John Wesley believed that, as Christians, we must reach out to the world with not only the Good News of Jesus Christ, but with our service to others in His name. With that tradition in mind, Grace Church supports over 50 local, national, and world-wide missions each year with monetary contributions and hands-on help. For more information about the many local, national, and global missions Grace supports and how you can be involved, please contact the church office.
2023 holiday giving opportunities
You are invited to participate in the following mission opportunities this holiday season. Please contact Gaye Lynn Loufek at email@example.com for with questions or for more information.
Heifer International - Turn Hunger into Hope!
Grace Hunger Committee is again providing an opportunity to support Heifer International Project. Since 1944, Heifer International has partnered with low income, rural families in over 19 countries, including the US, helping them to lift themselves out of hunger and poverty. Heifer provides regionally appropriate farm animals, training, tools, and education, which enables families to feed themselves and make a living. They, in turn, agree to pass on their animal’s first offspring, along with training to another needy family in their community. Heifer continues to help project participants build their businesses and gain access to supply chains and markets. Beginning December 3, come to the Welcome Desk on Sundays to donate an animal or a share of an animal in honor of a friend or loved one. Christmas cards are available to tell your recipient what the gift provides.
Kids Above All Holiday Gift Drive - Sponsor a Child
Purchase a gift for a child and help make their holiday wish come true. Tags will be available for pick up on November 5 and November 12, and gifts should be returned unwrapped by November 19. Visit kidsaboveall.org/holiday to access the Amazon registry, set up a time to volunteer, or donate, and for other gift drive information.
Gift Card Ministry
Indian Prairie School District 204 invites us to partner with them this December to help provide necessities of the season through gift cards. Please purchase a gift card in any denomination, to any local business that might be purposeful: (Target, Jewel, Mariano’s, CVS, Walgreens, stores at the mall allowing parents to purchase gifts for their children, Visa gift cards welcome also). Bring your gift cards no later than November 26 and leave them to the attention of Gaye Lynn Loufek. Let's help make a difference in the lives of our neighbors.
Gift Wrap Donations
Our local school district is requesting donations of winter gift wrap. Gift wrap donations will help the families use gift cards received to purchase gifts and not paper. Rolls or packages of gift wrap may be left in the bin provided in the Connections Center between November 15 and December 3. Thank you for your generosity and for helping us make a difference in our community this holiday season. Together, we can ensure that every family in District 204 has a joyful and memorable holiday season.
Christmas Musical Toy Drive – “Room for Christmas”
All are invited to attend the Children’s Christmas Musical on Sunday, December 10 at 10:30AM and bring a new unwrapped toy (suggested value $15-$25, but all donations are welcome) that will be part of the Toy Drive scripted into the musical. The toys collected will be presented to GiftMart for distribution to families in local schools.
Rapid Response Wish List for Immigrants
Immigrants from the border are arriving daily in the city of Chicago. Recent reports say many are from Venezuela, a country with a broken economic and political system. There are currently 11,000 migrants in city-run shelters and over 3,000 currently waiting for placement, with an average of 1,000 more arriving daily. Shelters consist of tent encampments that can be assembled quickly but that, as of now, are not winterized. Many of these families started out this journey with the resources required to get them here and to start a new life. But those resources were confiscated or stolen along the way. And so, they arrive completely at the mercy of others. And those ‘others’ are us.
We can see the need for warm clothing and supplies. We’re good at providing those things! And there’s an easy way to do that. There is a “Rapid Response” wish list that has been set up on Amazon Rapid Response Wish List on Amazon with coats, boots, gloves, diapers, etc. that can be purchased for these immigrants. The above website link offers additional ways to help.
Jesus said as you do for the least of these you do so for me. Whatever your opinion on the immigration policies, the people are already here and winter is coming. As you visit Amazon, add an item to your cart that will mean the world for another. Click here for more information
Helping the Hungry
Households with limited resources often must choose between paying their rent and feeding their families. Food assistance can prevent the tragedy of homelessness for people who find themselves in the position of having to make such a difficult choice. Grace United Methodist Church supports the following food pantries with donations made on the first Sunday of every month (except for January's collection).
2023 First Sunday of the Month Food Pantry Collection Dates and Recipients:
January 1: Common Pantry
February 5: Loaves & Fishes
March 5: Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry
April 2: Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry
May 7: Common Pantry
June 4: Loaves & Fishes
July 2: Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry
August 6: Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry
September 3: Common Pantry
October 1: Loaves & Fishes
November 5: Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry
December 3: Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry
Monetary food pantry donations are also appreciated. Please place donations in the offering plate or the ceramic "Love Loaf," with checks payable to GUMC and "Love Loaf" noted on the memo line. In addition to our monthly food collections, Grace has participated in the Feed My Starving Children MobilePack for the past four years, with increasing commitment to the cause each year. Other hunger efforts we regularly support include, to name just a very few, Heifer International, "Souper Bowl" of Caring, and Hesed House.
Grace partners with Habitat for Humanity Fox Valley and 20+ churches in the area providing affordable housing in the Aurora community. Grace youth and adults serve as the "foundation laying" team, providing the initial construction of the home and then continue to support the project in various stages until the home is dedicated (typically in the late fall) and the keys are given to the homeowner. Grace provides construction support, monetary support, and a strong prayer commitment to these families receiving a hand up. In the summer, younger teens (6th-8th grade) and adults spend three days serving various organizations around the Chicagoland area in our "Hope@Home" Youth Summer Missions program.
Grace UMC has been a strong supporter of Hesed House since its inception in the 1980’s. Located a mile south of downtown Aurora, the mission of Hesed House is to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and give people the chance to hope again. It has become a national model for ending homelessness: one person, one family at a time. It is the second largest homeless shelter in Illinois outside of Chicago. Find more information at www.hesedhouse.org. Each second Tuesday of the month, Grace UMC provides about 140 hot meals and 100 sack lunches. Grace volunteers work both at the church kitchen and at Hesed House. In addition to volunteer work, donations of food items, toiletries, and cash are generously provided by Grace families. If you have any questions, or wish to contribute or volunteer, please email Larry Hartman at LEHartman@sbcglobal.net.
National and International Support
Grace goes beyond the Chicagoland area to provide hope to people and organizations throughout the country and across the world. Some of the National and International Missions Grace supports are:
Teens (9th-12th grade), college students and adults of the community are invited to travel with us to another state for a week each summer to work with communities in need through our "Side-by-Side" Youth Summer Missions program.
The Russian Initiative is an ongoing relationship with two Russian United Methodist in Volgograd, Russia since 2008. We regularly Skype with our two UM pastors: Vladmir Ilyukhin of Hope Church and Valeri Patkevitch of Transfiguration Church. Click here to learn more about the history of Grace Church in Russia, past and future trips to Russia, and the difficult situation of spreading the gospel in Russia.
Adults are welcome to join us in Maua and Meru, Kenya, where members of Grace and the community team up to assist in building an AIDS orphan home, improving local hospital conditions, helping African school children, and other projects.
Our United Women in Faith, who sponsor several major fundraisers throughout the year, donate 100% of their proceeds to local, national, and international missions.