If I want to start a Thanksgiving Ingathering, whom should I contact first?
The first step is to contact the Thanksgiving Executive Director, Dr. Arthur Richardson (firstname.lastname@example.org), who will provide you a Guide to organizing such a multi-missional event. The next step is to consider the most appropriate contact person for your District or Annual Conference, e.g. District Superintendent, Chair of the District or Conference Committee on Missions, or your local church’s Missions Director. After establishing a link to the district or conference, decide if you are willing to volunteer as Chair and to recruit 5-7 persons to be your Task Force. Subsequent steps are to be found in the Guide. Consider Dr. Richardson (founder) as your personal consultant on the project to answer questions and provide encouragement.
Who decides which and how many mission projects are to be chosen?
The Chair may get the ball rolling, e.g. choosing 1-local, 1-national and 1-international, then ask the newly-formed task force or local church/district/annual conference Mission Commissions to make suggestions to the Task Force. The only guideline is that there should be at least 1-local, 1-national and 1-international. The key is to offer a broad perspective of mission to the church. Five to seven projects seems to be the most efficient number for maximizing the number of participating churches and the greatest return per project.
How does the Task Force cover its expenses?
The options range from support from a Missions Commission (of the local church site where the event is to be held, or of the District or Annual Conference); to securing sponsorship(s) from local businesses. Expenses will come from printing flyers, travel for the event’s speaker, lunch on the date of the event, and shipping the kits. The local church site of the event may have utility and custodial costs. Such expenses should follow the model of UMCOR...none should be paid out of the funds raised for missions.
Do churches just bring items to the Ingathering or is there more to it?
The sites all have mission displays and some kind of program/worship service with a speaker from one of the projects supported by the Thanksgiving Ingathering. Sites also have a bazaar, some with a bake sale. Some of the sites have a silent auction of small quilts or other items. In addition most site holds a live quilt and woodcraft auction. Most of the sites also hold a Youth Retreat, which may include a lock-in, entertainment, workshops-and most of all, helping with the Ingathering, unloading and repacking kits and/or assisting with the worship service, as well as other jobs needed at the sites.
Who runs the Thanksgiving Ingathering?
The Thanksgiving Ingathering is a program of the Conference Board of Laity inthe Iowa Conference. In both Iowa and Texas, there is a Task Force made up of the Thanksgiving Ingathering conference chairperson(s), conference coordinators, site chairpersons, representatives from each district, representatives from each project, conference staff and at-large members. These people meet two or three times a year to set goals, discuss policy and projects, and to evaluate the Thanksgiving Ingathering.
How are projects of the Thanksgiving Ingathering selected?
The projects are selected by the Task Force and are evaluated each year. The only guidelines are that there be a balance of at least 1 local mission, 1 national mission and 1 worldwide mission. Each of the projects is usually related to education, the alleviation of hunger and poverty and disaster relief.
How do churches know about the Thanksgiving Ingathering?
Early each year churches are sent one copy of the Ingathering Guide. This is the only official manual with all the current information. During the year there are articles sent to each district office to be distributed to the churches in that district. The very latest information is also sent out by the Conference Communications Office via email to those on the Conference news mail list. You may request to be on this list by contacting the Communications Office at the Conference Center. Also, the district representatives may contact churches in their district with information during the year.
What if my church didn't receive a Guide?
Check with the person who gets the mail in your church and ask for the booklet. If you can't locate it, contact your conference coordinator or your district office for the name of the district representative. They will make sure you receive a booklet. The booklet is also found at www. iaum.org (the Iowa Conference website) or www.txcumc.org (the Texas Conference website.)
What site do I have to attend?
You may attend any site you want. Most churches attend the site nearest them.
What if I have questions not answered in this book?
Feel free to contact the Thanksgiving Ingathering Coordinators or Chairpersons, or any of the Site Coordinators, listed on the Site Schedule pages. Each district also has at least one Thanksgiving Ingathering representative. Those names and contact information are listed on the back cover of this book.
How do we remit funds to the Ingathering and note which mission(s) we have chosen to support?
Checks should be made out to “Faith UMC” and sent to Jan Gort, Financial Office at Faith UMC, 4600 FM359, Richmond, TX 77406. Your chosen mission(s) should be noted on the memo line of the check. Items purchased at the auction should be paid in the same manner. Jan Gort of the Financial Office will be on hand the day of Ingathering.