information-sharing and financial contributions.

“I am confident,” he said, “that we can rise to the occasion to respond to the humanitarian crisis that stares us in the face and to support ongoing ministries that reflect important United Methodist commitments.”

Ohio West Area Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the General Board of Global Ministries, told United Methodist News Service that “on the first day [of the Haiti appeal], there were over $270,000 in online contributions.”

Human Relations Day is celebrated the Sunday before the national birthday observance of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The special offering strengthens outreach to communities in the United States and Puerto Rico and encourages social justice and work with at-risk youth.

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*Dunlap-Berg is a content editor for United Methodist Communications, Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Barbara Dunlap-Berg, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.  


 Photos from team in Haiti

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