despondent child head against wall

This Campaign needs your involvement.

You can make a difference in the lives of children and youth, and you can make a difference in the effectiveness of this Campaign.  We need you to:
•    Pray for children and youth
•    Be informed about the realities of children and youth
•    Discern how the Christian faith relates to caring for children and youth
•    Put your faith into action on behalf of children and youth


Some immediate ways to contribute to the Campaign

Tell us about your current involvement with children and youth at risk to poverty. If your Methodist church or agency is serving children and youth at risk to poverty, tell us about these ministries so that others might benefit from your experience and wisdom.  Testimony is a Christian practice that inspires others on their journey.

Please send a brief description (two pages or less) of your church or agency’s ministries to children/youth at risk to poverty. How are church members involved?  What gives you joy about this work? And provide contact information (name, address, telephone number, email address, website) to be posted with your description on the Campaign’s website in case someone wants to learn more about the ministry.

Help this “Be Involved” page to be a growing resource for those joining the Campaign. Over the coming weeks, we hope to see a dramatic increase in the listing of ministries to children/youth in poverty.  Your contribution will help this to be a reality.  Send your descriptions to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

solitary sad black teenTell others about the Campaign. Ask about their ministries to children/youth in poverty.   Are churches of your district and annual conference being encouraged to be in ministry to children/youth at risk to poverty?  If yes, tell us about these district and/or annual conference initiatives.  If no, begin to talk about the Campaign with members of your district and/or annual conference.

Provide your contact information. We want to stay in touch about the Campaign and opportunities to care for children and youth in poverty.  Please complete the form here. This information is for Campaign use only.  It will not be given to another organization. If you would like to receive only our email updates, you can subscribe with the link on any page -- and unsubscribe whenever you wish.


Caring for Children/Youth in Poverty

This Campaign to mobilize “the people called Methodist” relies upon persons being informed and inspired to care for children.  A primary source for information and inspiration is found in those who are already involved in serving children and youth in poverty.  Their discipleship instructs on starting and sustaining ministries to children/youth in poverty.  And their discipleship encourages when the problems seem overwhelming.

The following descriptions provide instructive and inspiring examples of Methodist churches, agencies, and programs serving children/youth in poverty.  Let them be a resource for your discipleship.  Use their contact information to inquire further about their service and to discern the implications for your involvement with children/youth in poverty.

Return often to this site to see new descriptions added as the Campaign grows.   And be certain to add the description of your own church, agency, district, or conference ministry to the following resources.


Campaign Articles

News and contributions from Campaign members:


Joining Hands to Lift Children at Hood Seminary

By Dr. Mary Love
Hood Theological Seminary joined in partnership with the Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children In Poverty during the fall semester by offering two “Joining Hands to Lift Children” summits in the community for those who work with children. The summits were held in Montgomery, AL (October 10, 2015) and Rock Hill, SC (Oct. 31). Dr. Mary Love, Adjunct Professor of Christian Education taught a children’s Ministry class with 14 students, (4 in Alabama and 10 in North/South Carolina).

North Alabama Conference Defines Relationship, Values, and Goals

The North Alabama Annual Conference (UMC) recently became part of the Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty and is stepping up to engage every congregation in making an active difference in the lives of children in poverty. Rev. Melissa Self Patrick, Campaign Liaison, is working with the Conference children’s coordinator and members of the NAC Children’s Connexion Team to establish a mission statement, core values, and goals that guide the NAC’s activism in North Alabama.


Sidewalk Ministries in the Desert Southwest Conference and Beyond

Billie K. Fidlin, Director of Outreach

The Desert Southwest Conference, headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, brought Sidewalk Sunday School Ministries to the region in 1999. Sidewalk Sunday School uses a converted box truck to become the traveling church. As Becky Cowart, a former Desert Southwest Conference Sidewalk Director from Tucson, AZ has always said, the truck is the ‘pied piper’ for God. Ministry teams travel to the same place on a weekly basis to bring the Good News to kids, families, teens, homeless – all of God’s children – in vulnerable settings. The worship service is high energy, multi-faceted fun and pointed commentary, with love and hope being the core values. There’s prayer, music, games, drama, thematic Scripture based object lessons, a sermon – and yes… even an offering.


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.

Freeman Chapel CME Church Implements Campaign

Freeman Chapel CME Church (Ashdown, Arkansas) has dedicated itself to addressing the needs of children in poverty. Working in partnership with the Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty, the Church has decided to:
  • Utilize announcements during Sunday worship and on the Church’s main bulletin board for presenting information on employment, housing, and poverty in their local community.
  • Expand their involvement in “One Church – One School” through an “alternative high school”, and to provide Thanksgiving and Christmas Food baskets to needy families.

CMEs Making a Difference for Children in Arkansas

Most of the ministries of the St. Luke Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Ozan, Arkansas are centered on the needs of children. We have a back to school funfest day every Labor Day on the church ground. On this day we serve food, supply articles of clothing and give out school supplies to children in our community and the surrounding area.

We help children affected by domestic violence by supplying clothing to the domestic violence shelter. The articles supplied were caps, scarfs, gloves and socks. The list changes according to what the shelter needs at the time.  At Christmas time we started an adopt-a-family project where we fill the children’s wish as well as buying clothes and shoes that are needed. Many of the members along with our pastor participated in each of these efforts. We take these ministries seriously and we will continue to add others.


Kids in Distress — A Program of Love and Hope

Ian Saunders (child) standing at Kids In Distress entrance signOn November 15, the Pan-Methodist Commission visited an exciting program in Fort Lauderdale, Florida that focuses on neglected, abused, and abandoned children and their at-risk families. The program is called “Kids in Distress” (KID). Commission members were amazed at the array of both preventive and intervention programs that protect children.


Georgia Methodists Involved In Healing For Sexually Trafficked Children

A Safe Harbor Fund for Georgia's Children: You can help raise awareness! Click Read More for details.


North Georgia UMCs Serve Children in Poverty

North Georgia United Methodist Churches have been involved with aiding children in poverty on many different levels. By collaborating with schools, communities, and other congregations, Methodists provide food, shelter, guidance, and more to needy children across the region.

Action Ministries challenged the entire conference this summer to collaborate in honor of their program Smart Lunch, Smart Kid. The goal was set for 200,000 healthy lunches to distribute to needy children when the school year ended.


What We Do and Why We Do It

[The following article is an edited version of Rev. Robinson-Donaldson’s testimony to the process of discipleship in caring for children in poverty.]

Rev. Bessie Robinson-Donaldson, Ministerial Advisor; Big Bethel AME Church; Atlanta, GA

Oftentimes we, as Christian, feel that in order to do ministry, it has to be an ordained charge. To the contrary, ministry is no more nor no less than service to others. Approximately 25 years ago, I was blessed with a position in the Juvenile Justice System of Fulton County as a Judicial Assistant where I was afforded opportunity to experience connecting with many children and families who were in many of life’s struggles….poverty stricken, abused, neglected and rejected by family and society, deprived of normal relationships, etc. It was not long after being hired as a Judge’s Assistant that I came to realize via my supervisor, who was the Chief Judge of the Court, that what I had been blessed with was not a job, but an assignment.


God’s Grace is Sufficient

By Shiann W. Williamson, West Georgia Region (CME)

At Holsey Chapel CME Church, God’s Mighty Fortress on Eight Street in Columbus, Georgia former pastor Rev. Jamie L. Capers made it mandatory for all auxiliaries of the church to have a working ministry. The Church School reached out to the school system to identify seniors who were having difficulty graduating. The Muscogee County School District’s Director of Counseling led us to a student who had witnessed the death of his mother and who was homeless. These circumstances challenged the strength of this nineteen year-old black male who also needed funds to pay for two classes required for graduation. This young man was taking special needs classes and had passed all parts of the graduation test, yet he still needed additional credits to graduate with his class and receive a regular diploma.


Faith in Action at Glenn Memorial UMC

A huge success for the 252 volunteers
for Good Neighbor Day 2013 who completed
786 hours of services in ONE day.
Good Neighbor Day 2014: September 6.

At Glenn Memorial, we believe God's love for the world is an active and engaged love, a love seeking justice and liberty. As Christians, we are called to honor the commandments to “love God” and “love neighbor.” In the Gospel of Luke, when a clever lawyer responds to the latter mandate with the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus responds with a parable that reframes the concept to an instructive “How to be a neighbor.” The Rev. Fred Craddock points out that the intent of the lesson was to leave the lawyer with the imperative “Go and do.”

Glenn Good Neighbor Day is one of our opportunities to “go and do” those acts that help us to be the right kind of neighbor. Like Christmas and Easter, Good Neighbor Day has become one of our community’s annual traditions. Some at Glenn may even call it a Holy Day. For 20 years, the community has gathered on a Saturday in September, sending hundreds of Glenn members, young and old, out into Atlanta to demonstrate their love of God and neighbor through service to the community.


Commission Supports Interfaith Child Advocacy in Atlanta

At the 2015 annual meeting of the Pan-Methodist Commission in Atlanta, Ms. Pamela Perkins Carn presented the work of the Interfaith Children’s Movement (ICM) in Georgia. The realities she presented on child commercial sexual exploitation, suspensions in schools, and juvenile justice practices are distressing. The work and accomplishments of ICM in response to these realities are inspiring. Clearly child advocacy is crucial to improving the lives of thousands of children. The Commission heard her moving testimony on the differences that people of faith can and do make for children, their families, and in the discipleship witness of our congregations.


Kentucky Annual Conference (AMEZ) Implements Multiple Campaign Projects

The Kentucky Annual Conference continues its activism to make a difference in the lives of children in poverty. Rev. Lillian Grinter, Campaign liaison, works with her Campaign team in implementing ministries to children throughout the Conference. She has scheduled “check up meetings” to receive reports from her team. The following six reported projects on their ministries to children in poverty have been exciting involvements for the churches and their members.


Green Memorial AMEZ Leads Walk Against Bullying

Ms. Ruth Gough, Liaison for the New England Annual Conference (AMEZ Church), reported that the Green Memorial AMEZ Church sponsored a “Walk Against Bullying” in Portland, Maine. The goal of this event was: “to raise awareness about the importance of bullying prevention, and to unite for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion!” The message for children in the community was: “You are not alone, we’re here for you.”

Green Memorial also gave 80 backpacks to 2nd through 5th grade students in the LearningWorks after-school program at the East End Elementary School in Portland.


Children’s Sabbath Emphasizes Care for All Children

Hunter Memorial AME Church in Prince Georges County in Suitland, MD held its 2nd Annual Children’s Sabbath Interfaith Celebration this past November. The focus this year was “Creating Safer Communities for Our Children.” In this event, we gave thanks for and emphasized extending justice to the most vulnerable in our communities--our children. During our Children’s Sabbath celebrations, youth and adults learned about and led the congregation from various faith traditions through creative prayers, reflection, scripture, song, etc. A youth preached the homily and the service concluded with calls to action. We also had a prayer room transformed into a playground for prayer and three Unitarian inspired prayer stations (e.g., rock and water station, prayers on notecards, and candle station for youth impacted by violence in their communities). ~ Rev. Jennifer Gillyard, Executive Director, The Real Life Resource Center, Inc. (the community development arm of Hunter Memorial AME Church)

Mississippi Liaison Receives National Attention for Child Care Article Carol Burnett, ED of Mississippi Low Income Child Care Initiative

Carol Burnett (pictured), who is the Executive Director for the Mississippi Low Income Child Care Initiative and the liaison for the Mississippi Annual Conference (UMC), wrote an article about the plight of low-income families to have affordable child care.  The article was published in The Nation and republished on the Moyers & Company website.  She explains how current policies and resources leave these families with "no-win decisions" regarding their efforts to provide their children safe and nurturing child care.  After reading the article, ask what your church (by itself or working with other churches and agencies) can do to assist low-income families in your communities.

Operation Shoestring

We all rise together. This message is at the core of Operation Shoestring’s mission and programs, and you’ll find it reflected in the design of our letters, website and signs around town. What does it mean? Quite simply, when the children of central Jackson are safe, nurtured and empowered to take advantage of a bright future, all of Jackson rises. When the families in Shoestring’s focus area are strong and thriving, all of Jackson rises. Our tagline – By Teaching Children and Inspiring Families, Operation Shoestring Ensures We All Rise Together – affirms our belief that every child in Jackson should have the same access to a promising future, and that all the families of our city should have the same opportunity and means to improve and succeed.

Annual Conference Confronts Sex Trafficking of Children

[Apr 2016] 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.


Beyond the Classroom: Seminary Raises Awareness and Connects with the Community

[March 2017] 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.


Serving Children Through Partnerships

by Mary Love and Teaira Parker

[April 2018] Over two years ago, the idea of a 501(c)3 was tossed out in a Hood Seminary Children's Ministry class. That idea became a reality with the inception of Big Changes Start Small (BCSS). BCSS is actively engaged in forming partnerships to make a difference in the Dillehay Courts Community in Charlotte, NC. The main partners currently include three area churches (Greenville Memorial A. M. E. Zion Church, First Mount Calvary Baptist Church and Walls Memorial A. M. E. Zion Church) and the Salvation Army. This apartment complex has a Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club on the premises and the youth who attend make up our main target audience. In August, BCSS, our partners and others sponsored a Back-to-School summit with approximately 225 children, youth and adults in attendance. Each child was given school supplies, a book bag, books, hygiene items, and more. Classes were provided on parenting best practices, bullying and establishing children's ministries that make a difference. In addition…


Pan-Methodists, Hood Seminary, and Baptists Sponsor Summit on Children

[Aug 2016] Leadership Summit for parents and adults working with children and youth, held at St Mark AME on Saturday, June 25, 2016


Albemarle Conference puts ‘Faith in Action’

Rev. Carolyn C. Eason, Conference Liaison

[Aug 2014] In the Albemarle Annual Conference (AMEZ Church, North Carolina) several meetings were held to inform the Districts of the Campaign’s history and objectives, and to encourage churches to be active in caring for children in poverty. The Conference’s Campaign Committee along with Presiding Elder Theadore Headen met with over 20 Pastors and laity to facilitate discussions on identifying the children who could benefit from the intervention of the Pan-Methodist Campaign’s target population of children in all Albemarle Conference area counties.

It was surprising to learn that many of our churches (AMEZ) have always been involved in ministry to children in poverty and now many more are encouraged and motivated to become involved.


Joining Hands to Lift Children at Hood Seminary

By Dr. Mary Love
Hood Theological Seminary joined in partnership with the Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children In Poverty during the fall semester by offering two “Joining Hands to Lift Children” summits in the community for those who work with children. The summits were held in Montgomery, AL (October 10, 2015) and Rock Hill, SC (Oct. 31). Dr. Mary Love, Adjunct Professor of Christian Education taught a children’s Ministry class with 14 students, (4 in Alabama and 10 in North/South Carolina).

SC Annual Conference Defines Campaign Work for Children

The South Carolina Annual Conference (UMC) continues its efforts to have every congregation active in making a difference in the lives of children in poverty. Martha Thompson, its Campaign liaison, reports the establishment of a mission statement, core values, and goals that guide the annual conference’s activism in South Carolina. The document might also be used as a template by other annual conferences as they mobilize persons to bear witness to God’s love for children who struggle with the stifling realities of poverty.

One Million Hours for Children!

By Jessica Brodie
How much do South Carolina United Methodists care about children? If organizers have their way, the new 1 Million Hours of Service initiative will show they care a million times over.

United Methodists in ministry with or for children—whether tutoring, on a school board, serving as a reading partner and more—are being asked to log their hours on a new website launched by the conference and overseen by the Children in Poverty Task Force. The hours can be past, present and future (from Annual Conference last June through now and beyond).


Children's Summit at Epworth Children's Home

Epworth Children's Home, 2900 Millwood Ave, Columbia, SC 29205 October 15, 2016, 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM. The 3-fold purpose of the summit:
  • To address the issues and needs of children, especially in South Carolina, and identify ways that congregations can make an intentional difference through partnerships and advocacy
  • To provide some training for persons who work with children
  • To connect with the Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty and participate as an outreach of Hood Seminary

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!

“Joining Hands to Lift Children” Summit

People seated at Children's Summit at Epworth(October 2017) 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.”


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


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.


The Desk of Christian Education/Specialized Ministry to Children of United Methodist Church, Sierra Leone Annual Conference

Mrs. Olivia I. H. Fonnie, Liaison
The United Methodist Church (UMC), Sierra Leone Annual Conference sees the nurturing of Children as paramount, which is why every year children come together at a specific location to meet new friends and to learn God’s word together. The children come and learn more about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, learn from the Bible and what it means to be Christian. In practice this means, time and space are given for quiet times, prayer, Bible studies, worship, and church service. Therefore Children from all districts where the UMC operates converge to an agreed location to have a one week camp.

Celebrating Christmas with Children in Poverty in the Southern Province of Sierra Leone

From Olivia Fonnie – Liaison Officer, United Methodist Church, Sierra Leone

sierraleone-christmas[April 2018] Christmas for the children in my Conference is a time of sharing and giving. Jesus is a gift given to us by God. Children are always looking forward to receiving gifts from their parents, relatives and friends. They are also reminded in Church that Christmas is a time of sharing some of what they have with those who cannot afford it. This Christmas of the children and their parents travelled with me to Bonthe District, Southern Part of Sierra Leone in a small village called Luawa in Mattru Jong. The children were provided with food and toys on Christmas day. There were about a two hundred children. You could see the joy on the faces of those children.

Normally Church members provide food and drinks for the children on Christmas day and Sunday. This year on Christmas Sunday, 31 st December 2017, Children of the Charles Davies United Methodist Church in Freetown shared their food and drinks with some impoverished children in their locality. They also shared the good news of the birth of Jesus.


The Childcare Desk of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa

Our work with and focus on children are very comprehensive and, when done right, very fulfilling. One could, perhaps liken it to a dingy in the middle of the Indian Ocean tossed to and fro but from which land can be sighted.

The Childcare Desk of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) was formed 6 years ago with the purpose of moving the Methodists from an attitude of complacency as far as children are concerned, to their active participation in understanding the needs of children as well as nurturing, guiding and growing children as todays hope for tomorrow.


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.


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