The season of Advent is upon us! This special time can be busy, but can also provide opportunities to come together, engage in outreach, and extend a hand to ministries locally and nationwide.
In Luke 2:14, angels appear to shepherds after Jesus's birth proclaiming "Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom God favors." Just as these angels proclaimed the good news to those nearby, we must remember to share good words and good works with those in our community. Read below for stories of community outreach, brave young women, and emergency response in the Mountain Sky Community.
Laurie Day, Director of Community and Congregational Engagement,
Mountain Sky Conference of The United Methodist Church
Sanctuary outreach by sending cards during Advent
December marks the second Advent season and Christmas that both Rosa Sabido and Araceli Velasquez will spend in sanctuary. Rosa is living in sanctuary at Mancos United Methodist Church in Mancos, Colorado. Araceli is living in sanctuary with her family in Denver at Park Hill United Methodist Church and Temple Micah.
We invite you to take a few minutes this Advent to send them a note of appreciation, encouragement, and prayer. Both women are also being supported by a great network of people in their sanctuary communities. Because we are also thankful for these communities, we ask you to also send Christmas cards to Mancos UMC Santuary Task Force and holiday cards to Park Hill UMC and Temple Micah Sanctuary Task Force (as the latter is both Christian and Jewish).
More information about where to send notes can be found online, as well as information about Rosa and Araceli's respective stories. Please continue to pray for and share the stories of these two powerful women.
Community Engagement Advent calendar
Have you been using the Community Engagement calendar this Advent season? Focusing on the themes of community engagement, mission outreach, and mental health, this calendar encourages individuals to engage in outreach during this special season. Learn more
Blackfeet United Methodist Parish members aid in young women's journey to D.C. hearing
Photo courtesy of Angela Lovegrove, General Board of Church and Society
Story by Laurie Day
Director of Community and Congregational Engagement
Mountain Sky Conference, The United Methodist Church
Members of the Blackfeet United Methodist Parish of Browning, Montana leveraged the United Methodist connection to assist in telling the story of a missing young woman. Kimberly Loring-Heavy Runner was invited to testify to the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs about her sister, Ashley Loring-Heavy Runner, who has been missing since June 2017. The Senate hearing, "Missing and Murdered: Confronting the Silent Crisis in Indian Country” took place on Dec. 12.
Kimberly, her cousin Lissa Kicking Woman and their families are affiliated with the Blackfeet United Methodist Parish (BUMP). BUMP sought to ensure these two young women could address the U.S. Senate regarding Ashley, and highlight the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women – #MMIW. It was the United Methodist Women of BUMP who initiated fundraising and the United Methodist response, stating:
We support all the efforts that Kim and Lissa are doing to bring the #MMIW crisis to the national forefront of news. Too many of our people are going missing and murdered with no accountability for the failures and disrespect from all levels of law enforcement. We as United Methodists need to stand with our #MMIW and demand, 'We are important, we are missed, we are loved, and we are God's children!'
The staff of the Mountain Sky Conference of The United Methodist Church mobilized to find support so that Kimberly and Lissa could travel to D.C. and tell their story. Laurie Day, Director of Community and Congregational Engagement, also reached out to the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) for further assistance and accompaniment for the two women to their hearing. GBCS provided housing and guidance for Kimberly and Lissa throughout the process of the hearing. Read more
Bozeman UMC collects UMCOR cleaning kits for post-disaster communities
Submitted by Dave Harvey
Member, Bozeman United Methodist Church, Bozeman, UT
In November, churches of the Bozeman, Montana circuit (Bozeman, Livingston and Belgrade Living Waters) collected and assembled 90 United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) cleaning kits. These kits (pictured above) are sent to areas recovering from disasters such as floods, fires or hurricanes. Dave Harvey, a member of Bozeman United Methodist Church, delivered the buckets to UMCOR West Depot in Salt Lake City, Utah. These buckets will join thousands already distributed to disaster-affected areas, such as Oroville, California. The depot reported shipping 1,656 cleaning buckets, 1,344 school kits, and 672 hygiene kits to the community recovering from wildfires earlier in November. If your church would like to engage in UMCOR outreach like these Montana churches, please check out the Relief Supply Kits webpage or click here to learn about volunteering at the UMCOR West Depot. How to make a hygiene kit | How to make a cleaning bucket
Mountain Sky Conference begins search for Mission Engagement and Resource Strategist
The Community Engagement ministry area of the Mountain Sky Conference is excited to announce the position of Mission Engagement and Resource Strategist to support the missions and community engagement work of local churches and the conference. This is a reconfiguration of the half-time Vital Missions Coordinator position from Yellowstone Legacy Conference, previously held by Sally McConnell who retired in October. This position will be based in Montana or northern Wyoming and is 20 hours per week. Learn more
Mountain Sky Conference Emergency Response Team (ERT) updates
Emergency Response Team travels to North Carolina
Submitted by Sue Harmon
Clergy, Mountain Sky Conference
From Oct. 28 to Nov. 18, three Early Response Teams (ERT) from the Western Jurisdiction traveled to Beufort, North Carolina. These teams took part in cleaning out homes damaged by Hurricane Florence. Each team of seven to 10 members included three trained ERT persons from the Mountain Sky Conference as well as persons from the Desert Southwest, Pacific Northwest, and Oregon-Idaho conferences.
The Mountain Sky Conference was represented by Sue Harmon, Linda Wilson and Bill Anderson. The work was hard, but all three teams received overwhelming praise and thankfulness from the families served. Community members also expressed thanks to the team, easily recognizable by their bright green shirts. Each family shared that the work was truly a blessing and gave them hope. Learn more
Upcoming Emergency Response Team trainings: