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What Do You Do with An Empty Bag?

Fill it with Love and Gifts for Mission
Jim Berner, Judy Nutter, Rev. Chris Heckert and a bag stuffed with gifts of love (in this case cash) for The Advance.
From left to right: Jim Berner, West Virginia Annual Conference Treasurer; Judy Nutter, lay member of West Virginia Annual Conference and Global Ministries Director; Rev. Chris Heckert, Global Ministries.
Image by: Barbara McDowell
Bolivian women earning a living by weaving, sewing and embroidering.
Bags to celebrate The Advance 60th anniversary were made in Bolivia by the Women's Enrichment Program.
Image by: Chris Heckert
Source: GBGM Administration

Buckhannon, WV, June 10, 2008--The West Virginia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church demonstrated the use of an empty bag while celebrating the 60th anniversary of The Advance, the denomination's designated or "second-mile" mission-giving program.

Delegates and friends filled it up with a sense of love and $2,924.11 for the Global AIDS funds in a spontaneous June 6 offering that resulted from…well, it was like this: the bishop was given an empty bag!

"The only way I know how to share a bag is to fill it up," said Bishop Ernest Lyght after he received the fabric container, imprinted with The Advance logo, from the Rev. Chris Heckert, a representative of the General Board of Global Ministries.

"This bag is for the whole annual conference," Heckert stressed when he handed it to the bishop as an expression of appreciation for the West Virginia Conference's support of mission through The Advance.

Heckert also presented the bishop with a plaque indicating that West Virginia had the largest increase in local church participation in The Advance of any conference in the Northeastern Jurisdiction in 2007.

Bishop Lyght started the bag circulating among conference-goers gathered in the chapel of West Virginia Wesleyan College, Buckhannon, and in about 30 minutes it was bulging with cash and coins for mission's "second mile."

In his remarks to the conference on behalf of Global Ministries, Heckert recalled that his grandfather was a lifelong member of First United Methodist Church in Romney, West Virginia, and had always taught children and grandchildren to go the second mile, even if the first was difficult. In United Methodist stewardship, the "first mile" of mission giving is payment of congregational apportionments through the World Service Fund.

The bag filled in Buckhannon was made by the Women's Enrichment Program in Bolivia. Bags like it were presented to each delegate at the 2008 United Methodist General Conference in April as part of The Advance's anniversary celebration.


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Date posted: Jun 10, 2008