Methodists Investing in Care and Action for the HolyLand
It all began when Alex and Brenda Awad visited our church as United Methodist Church missionaries in Palestine. At that time Alex was the Director of the Shepherd Society, which is the outreach arm of Bethlehem Bible College in Bethlehem, Palestine. Both of these organizations are Advance Specials of the UMC General Board of Global Ministries. Alex and Brenda showed us a brochure about the work of the Shepherd Society in which Family Sponsorships were listed as one of their programs. This program connects an international individual, family, or group with a family in the Bethlehem area that is struggling to survive. Due to political and economic stagnation, the Bethlehem area has a high level of unemployment. Through these sponsorships we convey the message to the residents of Bethlehem that they are not forgotten and that someone cares.
A few members at Northfield United Methodist Church (NUMC) had either visited Palestine or had an interest in the situation of the Palestinian people. After conferring with the pastor, this group decided in 2013 to form a committee at NUMC to sponsor a family with the Shepherd Society. The group was called "Our Bethlehem Family". The sponsored family received a micro grant from the Shepherd Society to help set up a business, but they still needed financial support in order to pay the bills.
Sponsorships are $650.00 per year. An annual Work of Mercy month (usually November) at NUMC was an opportunity to raise the sponsorship funds as well as to educate the congregation on the situation for our family in Bethlehem. The group also decided to have Palestinian olive oil available for sale at NUMC using the Zatoun brand. A small profit for MICAH is made on these sales.
Speakers, films, book discussions, and displays have been used to further knowledge of life in Palestine for our family. Because of this broader focus, the name of the group was changed to MICAH - Methodists Investing in Care and Action for the Holy Land, using Micah 6:8 as the motto.
The congregation responded positively to MICAH's effort to raise financial support for Pastor Jerad's trip to Palestine-Israel in 2017 "Walking the Nativity Trail" (walking in the footsteps of Mary and Joseph). While in Bethlehem, Pastor Jerad visited our Bethlehem family.
In 2018 a successful project was held to help raise funds to cover our family sponsorship. The Brick Oven Bakery agreed to give 10% of their sales on one Saturday in November. MICAH used much publicity to encourage members of the congregation to shop at the Brick Oven Bakery on that Saturday.
MICAH appreciates the awesome response of the congregation to the above fundraisers.
MICAH is not included in the NUMC budget.