Tuesday, November 24, 2015


This is a handout for these four topics. Copy, reformat for narrow margins, two columns, and print back-to-back.




So much tragedy has happened in our world in the last two/three months. Gun violence continues to take lives; earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes and wild fires have swept across the globe; and now terrorists have wreaked havoc in Paris, France, with threats going out everywhere. United Methodist Women serve in all these situations through our prayers and our gifts.


On Monday, November 8, I joined a nationwide telephone conference organized by Bill Mefford of GBCS. We heard Bishop Hoshibata from the Desert Southwest Conference tell how he has led his churches to address gun violence. Forty-nine of the Bishop’s 120+ churches have come together in strong affirmation of a three-session Bible study about the use of guns in committing violence. The study, “Kingdom Dreams, Violent Realities,” uses Micah 4:1-4 as its scriptural foundation.


The Bishop noted that the call to action should be to address general gun violence, not a specific issue. An example of what not to try to address would be gun-free zones. The point must be how to curb overall gun violence.


We heard also about the study regarding handgun purchasing (see www.taleoftwostates, which I have mentioned before) and the Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath to take place between December 10-14, in many UMC churches.


UMCOR needs help to provide winter kits for survivors of the earthquake in Pakistan. As always, to support international relief efforts you can contribute online to Advance #982450, International Disaster Response.


UMCOR’s mission statement reads: “Compelled by Christ to be a voice of conscience on behalf of the people called Methodist, UMCOR works globally to alleviate human suffering and advance hope and healing.” Our gifts enable this ministry.


I encourage you to read UMCOR’s November newsletter which addresses “natural disasters” and GBGM’s General Secretary, Thomas Kemper’s article on Grief, Dismay and Prayers for Peace in Wake of Paris Attacks. Another article tells how Austria, Vienna, has arranged to house some of the many refugees from Syria. Go to umcmission.org/Learn and review the list of articles.



“Activate Love. Transform the World. Change Lives.” This is the theme of UMC #Giving Tuesday which is December 1. This is the day when all gifts to UMC Advance projects are matched by GBGM. There are dozens—probably hundreds—of projects that you can support, including the one listed above. Go online to GBGM Advance or to UMC Mission

 and select the projects of your choice. You may also donate by phone to 1-800-554-8583.


And in our Thanksgiving prayers, let us join in Thomas Kemper’s prayer:


“God of mercy and justice, in the face of horrific violence in Paris, Beirut and war-torn cities around the world... For those whose lives are forever disrupted and changed by the violence in Paris and Beirut... For those who serve the injured, minister to the families of those killed and have the responsibility of determining responses to the attacks... For the people of France that they may find a sense of security and peace without closing their hearts and borders to Middle East refugees... For the refugees that they may find safety and welcome and not be turned away anywhere out of fear and distrust... For the perpetrators that their hearts may be transformed; that they disavow violence and become peacemakers reliant on you... For champions of peace that they will not succumb to fear but will remain devoted to peace through justice and compassion... and For strong United Methodist witness as instruments of justice and peace wherever there is violence, suffering, hatred, and fear... We ask all these petitions in the name of Christ, author of peace and maker of justice.”


And let all the people say “Amen.”









Social Action Nov. 2015



Friday, November 6, 2015


This handout is designed to be printed in the customary way: reformatted into two columns with narrow margins, printed back-to-back, and then cut vertically down the center. However, you may encounter some spacing problems at the top of the second column! I have no idea what is wrong. I've tried over and over again to fix it, but I cannot! It prints fine on my printer, but it looks wacky online. If you decide to use it, I hope you can fix it with little problem.




Remember the scripture, Isaiah 59:15-16a…

“Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands at a distance; for truth stumbles in the public square, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth is lacking, and whoever turns from evil is despoiled. The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, and was appalled that there was no one to intervene.”


From Bill Mefford, Director of Civil and Human Rights of the UMC’s General Board of Church and Society:

“I am not sure what I am more outraged by: Persecution of Christians or the silence of so many in the Church at the knowledge of such persecution.

“If we know of persecution and fail to speak out, what does that say about who we are?... The first two Sundays of November <were> set apart to remember and pray for <persecuted Christians around the world> through the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

“<We need> also <to> remember to pray for God to stop persecution and allow people of all faiths the freedom to worship and evangelize. 

“Remembering our persecuted sisters and brothers is always important and necessary, but the United Methodist General Conference, our denomination's highest policy-setting body, has made this a priority. It has repeatedly passed a resolution that states:


“Since The United Methodist Church opposes injustice, intolerance, and bigotry and believes in the power of prayer, we encourage United Methodist congregations to observe in November an

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. It is through our earnest prayers that we grow in our sense of unity with Christians around the world, as well as with all members of religious groups who endure persecution.” 

Although the special Sundays have passed, the need for prayer remains. Let us continue to intervene for those so persecuted.


Other tragedies and “natural” disasters continue in our world. Floods and earthquakes compound the misery of the poor and oppressed, and UMCOR—through our gifts—continues to minister in these situations.

And people who have endured years of war and despotism have been driven by desperation to leave their homes and search for better lives somewhere else. I, personally, cannot imagine a situation wherein I would simply pick up whatever belongings I could hope to carry on my person and, with children in hand, start walking—somewhere.

The logistical nightmare that such a migration has created is only the symptom; it is not the problem. Corruption in the seat of governments may be the problem—but the immediate crisis must be addressed.

From UMCOR: “Displaced people are among the least of our brothers and sisters and a reminder that we still live in a broken world. I hear much talk of donor fatigue and weariness over the seemingly unending conflict in Syria. We must remember that the hurt we feel as we see people fleeing their own lands is not a call for surrender or pity but, rather, a call to action.


“The forced movement of people is a manifestation of the brokenness of our world. Refugees, people who cross international borders, and internally displaced persons, those displaced in their own country, too often have to endure the most of failed diplomacy, unjust policies and injustice in relationships.”


As United Methodist Women, our call is to minister to people marginalized and abandoned by those charged with their care, and too often rejected by neighbors who are weary and overwhelmed by the immense human need. Give as you are led, but by all means pray—intervene with God on behalf of God’s people and God’s creation.