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Advent offering, resources announced

Advent candles

The Michigan Conference announces the recipients of this year’s Advent offering along with updated resources for children and families.

Bishop David Bard has announced that the 2023 Advent offering will go to After the Storm, the Michigan Conference’s long-term disaster recovery nonprofit, and the Readers to Leaders campaign, which is raising money to send children to United Methodist-affiliated schools here in Michigan and in Liberia. He invites each United Methodist congregation in Michigan to contribute financially to these ministries by receiving an offering during the Advent season.

In related news, Rev. Kathy Pittenger, Children’s Initiatives Coordinator, has compiled new and updated resources for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany on the Michigan Conference’s brand-new Lifelong Faith website dedicated to faith formation. Most of the season’s offerings are geared toward children, but some are intergenerational and useful for youth and adults.

The Children’s Ministry Toolbox was recently moved from the main Michigan Conference website to the new standalone Lifelong Faith website. More content will be added soon, with an official website launch in 2024.

Grants of up to $300 for Advent/Christmas faith formation-related ministries are also available. The deadline for applications is November 17. Click here to learn more.

Bishop Bard’s Advent Appeal

This year’s Advent offering will be split between After the Storm and the Readers to Leaders campaign, two life-giving, hope-filled ministries birthed out of the Michigan Conference.

Congregations and individuals wishing to give to Bishop Bard’s Advent appeal can send a check, payable to the Michigan Conference, to the Conference Treasurer, 1161 East Clark Road, Suite 212, DeWitt, MI 48820. Write this phrase in the memo line: Advent Offering. Donations can also be given online by using this secure PayPal link.

Bishop Bard says, “I am delighted to direct this year’s Advent offering toward two Michigan Conference-initiated ministries that are making a difference. Every year, it seems the weather brings disaster of one kind or another. We established After the Storm as a separate nonprofit to provide a caring response when disasters strike. Our support through this offering allows them to be ready when needed. You have been responding generously to the Readers to Leaders campaign to support summer educational and empowerment programs for children and youth here in Michigan, along with helping provide educational scholarships for students in Liberia. This offering will help us meet our two-year goal for these programs.”

“At Christmas,” he concludes, “we celebrate a generous God whose love makes all the difference in our lives. We, in turn, have the opportunity through this offering to share God’s goodness with others generously.”

Advent/Christmas Toolbox

The online Advent/Christmas Toolbox has ideas, articles, resources, and more for worship and ministry in 2023, as well as general information and ideas that can be adapted for this year. Much of the content is curated for children and families. The toolbox has been updated recently with new resources and will continue to be updated throughout November. Click here to access the toolbox. Ideas are also shared in the Michigan Conference Children’s Ministry Facebook Group.

If churches or individuals have questions or suggestions or need someone to listen to a concern or idea, contact Rev. Kathy Pittenger by email at [email protected]. “I am here for you,” says Pittenger, “to support, encourage, equip, and empower you to do the incredible work you are doing.”

Grants for Advent and Christmas

Grants of up to $300 for Advent/Christmas faith formation-related ministries are available again for Michigan United Methodist churches in 2023. These grants are made possible by generous congregations that give to the annual Christian Education Sunday offering. These grants may be used for curriculum, resources, or supplies for Advent and Christmas directly related to faith formation/discipleship with all ages. Applications will be accepted through November 17, prioritizing churches that did not receive a grant in 2022. Click here to apply.

Holy Moments: Light Resource

Light is an Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany resource for families and congregations from Practical Resources for Churches, an ecumenical resource center that partners with various Christian denominations. All Michigan United Methodist churches can get the downloadable resources at no cost, thanks to a partnership between the Michigan Conference and PRC. Preview samples here. Use this form to request Light; no purchase from PRC is necessary.


This resource is an intergenerational, spirit-filled, invitational, and reflective approach to Advent. Daily devotions in the style of “Visio Divina” (Divine Seeing) invite individuals to reflect on each day’s scripture through images, questions, and prayer. #pictureAdvent is a collaborative project of the Rio Texas, Great Plains, and Michigan Conferences of The United Methodist Church. Find #pictureAdvent on Facebook or click here to sign up to receive each day’s devotion by email.

Last Updated on January 31, 2024

The Michigan Conference