What if this Christmas, we choose to swim against the cultural tide that favors consumerism to Christ and leaves so many of us exhausted and empty.
What if every one of the 151,940 members of the North Alabama Conference chose to give one less gift this year—just one.
Let’s be clear: there is nothing wrong with giving presents. It can be a wonderful expression of one’s love and appreciation for others. But this year, what if we each give just one less gift and then take the money you would have spent on that gift and give it away to someone in need -- like the retired pastors and spouses of the Central Conferences who have no pension.
In the United States, United Methodist clergy have been blessed to be participants in a secure pension program that provides a retirement with dignity. In the Central Conferences – conferences of The United Methodist Church outside the United States – the retired clergy and surviving spouses do not have this same blessing. Many struggle simply to survive without an adequate or secure pension after many years of devoted service. For those that have visited areas in the central conferences, the stories of struggle from the retirees of the Church are heart-wrenching examples of the tremendous need for us to help provide the resources necessary to establish a program that will change the lives of thousands. The Central Conference Pension Initiative is designed to become a long-term solution – a foundation for retirement security for those who would otherwise have little or nothing after years of devoted service.
Giving up one present to make a donation to the the Central Conference Pension Initiative may not seem like a big deal, but if we do this together it could become a big deal. Say each North Alabama United Methodist gave $10. That would amount to $1.5 million. That would go a long way in helping reach the General Church’s $20 million goal for this initiative.
Forgoing one present and giving ten dollars to any ministry or mission may not be a big deal to one person. However, if many people made that choice, that United Methodist connectionalism in action would truly offer the love of Christ to those most in need this year this Christmas.
Change the way you celebrate Christmas, and together we can change the world.
The Advent Conspiracy is a grassroots movement with more than 1,000 churches of many denominations in 17 countries participating as co-conspirators—with projects as varied as drilling a well for those who lack access to clean water or simply encouraging congregations to think of meaningful acts of kindness as meaningful gift options to replace traditional gifts.
Last year, through Advent Conspiracy, $3 million was raised for relief projects which included providing clean water and medical attention in communities around the world.
This year, Advent Conspiracy anticipates that individuals and churches will match last year’s commitment to charitable gifts and will make a lasting impact in communities around the world.
For more information about Advent Conspiracy, visit www.adventconspiracy.org.