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Let each of us commit to reaching out and caring for children in the way God calls us, whether it is to wipe a tear, bandage a scraped knee, comfort a scraped heart, tutor a struggling student, paint over graffiti, plant a community garden, become a foster parent, provide an internship, coach a sports team, or child a hand. With God, it is never too late for us. God offers us fresh beginning every day, the chance to find the new start need, the opportunity to provide a new start for a child. Thanks be to God. Amen.

(Taken from the Children's Defense Fund's 2000 National Observance of Children's Sabbath Manual.)



Mission Statement of the Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty

To affirm the Wesleyan heritage to care for the poor by encouraging “the people called Methodist” to serve children and youth at risk to poverty.


Pan-Methodist Commission

The Pan-Methodist Commission came into existence in 1985. Its primary objective is to foster meaningful cooperation among the African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, African Union Methodist Protestant, Christian Methodist Episcopal, United Methodist, and Union American Methodist Episcopal Churches.


The Challenge

Do you love children? Do you want to see children reach their fullest potential? Do you want to become involved by helping children, especially those who are suffering and living in poverty? If the answer to these questions is yes, then the challenge is to get involved. One suggestion is to become part of the Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty.



1. To renew and empower the efforts of Methodist churches, agencies, and seminaries already serving children and youth at risk to poverty.
2. To challenge and enable all Methodist churches and seminaries to establish ministries to children and youth at risk to poverty.


Faith in Action

The Pan-Methodist Commission recognizes how difficult it is for congregations to develop specific ideas about how to care for children in poverty. However, such involvement often starts with an individual who is committed to a particular cause. When one person unites with others, they can begin ministries that powerfully impact the lives of children.



I. Educate the Congregation about the Needs of Children and the Poor

Goal: To sensitize Methodist congregations to circumstances faced by children and by poor families in order that churches might respond with acts of compassion and justice.


II. Reaching Out to Children in the Community

Goal: To engage in ministries aimed at improving life for chil-dren and for poor people in the neighborhood around the church as well as in nearby communities.


III. Advocating for Legislation and Public Policies that Improve Children’s Lives and the Lives of Poor

Goal: To engage in programs and activities aimed at improving life for children and for poor people in the neighborhood around the church as well as in nearby communities.



Children’s Defense Fund:“The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) is a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for 35 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. We champion policies and programs that lift children out of poverty; protect them from abuse and neglect; and ensure their access to health care, quality education and a moral and spiritual foundation.” Website:


Social and Religious Context

The Crisis Among Children

Child sacrifice has been taboo among the world‟s great religions for at least three thousand years, yet today children are being sacrificed to the gods of consumerism violence and neglect. Economic injustice, racial and ethnic and religious hatred, and the abuse of political power are resulting in genocide of the world‟s most vulnerable citizens – children who live in poverty.


Methodism, Children and the Poor

Methodism was born among the impoverished of eighteenth century England. So significant was John Wesley's ministry with the poor that he affirmed, “And surely never in any age or nation since the Apostles, have those words been so eminently fulfilled, the poor have the gospel preached unto them,‟ as it is at this day.”20


The Challenge and Opportunity for Methodist Churches

The crisis among the world‟s children and impoverished people represents a kairos opportunity for Methodist churches. Many agencies are paralyzed by fear and despair in the face of the overwhelming needs. Yet signs of hope abound for “those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.”



* This is a revised statement of The Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church entitled: “Children and Poverty: An Episcopal Initiative.” This revision of the statement, Faith in Action recommendations, Resources for the Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty is done with permission.

Special appreciation to Caitlin Foley Phillips for her assistance in revising this edition of the booklet.


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