Pan-Methodists and the National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths – a Quarter-Century of Faithful Participation
This year marks the 25 th anniversary of the National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths. The participation from denominations in the Pan-Methodist family has been vital to the growth and continuing witness and work for justice of the Children’s Sabbath observance from its earliest years to now. If you and your congregation haven’t yet joined in, make this the year!
Should your church participate if it already celebrates Children’s Day in June or has a monthly Youth Sunday? Absolutely! The October National Observance of Children’s Sabbath shares elements of celebration with traditional June Children’s Day and incorporates young people’s leadership like traditional Youth Sundays. However, the Children’s Sabbath has distinct elements that make it a vital addition to the life of congregations even if they mark those other occasions as well:
- The Children’s Sabbath focuses attention on current, urgent problems facing children and families in our nation—like poverty, gun violence, lack of health care, and the need for affordable, accessible, good quality child care.
- The Children’s Sabbath draws on our sacred texts, teachings, and traditions to call for action—both compassionate hands-on service and courageous, committed work for justice to address systemic problems and call for widespread solutions.
- The Children’s Sabbath aims to involve all ages—from children, to teens, to adults—in the leadership of the day, since all of us have a role to play in improving the lives of children.
Georgia Methodists Involved In Healing For Sexually Trafficked Children
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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
A UMC Jurisdiction Campaign Contribution
The Bishops of the Southeastern Jurisdiction (UMC) have recognized the unique opportunities of reaching children in poverty. As a lay delegate to the recent Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference and serving as the liaison for the South Carolina Annual Conference for the Pan-Methodist Campaign, I was thrilled that the Southeastern Jurisdictional College of Bishops recommended children in poverty as one of their five Missional Initiatives for the next quadrennium. This will provide a collaborative avenue for the United Methodist Conferences in the jurisdiction to work together and develop a plan of action for children in poverty. At the opening worship service an offering of $6,000.00 was collected for the Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty. At the 2017 College of Bishops meeting in January, a collaborative effort with conference leaders will begin the dialogue to focus on this new mission. It is exciting to see what will happen.
Bishop Jonathan Holston of South Carolina has led the way with "The Million Book Effort," "A Million Hours of Service With and For Children," and assisting with educational initiatives for children. In October, 2016, a Children's Summit will be held at Epworth Children's Home in Columbia, South Carolina and is sponsored through the Pan Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty and Hood Seminary.
Martha F. Thompson
South Carolina (UMC) Campaign Liaison
A CME Annual Conference Campaign Contribution
At the Annual Conference of the Southeast Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin Region (CME), Bishop Sylvester Williams, Sr. contributed $1500 from the Region to the Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty. This is a major gift to the work of the Campaign. It enables the Campaign to provide assistance and resources for Pan-Methodist initiatives that offer experiences of compassion and advocacy for our children. Bishop Williams’ leadership in this offering from his Region is exemplary of the kind of support that is vital to Campaign.
Children's Summit at Epworth Children's Home
This event is FREE and lunch is provided!
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
Goal: To bring persons together across denominational lines who work with children and are willing to explore ways to make a difference in their lives.
The Summit will:
- Explore possibilities for future ministry to children across denominational lines in the state of South Carolina
- Share examples of what congregations, districts, and conferences are doing in the Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty
- Provide workshops and resources to assist parents, grandparents and others in the process of nurturing children in a wholesome environment
Pre-register prior to September 15 at http://tinyurl.com/epworthsummit
Pan-Methodists, Hood Seminary, and Baptists Sponsor Summit on Children
Annual Conference Confronts Sex Trafficking of Children
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.
As knowledge of child sex trafficking expanded in Southern Nevada, it inspired other areas of the Desert Southwest Conference to step up and get involved. It is well documented that children and teens are sold into sexual slavery during big sporting events. Since the Super Bowl was held in Phoenix in 2015, we had a great opportunity to publicize the issue in Arizona and even across the country. The UMC was in the forefront again as we worked with community leaders, and ecumenical groups to create a walk against sex trafficking around the area of the stadium during the weekend festivities. The press again was involved as various leaders, both lay and religious, spoke, but the most touching moment was when two victims came forward to share their stories.
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. Also, each child as well as the volunteers were given a certificate upon the completion of the class. On the last day of the program, members of Mt Zion provided a full course hot meal to all the kids who attended & graduated! They had a blast!
This is a wonderful program idea for the upcoming summer of our children. Submitted by Mrs. Lynn White, CME liaison, Arkansas Region
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!
The Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty Task Force contacted the office of the State Superintendent of Education to assist in identifying schools to receive these funds. The office identified three schools based on their reading scores, state and federal priority lists, and amount of state and federal funding they currently received. Three schools were contacted that they had been selected to receive $7665.28 to be used for books and their media centers. The principals were speechless when told of the gift. Each school is nestled in rural South Carolina with 98% of the children on free and reduced lunches.