Reading Rewards Program at Cleaves Memorial CME Church

The Reading Rewards Program addresses a need for literacy improvement within the community. The summer reading program included 10 youth between the ages of 5 and 12, in partnership with their parents, guardian, or responsible adult. Youth were able to choose books based on their reading level and topics of interest. As the youth reached the preset goals of the program, they were awarded prizes and a chance to attend an Ice Cream/Pizza Party. The goals and vision of the program came to fruition this summer, as youth gained self-confidence and developed a love for reading!

To learn more about the program and how you can incorporate it in you ministry click below to read more.


North Alabama UMC Mobilizes for Children’s Sabbath


Moving Forward With Hope:
Love & Justice for Every Child in the NAC

October 22-December 31, 2017

The NAC Team of the Pan Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty
Invites you and your congregation to Host Children’s Sabbath 2017

1. Liturgy for Children’s Sabbath Worship:
(This includes helpful worship bulletin inserts and information.)
(Pages 19-25 worship liturgies; pages 39-42 helpful discussion guides & action plans;
pages 43-51 excellent Handouts.)
2. “NAC Children’s Sabbath Video” and Study Guide:
Our gratitude to Pan-Methodist Campaign founder and Candler School of Theology
Professor Emeritus, Rev. Dr. Luther Smith, for sharing his wisdom on our NAC YouTube channel.
The Study Guide is posted on the Campaign’s NAC web page.
3. Our NAC Children in Poverty Facts:
“Data Map of Children Living in Poverty in Our Annual Conference” – view on the NAC website
the number of children who struggle in poverty within the bounds of our AC. What will WE do?
4. Ideas for engaging schools in your congregation’s neighborhood:
“50 Ways to Engage Local Schools” + the NAC Campaign blog posts on the NAC website.
5. Share Your Stories:
Email your stories to the NAC Pan-Methodist Campaign team (see below address).

Did you know...

  • More than 1 in 4 (27.3 percent) of Alabama’s children were poor in 2015.
  • More than 24% of children lived in households that lacked access to adequate food in 2015.
  • More than 38% of Alabama’s 4th grade public school students were unable to read at grade level in 2015.

*Note: Children’s Sabbath is different from a Children’s Sunday. Children’s Sabbath does celebrate your congregation’s children, but it also is a time (during worship, study, outreach) to invite our congregations to focus on the realities of children beyond our congregation. Children’s Sabbath is a way for our congregations to help children thrive – not just survive – the systems and circumstances impacting their young lives. If October doesn’t work for your church, then pick ANY Sunday before December 31 to celebrate Children’s Sabbath.

For more information:

CONTACT: Rev. Melissa Self Patrick, NAC Campaign Liaison ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).



October 22 - December 31, 2017

Moving Forward with Hope: Love and Justice for Every Child


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” 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.


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.


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. 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 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.


Click on

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

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


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.



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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