Special Sundays and Special Offerings

Six Special Sundays with offerings designated by the General Conference:

Free worship materials are available to order for each Special Sunday and Offerings is available through

1. Human Relations Day

Give to: Human Relations Day

  • Observed on the Sunday before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January.

  • Helps to overcome injustice and empowers those struggling to survive.

  • 90% to General Board of Global Ministries for the Community Developers Program and the United Methodist Voluntary Services Program.  10% to General Board of Church and Society for Youth Offender Rehabilitation Program.

2. One Great Hour of Sharing

Give to: One Great Hour Of Sharing

  • Observed on the fourth Sunday in Lent (March or early April).

  • Calls United Methodists to share the goodness of life with those who hurt.

  • 100% to United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).  The offering provides administrative support for the United Methodist Committee on Relief as it responds to disaster survivors and people in need around the world.  UMCOR receives no apportionment dollars.

3. Native American Ministries Sunday

Give to: Native American Ministries Sunday

  • Observed on the second Sunday after Easter (April or early May).

  • Empowers local outreach and educates Native American seminary students to serve God faithfully. The offering also helps preserve a rich cultural heritage.

  • 25% to General Board of Higher Education for scholarships for Native Americans attending UM schools of theology.  25% to General Board of Global Ministries to support the Native American Urban Initiative. 50% retained by the Iowa Annual Conference to support Iowa Native American Ministries.

4. Peace with Justice Sunday

Give to: Peace with Justice Sunday

  • Observed on the first Sunday after Pentecost (late May or June)

  • Empowers peacemakers to mediate disputes and promote cooperation through the love of Christ by seeking peaceful solutions, creating and supporting peace-related ministries in their conference and learning about peaceful, just efforts around the world.

  • 50% to General Board of Church and Society for support of peace and justice ministries.  50% retained by the Iowa Annual Conference to support restorative justice initiatives and other peace and justice efforts.

5. World Communion Sunday

Give to: World Communion Sunday

  • Observed on the first Sunday in October

  • Provides scholarships for graduate national and international students; scholarships for national and international ethnic undergraduate students within the U.S.; and Ethnic In-Service training (non-degree). 

  • 50% goes toward World Communion Scholarships, 35% goes toward the Ethnic Scholarship Program and 15% goes toward the Ethnic In-Service Training Program.

6. United Methodist Student Day

Give to: United Methodist Student Day

  • Observed on the last Sunday in November.

  • Empowers students preparing to help the suffering while speaking the truth in love. Provides scholarships and student loans for United Methodist students.

  • 100% goes to the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry to support United Methodist Scholarships and the United Methodist Student Loan Fund.

Four Special Sundays without offerings designated by the General Conference: 

1. Heritage Sunday

  • Observed on a Sunday on, or immediately before, Aldersgate Day.

  • To provide an opportunity for reflection on heritage, celebration of where the Church has been, how it understands itself as it shapes us today, the meaning of Christian conferencing, and to remember the past by committing itself to the continuing call of God.

2. Organ and Tissue Donor Sunday

  • Observed on the second Sunday in November.

  • A time to come together, during a season of Thanksgiving, around the issues of life-giving gifts.

3. Laity Sunday

  • Observed on the third Sunday in October.

  • To celebrate the ministry of all lay Christians as their lives are empowered for ministry by the Holy Spirit.

4. Men’s Ministry Sunday

  • Observed on a date designated by local congregations.

  • To celebrate men’s ministry, including formal and informal units of United Methodist Men, male Emmaus reunion communities, work teams, prayer groups, Bible studies, study and enrichment groups, and other places and organizations where men of The United Methodist Church join together for fellowship, nurture, spiritual development, witness, and outreach.

Five Special Sundays approved for Annual Conference offerings:

1. Disabilities Awareness Sunday

  • Observed the second Sunday in February

  • Celebrates the gifts and graces of persons with disabilities and promotes their full inclusion in the community.

  • 100% is retained by the Iowa Annual Conference to provide educational opportunities, and to provide grants to local churches which will assist in removing architectural and attitudinal barriers to accessibility.

2. Golden Cross Sunday

  • Observed the first Sunday in May

  • To celebrate health and welfare ministries and their role in spiritual wellbeing.

  • 100% is retained by the Iowa Annual Conference to fund grants to local churches and community groups for health and welfare ministries.

3. Rural Life

  • Observed on the third Sunday in May.

  • Celebrates the rural heritage of The United Methodist Church and recognizes “the ongoing crisis occurring in rural areas of the nation and the world today.”

  • 100% is retained by the Iowa Annual Conference to fund grants to enrich ministries in towns and rural areas.

4. Christian Education

  • Observed on any Sunday in September.

  • Celebrates and promotes Christian education and spiritual formation.

  • 100% is retained by the Iowa Annual Conference and used as follows: 33% Camperships, 33% to support new small groups or classes reaching new people in new places (groups outside the traditional setting), and 34%  Scholarships for Christian educators.

5. Neighbor Helping Neighbor

  • Celebrated on a date set by the local congregation.

  • Taken to assist persons who have unmet needs due to economic hardship.

  • 100% is retained by the Iowa Annual Conference and may be requested by local church pastors and/or district superintendents.