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Bishop’s Christmas offering invests in young leaders

Bishop David Bard speaking

The bishop’s Christmas offering will go to the Michigan Conference’s Readers to Leaders campaign, which is raising money to support children’s education at United Methodist schools in Liberia and at Freedom Schools in Detroit and Flint.

Content Editor

For this year’s Christmas offering, Bishop David Bard invites each United Methodist congregation in Michigan to contribute financially to the Readers to Leaders campaign.

At this year’s Michigan Annual Conference, members voted overwhelmingly to support Readers to Leaders, which challenges each congregation to raise at least $600 before May 1, 2023. The money raised through this $500,000 fundraising campaign will be split between the Liberia Scholarship Program and the Michigan Conference’s Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools Program, two ministries that support children’s education and raise up future leaders.

Congregations wishing to give can submit a check to the Michigan Conference at 1161 East Clark Road, Suite 212, DeWitt, MI 48820. Write this phrase in the memo line: “Readers to Leaders #4415.”

Individuals who want to contribute to this life-giving campaign can donate online through this secure Paypal link.

The Liberia Ministry Partners has established the Liberia Scholarship Program to celebrate the renewal of the covenant between the Liberia and Michigan Conferences. Three hundred dollars will cover the school fees for one student at a United Methodist school in Liberia. The program’s goal is to raise funds for 100 students for eight years of schooling.

The Michigan Conference has been operating CDF Freedom Schools through historic Black churches in communities of color for seven years. The program is making a difference in the lives of many families. It is also growing, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are plans to do more and expand to new sites in other cities here in Michigan. The money from the Readers to Leaders campaign will take the Freedom Schools program to a new level.

The CDF Freedom Schools Program currently has two sites in Detroit at Second Grace: St. Timothy UMC and Conant Avenue UMC, and two locations in Flint at Bethel UMC and Calvary UMC. The CDF Freedom Schools Program is a holistic six-week summer literacy and cultural enrichment program designed to serve children and youth in grades K–12 in communities where quality academic enrichment programming is limited, too expensive, or nonexistent. The money raised will help increase the Michigan Conference’s capacity to continue supporting Freedom Schools and to expand the number of children and youth served through new sites.

The Michigan Conference has invested in Freedom Schools since they opened in 2016. Through congregational Ministry Shares, money from the Michigan Conference already pays for young adult interns working at the schools as well as the creation of educational curricula for the teachers and students. United Methodist churches also support the Freedom Schools by providing daily meals and snacks and assisting with field trips for the students.

Bishop Bard hopes that every United Methodist congregation will invest in the future of young people attending our Freedom Schools in Michigan and at United Methodist schools in Liberia by donating to the Readers to Leaders fundraising campaign.

Last Updated on January 2, 2023

The Michigan Conference