Meeting Children’s Needs: 7th Episcopal District of the CME Church

The local churches of the Seventh Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME) have several ministries that meet the needs of impoverished youth within their church and community. We are excited to announce the outreach projects that have taken place locally and internationally. Mt. Pisgah CME Church, in Baltimore, MD, is feeding children during the summer months when they are out of school. The meals that Mt. Pisgah provides give families the assurance that their children will have two meals per day during the summer. In Washington, D.C., Miles Memorial CME Church’s Basketball Jamboree 2017 has been a great success. The Basketball Jamboree involved children, teens, and young adults from eight CME churches in the DMV area. This community-wide effort consisted of morning instructions, providing lunches, and participating in basketball tournaments in the afternoons, followed by an award ceremony that acknowledged the winner. Miles Memorial has also reached out to children in poverty within their community through their Pumpkin Patch (October 2016) and Christmas Lights at Columbia Park (December 2016) events.

As an extension of their community outreach, New Hope CME Church partners with the Fusion Community Development Center, Inc., in Washington, DC, to offer music and art programs to youth within their community. Fusion Community Development Center, Inc. (Fusion) is a “nonprofit organization that was created to be an alternative solution for inner city youth.” Their programs “consist of music and arts, life application, behavioral support, computer learning skills, mentoring and court advocacy, making Fusion uniquely situated to address the many problems facing today's inner city youth” http://www.fusioncdc.com. New Hope specifically partners with Fusion’s “Fusion Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps” program, which provides musical education for inner city youth. This program currently has 14-15 youth that participate in local community events and parades in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Fusion is a 501 (c) 3 organization that operates by charitable contributions and fundraisers.

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N. Alabama UMC Prepares to Connect With Schools

Our Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty North Alabama UMC Conference Team mission is to equip congregations to share in God’s mission by providing hope, compassion, justice, and radical hospitality to children who live in poverty. Over the next year, we’ll offer monthly blog posts to provide ideas, inspiring stories from local congregations, and ways to connect what we do and who we are to others working on behalf of children and their families in North Alabama and the larger Pan-Methodist Campaign around the globe.
We are called to examine our souls and to deepen our lives in Christ. Through prayer, holy listening, and scripture, we are reminded of the vastness of the grace of God and of the power of repentance and forgiveness through the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. There is no better time than now to listen to children and their families, especially those in our neighborhood schools and communities beyond the walls of our churches.
Here is a helpful tool from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership – 50 Ways to Engage Local Schools. We are reminded that listening first is key to beginning and maintaining a good relationship with area schools and communities.

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Halos of Hope in North Alabama

Often times, our heart strings are pulled when we see the commercials for providing aid to children in third world countries. The children who are living in poverty, malnourished, and struggling. But how often do we stop to ask ourselves “Are there struggling children in my community?” My neighborhood? The answer is YES.
In the state of Alabama, there are NO counties that do not have families living in poverty.
http://map.feedingamerica.org/county/2014/overall/alabama has food insecurity and child food insecurity data by county. This is the 2016 map the meal gap data, which uses 2014 US Census data. Check out the link to see where your county ranks!

For whole-household food insecurity
US Rate: 15.4%
Alabama Rate: 18.8%
Highest % County: Wilcox county at 33.0%
Lowest % County: Shelby county at 10.5%

For child-specific food insecurity (rates are much higher!)
US Rate: 20.9%
Alabama Rate: 26.4%
Highest % County: Wilcox county at 36.8%
Lowest % County: Shelby county at 18.4%

In Cullman County, First United Methodist Church of Cullman has partnered with other local churches to form community “Halos of Help”. “In our county, we have 8 different high school districts”, states Melissa Betts, Director of Children & Serve Ministries. “Our church started a backpack feeding program, Knapsacks for Kids, after the April 2011 storms. Since that time, we have become aware of how large a problem food insecurity is in Cullman County."  Statistics provided by www.alabamapossible.org state there are 4,783 children in Cullman County who experience food insecurity at some point throughout the month. In response to this staggering number, our Knapsack for Kids volunteers have pulled together, and connected other churches and civic groups to begin serving in their local district. We call these helping rings, “Halos of Help”.

In 2015, there was very little organized assistance for those who were food insecure. But today, all eight districts/halos have established teams ready to serve:

  • City of Cullman- Cullman FUMC & Alabama Credit Union
  • Cold Springs- Alabama Credit Union
  • Fairview- Fairview FUMC, Baileyton UMC & Alabama Credit Union
  • Good Hope- Good Hope Baptist Church & Day Star Church
 

Kentucky Conference Children's Sabbath

The Kentucky Conference AMEZ continues with its initiatives to care for children. Its churches have been involved with:

  1. “Miracle on Broadway” that has provided toys, blankets, clothes, cleaning supplies, and personal items for children who are homeless.
  2. the “Angel Tree Prison Fellowship Ministry” that provides gifts to the children of incarcerated persons.
  3. “Angel Tree Ministry” that provides gifts to children of low-income families in local communities.
  4. “Blessings in a Backpack" (to provide hats, gloves, scarfs, socks, and personal items to school children) and "Project Warm" (to assist with shelter for homeless children).
  5. working with local schools.

The above “Children’s Sabbath” celebration program cover was for an event that brought the various districts of the Annual Conference together to celebrate their involvement in the lives of children.

 

 

Hope for the Future

Hope for the Future: Answering God's Call to Justice for Our Children by Shannon Daley-Harris is a wonderful resource for activism for children. Members of the Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty family will be able to use it to inspire congregational involvement and plan initiatives of compassion for children.

Inside this moving book, Shannon Daley-Harris draws from over twenty-five years of work with the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) to offer twelve meditations for those working to create a better world for our children. CDF has been a partner in the work of this Pan-Methodist Campaign since its inception. Each meditation of the book focuses on passages of Scripture and weaves together moving stories of children, startling statistics about the challenges facing youth, and inspiring examples from other movements and faithful leaders. Hope for the Future also includes a foreword by Marian Wright Edelman and questions for faithful response at the end of each meditation. The book can be used individually or in group study.

 

 

“Joining Hands to Lift Children” Summit

People seated at Children's Summit at EpworthA “Joining Hands to Lift Children” Summit was held in October at the Epworth Children's Home in Columbia SC. The sponsoring partnership included Hood Theological Seminary, the Balm in Gilead, the Pan-Methodist Commission's Campaign for Children in Poverty, Big Changes Start Small, and Baptist Churches in the Carolinas. The Summit was connected with the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) observance of the Children’s Sabbath and used the CDF theme, “Children of Promise: Closing the Opportunity Gap.” Eighty persons were in attendance as topics addressed included adverse childhood experiences and their impact on adulthood, childhood stress, trauma and the effects on educational success, helping children belong, breast feeding, working with children with special needs, risky health behaviors for children and youth, parenting best practices, and understanding the risk and impact of technology on children.

Attendees were encouraged to take what they learned to their congregations and communities and share the information, plus find ways to join in partnership with other congregations, schools or agencies to make a difference. Not only were the participants involved in learning, but an offering was taken and given to the Epworth Children’s Home to aid their ministry to children.

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Beyond the Classroom: Seminary Raises Awareness and Connects with the Community

Rev. Antonio Smith with the children

 

Across America, the month of October is designated to raise awareness around breast cancer, domestic violence, and children. In October, an EduWorship experience was held in the Hood Theological Seminary Aymer Center with a focus on the three areas, but emphasizing children. Children can be affected if there is a parent/caregiver battling cancer or facing domestic violence. Many children experience neglect, poverty, homelessness and abuse. It is not enough to know about the issues, we are called to respond and make a difference.

Understanding biblical directives is the starting point, plus becoming knowledgeable of the conditions, symptoms and preparing to move to make a difference is essential. Mrs. Melissa Shue, Education Specialist for Prevent Child Abuse Rowan informed the attendees that the highest numbers of children who are abused fall between the ages of 7 and 12 years old and 80% of those who become fatalities are under 5 years of age. How does the church and community respond? First, is the need to learn what to look for and how to respond. Rev. Dr. Clifford Barnett, pastor of Warner Temple A. M. E. Zion Church and addressed the needs of children during the first 2000 days of a child’s life. During this time, the brain develops rapidly and is greatly influenced by the experiences and opportunities available to the child. The church and community can be intentional in providing training for parents and opportunities to enhance the development of children.

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A UMC Jurisdiction Campaign Contribution

The Bishops of the Southeastern Jurisdiction (UMC) have recognized the unique opportunities of reaching children in poverty. As a lay delegate to the recent Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference and serving as the liaison for the South Carolina Annual Conference for the Pan-Methodist Campaign, I was thrilled that the Southeastern Jurisdictional College of Bishops recommended children in poverty as one of their five Missional Initiatives for the next quadrennium. This will provide a collaborative avenue for the United Methodist Conferences in the jurisdiction to work together and develop a plan of action for children in poverty. At the opening worship service an offering of $6,000.00 was collected for the Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty. At the 2017 College of Bishops meeting in January, a collaborative effort with conference leaders will begin the dialogue to focus on this new mission. It is exciting to see what will happen.

Bishop Jonathan Holston of South Carolina has led the way with "The Million Book Effort," "A Million Hours of Service With and For Children," and assisting with educational initiatives for children. In October, 2016, a Children's Summit will be held at Epworth Children's Home in Columbia, South Carolina and is sponsored through the Pan Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty and Hood Seminary.

Martha F. Thompson
South Carolina (UMC) Campaign Liaison

 

Click on

for examples of congregations and annual conferences in action for children in poverty

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Visit the 'Be Involved' page to see how congregations and annual conferences are reporting on their faith in action for children in poverty.
 

Welcome!

Reading the Campaign booklet is a first step for becoming familiar with this initiative. It offers information and resources to encourage your activism. It can be viewed and downloaded at The Campaign page.

We hope that you will contribute information about your work with children. Descriptions of your ministries will be helpful to others who want to deepen their involvement to care for children in poverty.

You can influence the Campaign’s effectiveness.  Be involved.  Offer your ideas.  Encourage others.

Trusting in God, we dare to envision a world in which every child experiences love, care, and hope. Together we can be the difference in the lives of children in poverty.

 

- LATEST NEWS -

More Annual Conferences Join Campaign

August 2017:  Welcome Dakotas Conference UMC where Rev. Rebecca Trefz is the Campaign liaison, and the Minnesota Conference where Rev. Lyndy Zabel is the liaison.

 
Welcome new liaisons

Spring 2016: We are delighted to welcome the Rev. LaVeatrice Crockrum as liaison with Birmingham Region (Alabama) of CME, and Ms. Judith Yohane representing AME Malawi Central, Malawi North, Malawi South, Central Zimbabwe, Northeast Zimbabwe and Southwest Zimbabwe Annual Conferences!

 
More Annual Conferences Join Campaign

December 2015: Welcome Nigerian Annual Conference (CME), Rev. Koko Sunday Daniel, liaison; Liberia Annual Conference (CME), Rev. Christian Keller, liaison; Ghana/Togo Conference (CME), Rev. Sampson Fianko, liaison)

 

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