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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

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.

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 email 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.

Nov 2014: 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.

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.

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.

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.

Nov 2014: 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.

Apr 2016: 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.

Ian Saunders (child) standing at Kids In Distress entrance signNov 2012: On 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.

Jul 2015: 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.

Sep 2014:

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.

Apr 2015: 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.

Sep 2014: [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.

Mar 2011: Murray County (Georgia) Saturday Sacks began in the fall of 2008 when a group of educators and retired educators at the First United Methodist Church of Chatsworth gathered together to consider the needs of our schools and children.  Over 70% of the children in the Murray County School system are eligible for free or reduced lunches because of their household income. For many of these children, outside of the meals they receive during the school year, hunger is a reality they have to face on a daily basis. This lack of consistent nutrition is manifested in numerous ways, from lethargy, to aggressive behavior, to hording of food at school, not to mention the academic consequences. In response to this need, Chatsworth First United Methodist Church started a program called “Murray County Saturday Sacks.”

 

Ladies of the Cross L-R): Rhonda Whelchel, Raven Daniels, Dr. Michelle (Morris) Patterson, Cynthia Bailey, and Shirley Watson. Not pictured: Milton Whelchel and Katelyn WhelchelSep 2013: To improve the life for children, the unprivileged, and persons with physical and spiritual needs in the neighborhood around the church as well as in nearby communities, the Ladies of the Cross of Melvin Hill Christian Methodist Episcopal Church Carnesville, Georgia held its first Health and Spiritual Community Fair mission outreach this summer at the office of Dr. Michelle (Morris) Patterson in Commerce, GA. The theme, Giving to God’s People in Need, was the fair’s primary focus. Our group believes that GIVING should be done FREELY, a belief from which our theme derived. After all, the first FREE gift came from GOD. Pictured: Ladies of the Cross L-R): Rhonda Whelchel, Raven Daniels, Dr. Michelle (Morris) Patterson, Cynthia Bailey, and Shirley Watson. Not pictured: Milton Whelchel and Katelyn Whelchel.

July 2015: 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.

Mar 2011: Action Ministries, Inc. is a faith-based 501 (c) 3 organization serving Atlanta and north Georgia for over 50 years.  Action Ministries offers programs that assist in feeding, clothing, children’s services, emergency assistance, transitional housing for families with children and addiction recovery.  Our services are open to all who are in need.  Our mission of pulling people back from the brink of hunger, homelessness, and addiction... and equipping them to prosper is fulfilled by seven unique programs served and administered by the Action Ministries corporate office, including programs in Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Decatur, Gainesville, Rome and a Transitional Housing Program covering all of north Georgia.

 

Apr 2015: 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.

Dec 2015: 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.

Jan 2014: 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)

by Rev. Lyndy Zabel, Minnesota Conference (UMC) Campaign Liaison

minn-umcThe growing numbers of congregations serving children and reconnecting with their communities is a major movement in the United Methodist Church. Partnering a church family with a public school can be a rewarding experience that blesses students and brings new vitality to the faith of volunteers and the life of the church. There are currently fifty-two such partnerships in our conference. A school is a microcosm of the greater community. Parents everywhere care about their children’s education. Something powerful happens when a church and its members make a sustained, long-term commitment to a local school.

Mar 2011: 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.

June 2013: 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.

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.

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…

[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?

youth participants copyCreative life skills workshops and activities were developed for children and youth at the Carolina Region Annual Conference in Columbia. SC. Working with the theme Investing in the Community through our Youth, Dr. Debra Lowe as Director of the Board of Christian Education (BOCE), coordinated workshops and structured activities that provided educational and enriching experiences.

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.”

[Aug 2016] 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!

[Aug 2016] 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

[July 2015]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).

[Jan 2014] 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.

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!

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.

Sept 2016: 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.

[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.

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.

[Dec 2015]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.

[Aug 2015] 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.