As I reflect upon my first several months as the resident bishop of the Indiana Area, I can’t help but feel a deep gratitude towards the warm welcome that you have offered my family and me, as well as the Kingdom work we have witnessed thus far during our time in Indiana.
 
One of the many attributes of the Indiana Conference that I have come to admire is the rich history and commitment to mobilizing God’s generosity and grace through missions, one of those being the Indiana Conference Bishop’s Christmas Offering for Children. This offering was created to help meet the unique needs of children through ministries geared towards transforming communities. Ministries like Newburgh UMW’s Summer Food Program providing nourishing, nutrient-dense meals for children and families during the summer months when school is not in session and a quality meal for many children can be hard to come by.
 
As we’ve seen in recent months, children are one of our most vulnerable demographics. Turning on any television screen, we see daily acts of domestic violence, Amber Alerts, malnourishment, bombings in the Middle East, refugees fleeing areas under siege while uncertain of what the next day may unfold. In these moments of chaos, we have been called to be beacons of hope and light, as well as providers of peace for the next generation.
 
Recently, I shared a story about a glory sighting I witnessed. During worship one Sunday morning, I was amazed at the joyful response of a crowd of children as they excitedly made their way to the front of the church sanctuary for the children’s sermon. That morning, God opened my eyes to a new view of this familiar scene. I saw children who were loved and being loved by their church and families. Children with untainted views about the goodness of the world and the love of God expressed in Christian community. Children too young and too innocent to be burdened or confused about politics, prejudice, and misjudgment. Children who like to smile, play, sing, and just be part of a family where love is not in short ration and children are obviously important.
 
My wife and I believe that children were not born to sit still but point us to the glory of God who echoes love throughout the ages as Jesus Christ invites the children to come near and not be hindered. Each child is a person of worth and should be offered the opportunity to come near to Jesus. 
 
This year I would like to thank you for your continued support to this ministry offering and invite you, your family, and your community of faith to join me in praying for the children of our world, both near and far.
 
Also, please join with me in giving to the Indiana Conference Bishop’s Christmas Offering for Children. The Conference Mission Team has prayed for and chooses ministries to improve and provide hope to the lives of children. Many of these ministries have direct ties to Indiana, making their outreach even more special to us.
 
As in the past, Christmas offering funds received this year will be allocated by percentages. The offering will be divided to help meet the needs of these children’s ministries:

  • The Indiana Conference Camping program will receive 20 percent to go to first-time campers and children in need;
  • The three Indiana United Methodist-related children and youth homes will receive 20 percent;
  • Local outreach projects will receive 20 percent;
  • United Methodist Advance Projects (national and global) will receive 20 percent;
  • Bishop’s fund for emergency children’s projects and the promotion of this offering will receive 20 percent

Programs supported by this offering are selected by the Conference Mission Team and approved by the Conference Special Offering Committee. These ministries are among those endorsed by our United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries or on the Conference Advance Specials list.
 
My hope is that we will continue to build on our generosity towards ministries that focus on the health and well-being of children throughout the world. On behalf of the countless children whose lives will be changed as a result of this offering, I thank you.

“but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs."

- Matthew 19:14

Be encouraged,
Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble
 

Please send your Bishop’s Christmas Offering for Children, payable to Indiana Conference UMC, and mail to INUMC, Dept. 6089, Carol Stream, IL 60122-6089. Mark the memo: Christmas Offering. Thank you. You may also click here to give online.

To download resources, posters, or bulletin inserts, please click here.