By Rev. Garth Duke Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries
As your new South Georgia Annual Conference Secretary for Global Ministries, one of my tasks is to highlight the great mission work we are doing in the world. It will be my pleasure to share news of some of the people and the places we are working to make a difference for the kingdom of God. In this column I mention UMCOR, The United Methodist Committee on Relief. For more information about this agency, visit umcmission.org/umcor/.
If you see a disaster or a human tragedy and wonder where the church is, know that our United Methodist church is there via UMCOR, offering resources, people, and the love of God to those in need. Our apportionments support them so they can go and serve where needed. UMCOR is serving in places like Central America, Asia, Africa, and here in the United States.
You ask, “Where is the church?” One of those places we are also serving is Afghanistan. The news that came out of Afghanistan in August caused many Christians to wonder where the church was. UMCOR has been there and the work they did will continue long after everyone else is gone.
From UM News, September 10, 2021:
United Methodists were working to help the people of Afghanistan as far back as the mid-1960s, David Wildman, a staff executive with United Methodist Global Ministries said, adding that the work has continued “through every conceivable regime.” The UMCOR field office in Afghanistan closed in 2014 and there hasn’t been United Methodist staff there since 2020, he said.
Projects such as latrines, high-altitude greenhouses, and irrigation ditches, supported by the denomination, have made a big difference in Afghanistan.
What can we do? We can pray for UMCOR. We can pay our apportionments to help support them. We can send in additional money to help them serve in the world, whether here in the United States or across the world. We can volunteer to serve with them. Together, we are making a difference. The church is alive and well, serving God and God’s people.
Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, pastor of Epworth United Methodist Church in Jesup, also serves as Conference Secretary for Global Ministries.