United Methodist Communications announces the publication of the 2009-12 edition of The United Methodist Handbook, a 48-page, colorful publication filled with comprehensive information about The United Methodist Church and the ways it lives out its global mission. The handbook is available at no charge.

“This handbook is an invaluable resource for church leaders, members, and those who are new to the church,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. “It captures the essence of what it means to be a United Methodist, showing who we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going.”

Themed with the mission of “making disciples for the transformation of the world,” the 2009-12 handbook prominently features The United Methodist Church’s “Four Areas of Focus.” The focus areas are key ministries affirmed and adopted by the 2008 General Conference, which include: developing principled Christian leaders for the church and the world; creating new places for new people and renewing existing congregations; engaging in ministry with the poor; and stamping out the killer diseases of poverty by improving health globally. The handbook describes current needs within each area, and outlines the denomination’s strategies for meeting those challenges.

Additionally, new for 2009-12 are detailed maps of central and jurisdictional annual conferences that show more fully how our connectional church serves around the world. Content also includes the mission and beliefs of United Methodists, the church’s basic organization, and its history. Giving and online learning opportunities are highlighted, too.

“This handbook will assist you and your congregation to become more deeply acquainted with how The United Methodist Church lives out its mission every day,” wrote Bishop Gregory Palmer, President of the Council of Bishops. “You will find resources that will coach forward your vision and capacity to do God’s work in God’s wonderful world.”

Copies of the handbook are available at www.umcgiving.org or by calling 888-346-3862.