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Heritage Sunday 2017

Featured Heritage Sunday 2017

An Invitation to Heritage Sunday 2017
May 21, 2017: "Milestones" --- Calling Local Churches to Discover and Celebrate Their History.

Heritage Sunday shall be observed on Aldersgate Day (May 24), or the Sunday preceding that date. The day provides an opportunity for reflection on heritage, celebration of where the Church has been, how it understands itself as it shapes us today, and the meaning of Christian conferencing. Heritage Sunday calls the Church to remember the past by committing itself to the continuing call of God.   from 264.1, The Book of Discipline, 2012

Heritage Sunday is set aside for remembering our legacy as United Methodists. It is an ideal time for local churches and Annual Conference Commissions on Archives and   History and Historical Societies to develop programs and projects reflecting the importance of history in congregational formation and casting the future.

This year's approach to Heritage Sunday is something new and different. Instead of focusing on a denomination-wide historic person or event, the General Commission on Archives and History's (GCAH) History and Interpretation Committee urges your congregation to discover and then celebrate your local church's history.

We think this is tremendous opportunity for church leaders and congregation to uncover, examine and take inspiration from your local church's story. We want to encourage you to lift up the defining people, events and special moments that stirred, ignited and continue to shape the mission and ministry where you are.

Your congregation's history—in parts or as a whole—is an untapped resource. We hope this year's theme will help you unlock it.

History and historians sometimes get a bad wrap, as if the subject and its devotees are only interested in the past and tediously preserving it.

At GCAH, we believe and experience every day the power of history not merely as remembrance but active engagement, the past pointing to purpose, the DNA that makes us who we are, forming how we live-into the future.

1) Ideas for Heritage Sunday 2017 Leaders Guide (Doc)
2) We Lové to Tell Our Story- Heritage Sunday Resource (PDF)
3) We Love to Tell Our Story- Heritage Sunday Resource (PPT)

The PowerPoint provided offers a variety of resources to guide your planning:

• write or update a local church history

• select a defining moment(s) to inspire and energize present mission and vision of the future

• create a Wall of Wonder to immerse your congregation in the images that tell its story

We suggest you start working now on Heritage Sunday whether you observe it in May or at another date of your congregation’s choosing. Consult with church leadership about ways your church can make something special this Heritage Sunday through worship, preaching, educational programs or church-wide social events.

Some guiding questions for conversation in your planning group:

What are the core values and experiences that make United Methodists who we are? What distinguishes United Methodist across the dais of other churches? How have those things been witnessed and experienced in your congregation through the years?

What are historic moments in the life of your congregation? Who and what were the people and events that stirred and shaped those times? What might those people and experiences teach the congregation today?

It is our intent that these Heritage Sunday resources creates a new congregational atmosphere by which new energies and visions are born to propel your church into newly evolved faithfulness rather than just looking back a list of names and dates.

We hope you will give us feedback about this year’s Heritage Sunday resources and tell us how you used this material in your celebration!

If your church is looking ahead for Heritage Sunday themes for the rest of the quadrennium, you can look forward to:

2018 - "50 Years of the United Methodist Church"
2019 - "150 Years of United Methodist Women"
2020 - "200 Years of the General Board of Global Ministries"

Fred Day, General Commission on Archives and History, General Secretary