UMW GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2014
It’s what I think of first, when I reflect on UMW Assembly 2014:
“Until all are fed we cry out!
Until all on earth have bread.
Like the One who loves us each and every one,
We serve until all are fed.”
I hear 7000-plus women singing in unison of voice, spirit and soul.
And, truly, that’s what Assembly was all about—and what United Methodist Women is all about: serving until there is justice for all.
My dear, dear sisters. There is still so much injustice in this world, but through our almost 150 years we have made giant changes all over the globe, and we still are making very positive changes… and we must continue until all on earth have justice.
Let me give you an overview of just some of the offerings.
The Film Festival included:
Chasing Ice and Gasland (environmental justice)
The Raising of America and Behind the Kitchen Door (economic justice)
I Believe You: Faith’s Response to Intimate Partner Justice (domestic violence)
Welcome to Shelbyville and Harvest of Empire (immigration)
Herman’s House; Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?; Waking in Oak Creek (racial justice)
Not My Life (human trafficking) was also one of the offerings. I watched this film, and found it a powerful documentary on trafficking. WE CANNOT CONTINUE TO TOLERATE THIS GHASTLY SLAVERY! A $32 billion industry that de-humanizes children and young women! $32 billion made on the backs and in the beds of enslaved people!!
I refer you to the websites for Not My Life. Type “Not My Life film” in your browser and choose a site. There are numerous links relating to the film. I URGE—BEG you to watch the youtube presentation of the film’s trailer…and then perhaps the whole film. I have ordered the DVD and will make it available to you.
In his response to the trafficking situation, Kofi Annan said something like this: “Human trafficking is a moral affront to me! I have to consider, Who am I?” And that’s really the basic question for every single one of us: Do I see that this business is a moral affront to ME? Can I ignore such a situation and be true to the Christ in me?
The Workshop Menu included literally dozens of topics. A very short list follows:
Birthing a Healthy World: The Church’s Role in Improving Maternal and Reproductive Health
Caring for Our Elderly Parents
Challenging the Culture of Violence in the United States
The Christian Consumer: Living Ethically in a Material World
Linking Service with Justice Advocacy in Your Community
“Making Judgments”: Skills for Conflict Resolution and Deep Communication
Migration Is a Global Concern
Politics Is Personal
Walking the Talk: Putting Justice and Joy, Spirit and Sustainability into All of Our Meetings
Why Justice in Palestine Is a Racial Justice Imperative
I attended the sessions on Justice in Palestine, Politics Is Personal, and Social Justice as a Spiritual Pursuit: Living Lives of Radical Welcome.
Justice in Palestine
From the Geneva Convention: The occupying power must ensure food and medical supplies of occupied population. The occupying power shall agree to relief offered to population. The occupying power cannot contaminate water or land. (Israel has defied all three.)
Israel’s avowed approach is to “put Palestinians on diet, but not severe enough that they die of hunger.”
From David Wildman, executive secretary for Human Rights & Racial Justice with the United Methodist Church's General Board of Global Ministries: The situation in Israel/ Palestine is a question of human rights, about land and rights. It’s not a matter of who’s good or bad. The ministry is to erode injustice. In a fight between elephants, all the grass gets trampled.
The US has been a stumbling block in UN efforts to bring about change regarding South Africa and Palestine, vetoing sanctions against both countries.
Three philosophies of political regimes are colonialism, apartheid, and foreign occupation.
Clearly stated policies and laws reveal racial discrimination is at the heart of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. There are too many instances to enumerate. Check it out on-line, through reliable sources..
Approaches we can take to change the situation: Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS).
Politics Is Personal
Politics are how we order our society, express our faith.
Justice/Mishpat (Hebrew) was established by God to counter any power that is organized against justice or when powerful are favored.
The duty of politics is to establish justice in sinful world. -- Reinhold Niebuhr
Political action seeks to uplift and empower; speaks to the system, not just immediate condition; involves partnerships; is ongoing and challenging.
Social Justice as a Spiritual Pursuit
The first migration was when God’s Spirit moved over the face of the earth.
At the point of action, one becomes real.
Anything I do, I force Christ to do with me.
Social justice is justice in terms of distribution of wealth, opportunities and privileges within a society.
Any relationship is Trinitarian. Read Taking the War out of Our Words by Sharon Ellison.
The secret of a spiritual life is to go to the “other.”
Hillary Clinton, keynote speech
From a UMC family background, Hillary Clinton spoke to us with the theme: Jesus said to disciples, “Don’t send them away. YOU feed them!”
From Martin Luther King, Jr.: We are all in an inescapable network of mutuality.
To get an idea of the slavery involved in what YOU own, go on-line to slaveryfootprint.org.