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.”

For the first time in history it is actually possible to create a world in which all children share in at least the basic opportunities in life. The technical resources are available to protect children from the most common diseases, to provide them with the necessities of food, shelter, clothing and healthcare. For the most part, we know what to do and how to do it. What is lacking are the vision and moral will. Vision and moral will are the responsibilities of the Church.

Children are amazingly resilient. Recent studies suggest that the primary sources of the resiliency of children include a supportive community of hope and love. Loving relationships, hope for the future, and a sustaining value system are necessary for children to flourish and fulfill their God given potential. All children need to know that they are made in the image of God and loved supremely by God, who is present with them and who intends abundant life for them. Jesus Christ welcomes them as an integral part of a community of grace and service. Children of all economic conditions need to experience the gospel.

The crisis among children and impoverished people is, in reality, a spiritual crisis that affects all persons. The growing fear and sense of powerlessness and boredom between the middle class and affluent have roots in the poverty of vision, community and hope. The “poverty of affluence” and economic poverty are related. Without a challenging vision that includes justice and compassion for the vulnerable, we become self-absorbed.

 

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