Project Agape and Armenia: Update & Call to Prayer
November 18, 2020
Dear Colleagues and United Methodist Members,
The Western North Carolina Conference and The North Carolina Conference have shared a deep Christian ministry and relationship with Armenia by means of Project Agape. Our relationship causes us to be deeply concerned with the conflict that has endangered so many lives among our Christian brothers and sisters.
As followers of the crucified and risen Christ, we know that peace often comes with a price. While the Russians have negotiated a peaceful end to the recent six-week-long war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, it comes with great cost to our Armenian brothers and sisters. Property that they’ve controlled since the early 1990’s was retaken by the Azerbaijanis in a conflict that resulted in more than 1,300 Armenian deaths.
I mourn with the Armenians in the losses they’ve suffered over the past six weeks. I am thankful for our relationship and ministry with them through Project Agape and offer my support as United Methodists across North Carolina work with the Armenians to determine how we can best be in ministry with them at this time. I was thankful to learn that they were able to transfer the Christmas boxes and other humanitarian supplies that were stored in a warehouse in Artsakh, located within the recaptured territory, to a safer location.
I ask your prayers for those who have lost loved ones and for those who have been displaced because of this conflict. As we learn more about the needs in this area, there will be opportunities for local churches to offer tangible assistance. Please pray for the Project Agape Board as they discern where God is leading them to offer light in this time of darkness.
Bishop Ward and I are committed to the continuation of our partnership in supporting the people of Armenia through Project Agape as we also give thanks for your support of this important ministry.
With gratitude for all who support and serve Project Agape,
Paul L. Leeland
Update From the Project AGAPE Board
Most of you have heard of the hardships that the people of the Republic of Artsakh and Armenia are going through at this time after several weeks of fighting with Azerbaijan. So much of the land that was once governed by Artsakh will now be governed by Azerbaijan. And no one knows for sure how the area will look until a peace treaty has been worked through and signed.
Project AGAPE has been involved in Armenia and Artsakh for over 26 years. We have helped with humanitarian aid (clothing, cloth for sewing, school supplies, etc.) wells for small towns, schools, children’s homes, rebuilding homes for families and schools for communities, as well as an agriculture development project to help families have a sustainable living. All of this changed on September 27. We are now in the process of moving all of our supplies that are in Berdzor (humanitarian aid, health kits, furniture, etc.) to a warehouse in Goris, Armenia. Once this is complete in the next week or two, Nara will begin distributing humanitarian aid and other supplies that the refugee families need. It is estimated that over 100,000 people will be displaced by this war and in possible need of help. Project AGAPE, over the next 3 to 4 months will focus on providing this aid to families that no longer have a place to live. Your help to make this happen will be greatly appreciated as we make a difference in the lives of the people of Armenia and Artsakh.
Learn more about the WNCC's partnership with Project Agape: https://www.wnccumc.org/project-agape
Download Bishop Leeland's letter
Download the Update from the Project Agape Board
Resources for Vital Congregations
GBHEM Leadership Resources
A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist
RESOURCES TO CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY:
The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:
- Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
- Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.
We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org.