Thursday, January 1, 2015


This handout is again prepared for two columns, on a letter-size sheet of paper, back-to-back. Of course, it will work with one column, back-to-back, but it takes more paper, obviously! You may get more information on both topics from GBGM website. Free, downloadable resource, perfect for bulletin inserts, study discussions: Faith & Facts Card: Human Trafficking available at GBGM website. Follow UMC efforts in text-cloud; click on “human trafficking.”

Human Relations provides offering envelopes and aids for publicizing the observance.



Jan. 18--Human Relations Day

A symposium on the role of religion and faith-based organizations in international affairs will be held Wednesday, Jan. 21, at the UMW’s Church Center for the United Nations. Inaugural theme of the one-day event is “Human Dignity & Human Rights.”
The purpose of the symposium is to have frank discussions on the theory and practice of human dignity and human rights, with a view to formulating concrete proposals as a contribution to the work of faith-based groups and U.N. and multilateral organizations.
The symposium will focus on the intersections of human dignity, human rights and religion in international affairs, including freedom of religion or belief. It will offer a venue for faith-based groups and international organizations to explore ways of working together in addressing new and emerging challenges.
The symposium will attempt to discern on critical issues relevant to the life of humanity, such as sustainable development, freedom, peace and security.
Study of critical issues now close and real directs our attention to the refugee situation in the U.S. While The United Methodist Church does not engage in partisan politics, we stand with immigrant families and the sojourners in our midst. This is a biblical mandate and a reflection of God’s hospitality and love for all of us.

Our United Methodist congregations can help in this manifestation of human need. We can assist immigrant families with the cost of the legal processes. We can support and accompany immigrants through the legal process so they are treated fairly. We can educate our congregations and continue to welcome immigrants to our communities and churches.


Jan. 11--Human Trafficking
Awareness Day

Human trafficking is a violation of human and civil rights that enslaves thousands of people across the globe.  The United States’ Trafficking Victims Protection Act defines “severe forms of trafficking in persons” as :
a. sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or
b. the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
In 2012, the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that there could be 20.9 million victims worldwide in what the State Department defines as human trafficking.  In 2011, only 42,291 victims of human trafficking were identified worldwide. The ILO also estimated that women and girls make up 55% of forced labor victims, and 98% of sex trafficking victims.
(Trafficking in Persons Report June 2012, U.S. Department of State)
As United Methodists, * we proclaim faith in the God of freedom and condemn slavery as wrong and incompatible with Christ’s teachings. * We recognize that we are called to follow Christ in proclaiming release to the captives and setting the oppressed free (Luke 4:16-19). * We affirm that each person is of equal value in the sight of God and will work to create communities in which each person’s value is recognized, maintained, and strengthened. * We affirm God’s abundant grace for everyone and strive to embody this grace toward all involved, both those trafficked and those who are trafficking.

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