A Sunday of Solidarity for Suffering Children

In light of the recent news about children in U.S. government holding facilities along the U.S.-Mexico border, the United Methodist Committee on Relief has received numerous requests to respond. We have heard the plea for action from the church. Unfortunately, the facilities in question are managed in such a way that precludes even UMCOR’s assistance. Access to these government facilities is extremely limited.

As the arm of The United Methodist Church mandated to cultivate and promote mission, the General Board of Global Ministries seeks to equip your church with tools to use as you confront the frustration and helplessness that this situation evokes. While this particular case is in the U.S., we recognize that migration is a global issue and the breadth and depth of our Global Migration programming at UMCOR and Global Ministries reflects that fact.

As a church that is united on the need to care for children, we can be in mission together. This Sunday, June 30, Global Ministries encourages you to take part in A Sunday of Solidarity for Suffering Children in three ways:

  1. PRAY – We encourage you to pray for children. Below, you will find a prayer to use this Sunday. You might choose to dedicate a service to suffering children everywhere or conduct a prayer vigil in your community for the children suffering along the border.
  2. ACT – We encourage you to act on behalf of children. While we cannot take UMCOR hygiene kits to the U.S. government holding centers, we are distributing UMCOR hygiene kits at transitional shelters all along the US-Mexico border. In the last three months, UMCOR delivered 46,128 hygiene kits to six church-run transitional shelters. Instructions on how to make and send these kits are available at this webpage: https://www.umcmission.org/umcor/serve/reliefsupply-network/hygiene-kit
    You can also act by calling your U.S. elected officials. The following link to the General Board of Church and Society, our sister United Methodist agency responsible for advocacy, will give you some suggestions on issues to raise with these officials. https://www.umcjustice.org/whatyou-can-do/advocacy/take-action/stand-with-immigrants-and-refugees
  3. GIVE – Finally, we encourage you to give on behalf of children. Through the Global Migration Advance (https://advance.umcmission.org/p-525-global-migration.aspx), UMCOR provides grants to organizations along the U.S. border and elsewhere around the world that are working to fill gaps in the needs and rights of migrants.

Jesus implored his disciples to welcome the children. This is our mission: to make sure the children are welcomed. Thank you for your prayers, your actions and your gifts.

A Prayer for Suffering Children
God of All Children Everywhere,
Our hearts are bruised when we see children suffering alone.
Our hearts are torn when we are unable to help.
Our hearts are broken when we have some complicity in the matter.
For all the times we were too busy and shooed a curious child away,
forgive us, oh God.
For all the times we failed to get down on their level and look eye to eye with a child,
forgive us, oh God.
For all the times we did not share when we saw a hungry child somewhere in the world,
forgive us, oh God.
For all the times we thought about calling elected officials to demand change, but did not,
forgive us, oh God.
For all the times we thought that caring for the children of this world was someone else’s responsibility,
forgive us, oh God.
With Your grace, heal our hearts.
With Your grace, unite us in action.
With Your grace, repair our government.
With Your grace, help us to find a way to welcome all children everywhere,
That they may know that Jesus loves them,
Not just because “the Bible tells them so,”
But because they have known Your love in real and tangible ways,
And they know that nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate them from Your love.
Amen.

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About the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)
Founded in 1940, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is the global humanitarian aid and development agency of The United Methodist Church. UMCOR is working in more than 80 countries worldwide, including the United States and its territories. Our mission, grounded in the teachings of Jesus, is to alleviate human suffering – whether caused by war, conflict or natural disaster – with open hearts and minds to all people. UMCOR responds to natural or civil disasters that are interruptions of such magnitude that they overwhelm a community’s ability to recover on its own. UMCOR works through programs that address hunger, poverty, sustainable agriculture, international and domestic emergencies, refugee and immigrant concerns, global health issues, and transitional development. Learn more on our website at UMCOR.org, or social media: Facebook.com/UMCOR and twitter.com/UMC_UMCOR.

YOUTH 2019 Seeks Volunteers for United Methodist Youth National Event

NASHVILLE, Tenn. May 21, 2019 /Discipleship Ministries/ – Volunteers are needed to help create an atmosphere of hospitality when 2,500 youth and their leaders descend on the Kansas City Convention Center in July for YOUTH 2019, the national gathering for United Methodist youth.

Youth from over 250 churches will be attending the four days of discipleship, worship, Bible study, service opportunities and life-changing fun July 10-14.

“Volunteering is simple, and we have roles for any adult age and giftedness,” said Chris Wilterdink, director of Young People’s Ministries at Discipleship Ministries.

While some volunteer roles will be in direct contact with youth at the event, many will involve set up, clean up, organization and support for adult leaders.

“Volunteers could be welcoming groups at the Kansas City airport, aiding the build-out of worship or exhibit areas, stuffing bags, making sure adult speakers have supplies, hanging out near our exhibit hall or onsite service projects, or even be working back stage in our big room worship area,” Wilterdink said.

YOUTH 2019 volunteers are needed July 9-13, and there will be no registration costs. Shifts will be as short as four hours or as long as a full day. Parking expenses will be covered, and meals will be provided.

Volunteers need to register and complete an online background check and simple Safe Sanctuaries guidelines review, powered by Safe Gatherings.

For more information and to volunteer, go to https://youth2019.com/volunteering.
For answers to questions, email Patrice Rullo at prullo@UMCdiscipleship.org or Taressa Thompson at taressalthompson@gmail.com.

The mission of Discipleship Ministries is to support annual conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, Discipleship Ministries is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, Tenn. For more information, visit www.UMCdiscipleship.org, the Press Center at www.UMCdiscipleship.org/about/press-center or call the Communications Office at (877) 899-2780, Ext. 1726.

Application process open for General Conference 2020 marshals and pages

NASHVILLE, Tennessee: Beginning today, United Methodists may apply online to serve as volunteer marshals or pages during The United Methodist Church’s 2020 General Conference. The denomination’s top legislative assembly will meet May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis.

Approximately 175 volunteers are needed to serve as marshals and pages during General Conference.

Marshals are responsible for assisting visitors and special guests in the visitor and reserved seating galleries, checking credentials to make sure that only authorized persons are admitted to the bar of the conference or that of legislative committees, and other duties as assigned.

Pages assist delegates, secretarial staff, bishops, members of the Judicial Council and official visitors. They also distribute approved materials and deliver printed information.

Marshals and pages are responsible for their expenses (travel, food, lodging, etc.). Those interested should submit an online application before the deadline of July 31. Preference will be given to applicants who can serve throughout the entire conference.

If you have additional questions, contact David Atkinson at GC2020@colliervilleumc.org.

A Common Word from the Council of Bishops

Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Council of Bishops offers a pastoral and prophetic word in response to the decisions of the Special Session and the codification of some of these decisions in our Book of Discipline.

Bishops are not judges or legislators. Bishops are preachers, teachers, shepherds, mediators, and missional strategists who appoint clergy and lead annual conferences to make disciples for the transformation of the world. We offer this reflection as an expression of our pastoral and prophetic witness. The prophetic gift to our church calls for a confession of the harm that has been done, an acknowledgement of grief and support of a vision of God’s promise to do a new thing (Isaiah 43). The pastoral gift is to accompany conversations across the church about our denomination’s future.

We affirm the fruitful and creative ministries in our annual conferences. Recognizing that “the Annual Conference is the basic body of the church” (BOD, 33), there is an emerging discernment that the power and hope in our connection resides in the annual conference, which is closer to local churches and better honors our different contexts. And there is a strong conviction that we cannot arrive at solutions that enhance our unity in our legislative processes.

There is also a renewed commitment to seek new ways of being in relationship. In the words of the Mission, Vision Scope of the Way Forward, “We should be open to new ways of embodying unity that move us beyond where we are in the present impasse and cycle of action and reaction around ministry and human sexuality. Therefore, we should consider new ways of being in relationship across cultures and jurisdictions, in understandings of episcopacy, in contextual definitions of autonomy for annual conferences, and in the design and purpose of the apportionment.

There is a sense among the Council that we are in untenable times. To this end the Council is exploring models and plans of new forms of unity, including work being done in Africa, Europe, the Western Jurisdiction, a new Methodism, the gifts of the black church, among creative experiments in annual conferences and a connection of new expressions of United Methodism.

The Council has nominated a Servant Listening Team to accompany these conversations across the church. At the same time, the whole Council is called to a season of deep listening.

We grieve the brokenness in our relationships, and confess that we are complicit in this. Amidst pervasive dynamics of “evil, injustice and oppression” in the church and the world, we pledge to work for reconciliation in order to demonstrate the way of Christ, which is to love and serve one another. As we approach Pentecost, we call upon the gifts of the Holy Spirit to “make us one with Christ, one with each other and one in ministry to all the world.

Sources: Services of Baptism and Holy Communion. The Mission, Vision and Scope of the Commission on a Way Forward. The Book of Discipline.

United Methodist bishops respond to article in The New York Times

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to The New York Times article alleging that improper voting occurred at recent Special Session of General Conference, the Council of Bishops has issued the following statement:

“The Council of Bishops has always worked to help the delegates to do their best work, as the legislative body of the church. This means being a voice for fairness. The Council does not plan, host or oversee the General Conference.  We are not casting blame on a region of the world or a part of the body of Christ.  In honoring the sacrificial gifts of the delegates to the Special Session, the preparatory work of the Commission on a Way Forward, and the importance of the Special Session’s stated purpose, we do have an absolute and unwavering desire for transparency and the truth in discovering what has taken place in the special session of the General Conference.”

Kenneth H. Carter Jr.
President, Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church

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Media Contact: Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga
Director of Communications – Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church
mmulenga@umc-cob.org
202-748-5172