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AC offering to aid partners

Nurses and baby

Churches are invited to hear updates from ministry partners in Haiti and Liberia and to support them by bringing their offerings to the 2024 Michigan Annual Conference.

Michigan Conference Communications

In preparation for the 2024 Michigan Annual Conference, to be held at the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme, MI, next month, local United Methodist churches are encouraged to receive an offering to support three ministry projects in Haiti and Liberia, our covenant partners, and hear updates on their work.

The traditional opening worship offering to be received on Thursday, May 30, will benefit our covenant partners through the support of Haitian Assets for Peace International (HAPI) and the Bishop Judith Craig Children’s Village. Each will receive 45% of the offering. Bishop David Bard has also designated a 10% tithe for Water for Life in Liberia.

These General Advance Projects are Step 4 EngageMI Ministry Partners, vital initiatives supported by the Michigan Conference. Congregations are encouraged to receive an offering in their church before we gather as an annual conference in Acme. We will dedicate the collective offerings of each of our churches to the glory of God.

How to Give Your Offering

Individuals and churches can bring their offerings to opening worship or mail them beforehand. Please make your check payable to “Michigan Conference,” noting “AC Offering” in the memo line. Checks sent by mail should be sent directly to this address: Michigan Conference Center North, 1161 E. Clark Rd., Suite 212, DeWitt, MI 48820.

Do you wish to give online? Click this secure link to pay with a debit or credit card. Please note that donations received via PayPal cannot be credited toward church giving for this event.

Enough cannot be said about the importance of our efforts, the significance of 100-percent participation, and the urgency of the needs, especially given recent developments in Haiti, one of the two areas supported by this year’s offering. Here are updates from these three ministry partners as you learn how every dollar given does a world of good.

Haitian Assets for Peace International (HAPI)

HAPI continues to provide medical care, health resources, and training amid turmoil throughout the island nation of nearly 11.5 million people. Working from home in Hudsonville, MI, Executive Director Valerie Mossman-Celestin shared these helpful insights: “These events were not sudden, nor unpredicted — other than the assassination of President Moise. However, the Level 4 Travel Advisory has had a significant impact. HAPI’s teams are couriers for materials and ambassadors, but they can no longer travel. Their work helped support mental and spiritual health by funding special community activities not within HAPI’s core operational budget.”

Given the current humanitarian crisis in Haiti, health needs are escalating, necessitating more medical staff. Meanwhile, a major source of financial support, the General Board of Global Ministries’ Health Strengthening Grant, is up for renewal on June 1. However, that determination will remain pending until the upcoming General Conference. Provisions were already slim. Today, the financial support of the Michigan Conference is crucial, as HAPI’s efforts to keep up with soaring inflation and escalating needs heighten.

Nurse giving a shot
Approximately 60 pregnant women are welcomed monthly as part of HAPI’s Start Right program. The women have their vital signs checked and are educated on the importance of dental care for themselves and their babies. Additionally, they undergo consultation, have blood tests, and receive vaccinations. ~ photo courtesy HAPI/Facebook

Yet, there is still good news to report. Health workers are helping 144 older adults monitor their diabetes and hypertension through home visits. Last year’s offerings from the Michigan Conference helped HAPI provide 7,130 patient consultations, prenatal care for 383 pregnant women, 1,878 lab tests, and skilled training for 117 young adults.

As the media focus on Haiti’s unrest increases, it is easy to forget that women are still giving birth, and basic health needs continue, coupled with numerous gang-related medical emergencies. Our support of HAPI is timely beyond measure. Mossman-Celestin requests “prayers for security and peace for the country, and for HAPI staff and community members who are under tremendous stress, depression, and anxiety. The situation feels hopeless. Haitians feel forgotten.”

She continues, “Congregations move on to support ministries they can physically engage in, which is yet another injustice the violence has brought to the people of Haiti. They are cut off from supporting relationships. The mental and spiritual are at least as important as the physical. Please pray for the diaspora, those living outside their home country, who face horrible remarks in the media about Haitians, who do not feel the same sense of community support as other immigrants fleeing violence.”

Bishop Judith Craig Children’s Village

The Rev. Jon Reynolds shared this update on our progress at the Bishop Judith Craig Children’s Village: “I am very grateful for the multi-decade relationship we have fostered with Liberia and the support the orphanage has received.”

Two children playing instruments
Making music! Now 24 years old, the Bishop Judith Craig Children’s Village in Liberia serves the needs of 70 children and youth. Bishop Craig served the Michigan Area from 1984 to 1992. ~ photo courtesy Jon Reynolds

The village focuses on providing a quality education and a safe place to live to prevent conditions that can leave children vulnerable to illegal pursuits. The mission aims to dedicate more time and resources to helping neglected children.

For 24 years, the Bishop Judith Craig Children’s Village has cared for children. It began as an orphanage for children displaced by Liberia’s civil war. Today, the village provides basic education, health care, and counseling for students during the day. Financial support for the village provides educational scholarships, funds their care, and pays for food for their nutrition.

“The orphanage,” says Reynolds, “continues to be one of the most important mission commitments of the Michigan Conference. Every year, about 70 children and youth reside in cottages that were built by Michigan United Methodists. Our support is paramount to the village’s continued ministry in Liberia. The children and staff of the orphanage rely on our support.”

Water for Life

Water for Life is another Liberia-focused mission we are supporting this year. They will receive a 10% tithe from our offerings. Please take a moment to view this brand-new video created by the Michigan Conference about the progress of this mission in Liberia, which is worthy of celebration.

Words can only begin to describe the necessity of continued efforts to provide deep wells of clean water for drinking and bathing. Much remains to be accomplished, as 75% of Liberians still need access to safe drinking water and sanitation. However, strides are being made, even as those needs continue. Executive Director Jefferson Knight said the intervention of The United Methodist Church offers hope by meeting this basic human need.

Boy drawing water from a well
United Methodists are responsible for helping to fund the building of many clean water wells in Liberia. These simple but powerful gifts are sources of life and sustenance. ~ MIphoto/Mark Doyal

Water for Life provides education for establishing and supporting community structures, in addition to instructive training on how to supervise water access. Perhaps your church has already given but can give more. In that case, those additional gifts will enable the completion of more wells and get crucial life-giving water to families and villages in dire need even sooner. For those who have yet to make their contribution or who are still in the process of collecting donations, this update may provide additional motivation.

Although most Liberian villages are located along waterways, most people still desperately seek safe and clean water. Aside from those that The United Methodist Church is building, most wells are contaminated, broken, or overused, forcing villagers to drink from stagnant, bacteria-infested rivers, ponds, and swamps. That continues to cause serious illness and even death, especially among children. The wells the Michigan Conference is sponsoring through your generous gifts are slowly but surely turning that around.

Last Updated on April 16, 2024

The Michigan Conference