You are invited to share love and hope by participating in the Christmas Card Project with partner churches in Japan this year. This project was started in 2013 in response to the terrible devastation that our partners experienced after the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster of 2011. Each year, 35 to 40 UCC and Disciples of Christ churches have reached out globally through prayer by sending a Christmas card to one or two churches in northeastern Japan. This year, given the global COVID-19 pandemic, we know that churches on both sides of the Pacific are faced with unprecedented challenges. Even as we might feel overwhelmed by our own predicament, God calls us to reach out to care and connect.
If you decide to participate, you are asked to:
- Contact Global Ministries mission co-worker Jeff Mensendiek at firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday, October 15 to let him know you want to participate and include the name and email for the contact person
- Send a Christmas card to one or two churches in early December
- Lift these churches up in prayer sometime during the Advent season
Once Jeff gathers the names of those interested, he will send you the names and updated information pertaining to the churches to which you will be assigned. If you have participated in this project before, Jeff will try to match you with the same churches that you had before. Our partners in the Kyodan (the UCCJ) have asked that we continue this project, and we are encouraged to see how the Spirit is leading us as brothers and sisters in new patterns of partnership.
Next March will mark the tenth anniversary of the disaster. This project provides an opportunity to reach out globally together through prayer. Please discuss this with your congregation and let Jeff know by October 15th if you will be participating. He will then send you the contacts and necessary information by November 14th. This will give you time to prepare the Christmas cards to send by the beginning of December. Be sure and let Jeff know the name and email address for the contact person from your congregation. If you need stories and information from Japan please go to Jeff's blog at (http://jeffreyfromjapan.blogspot.com/).
The Christmas Card Project aims to connect partner churches across the ocean by reaching out globally through prayer each Advent. It is a way to hold on to the ties that bind us in Christ and to say, “We remember you. We care. Your lives matter.” In the spirit of the mutuality of mission, I pray that this small gesture of solidarity will be a sign of hope for churches both in the US and Japan. When writing, please do not hesitate to mention your prayer concerns for what is happening in and around your congregation. In this way, we share in the mutuality God’s mission.
Jeffrey Mensendiek serves with J.F. Oberlin University in Tokyo, Japan. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.