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
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.
Children's Summit at Epworth Children's Home
Pan-Methodists, Hood Seminary, and Baptists Sponsor Summit on Children
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.
Kids in the Kitchen
Mt Zion CME Church in Hope, Arkansas hosted the Kids in the Kitchen event this past Summer 2015. Kids of the community came out to learn fundamental kitchen skills, focusing on measuring, mixing, following recipes, kitchen safety, healthy food choices, & even table etiquette. All food was provided free of charge. Also, each child as well as the volunteers were given a certificate upon the completion of the class. On the last day of the program, members of Mt Zion provided a full course hot meal to all the kids who attended & graduated! They had a blast!
This is a wonderful program idea for the upcoming summer of our children. Submitted by Mrs. Lynn White, CME liaison, Arkansas Region
Million Book Effort: A God-size Dream
In June, 2014, the South Carolina United Methodist Conference envisioned a God-size dream called the “Million Book Effort.” The purpose was to raise awareness about the needs of public education by collecting books for preschool and elementary aged children. With the efforts of churches within the conference, over 500,000 books were collected. The Pan-Methodist Children in Poverty Task Force, along with many others distributed the books within nine months to local schools, churches, community libraries, child care centers, and non-profits who work directly with children. At the same time, many churches gave monetary offerings for the purpose of supporting underfunded public school libraries in South Carolina. The amount was over $22,000.00 and the God-size dream lived on!
The Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty Task Force contacted the office of the State Superintendent of Education to assist in identifying schools to receive these funds. The office identified three schools based on their reading scores, state and federal priority lists, and amount of state and federal funding they currently received. Three schools were contacted that they had been selected to receive $7665.28 to be used for books and their media centers. The principals were speechless when told of the gift. Each school is nestled in rural South Carolina with 98% of the children on free and reduced lunches.
Caring for Children in Liberia
In Liberia, after a long period of civil war where many children are now orphans and homeless due to the fact that their parents were killed and properties burned down, the wellbeing of children and youth in poverty is paramount. We are hopeful in our efforts to transform the minds of these children for good leadership for a better tomorrow.
As we celebrate and enjoy the peace that God has given us, we also pray for economic stability in terms of job opportunities and improvement in our educational system. We hope that our government will be able to build more public schools and can minimize the high cost of school fees. These are fees that many parents cannot afford.
When parents cannot meet the school system’s financial demands, children are often put out of school. Some children then work to help with their family’s financial needs and with the hope of raising money for the next academic year. Unfortunately, other children lead wayward lives that result in rape, sexual abuse, youth pregnancy, violence, drugs abuse, etc.
From this background, the CME church, Liberia Region, through the Margibi District has been working over the last three years to put in place some programs to help solve some of these problems. The church can in no way survive without these children. They are our hope and future.