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
A “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.
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.
Georgia Methodists Involved In Healing For Sexually Trafficked 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
Children's Vacation School at Potters House CME in Liberia
With respect to the support and mission of the Pan-Methodist Children in Poverty Campaign, the Potter’s House CME Church, Margibi district, took the initiative of opening a vacation school for children. Many of these children are loitering around the community; others are children whose parents could not afford to send them to school last semester. The vacation school is established to avoid getting these children into trouble through waywardness, rape, and gambling. The school is also committed to preparing their minds for the next academic school year.
We started with 17 children but now we have close to 40 students with no fees attached. We are appealing to members of our church to help us raise funds to help compensate those needing help but who cannot afford to pay. More to that, we are asking for readers to help us, especially with one printer and one used computer in order to produce more materials for the kids. A friend from the Ministry of Education was able to help us the last time with some books. Presently, we are using Rev. Christian N. Keller’s laptop and a used printer to do our work. We also intend to have a reading room to help improve reading and writing skills. Please keep us in your prayers.
Submitted by Rev. Christian N. Keller, Liberia Region (CME) Liaison
A CME Annual Conference Campaign Contribution
At the Annual Conference of the Southeast Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin Region (CME), Bishop Sylvester Williams, Sr. contributed $1500 from the Region to the Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty. This is a major gift to the work of the Campaign. It enables the Campaign to provide assistance and resources for Pan-Methodist initiatives that offer experiences of compassion and advocacy for our children. Bishop Williams’ leadership in this offering from his Region is exemplary of the kind of support that is vital to Campaign.
Annual Conference Confronts Sex Trafficking of Children
The United Methodist Church in the Desert Southwest Conference became leaders in working against child sex trafficking by joining with what is now known as Nevadans for the Common Good. The coalition, which swelled dramatically as the topic became publicized, includes laity and clergy from dozens of Southern Nevada Churches, Synagogues, Mosques, and non-profits. The UMC has been in the forefront.
Together they took workshops on the depth of the problem to schools, churches, and other groups, sent emails to Nevada Assembly members and senators, worked with the police to develop their understanding of the problem, and publicized the issue in the press. Eventually their hard work was rewarded with the passing of Assembly Bill 67, which created the crime of sex trafficking (imagine, it wasn’t even a crime), and targeted those who participate. They continue to work on safe spaces and other issues around this horrible and growing crime.
As knowledge of child sex trafficking expanded in Southern Nevada, it inspired other areas of the Desert Southwest Conference to step up and get involved. It is well documented that children and teens are sold into sexual slavery during big sporting events. Since the Super Bowl was held in Phoenix in 2015, we had a great opportunity to publicize the issue in Arizona and even across the country. The UMC was in the forefront again as we worked with community leaders, and ecumenical groups to create a walk against sex trafficking around the area of the stadium during the weekend festivities. The press again was involved as various leaders, both lay and religious, spoke, but the most touching moment was when two victims came forward to share their stories.