Because God First Loved Us
United Methodist Women Schools of Christian Mission Commitment to Action
1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear.”
Today we are living in a critical, defining moment. We are experiencing a time of unprecedented economic, environmental and military crisis. Political decisions are being made now that will negatively affect women, children and youth – including school closures, lay-offs and cuts in health services, including responses to violence against women.
More than half of the women in Sudan are illiterate, as are three out of 10 men. Despite efforts that have increased the number of children receiving basic education, many remain out of school. One in 12 mothers is at risk of dying from maternal causes. The infant mortality rate is 150 per 1,000 live born babies and one out of four children never reaches five years of age. In some areas immunization coverage is close to only 10 percent.
Twenty percent of the world’s population accounts for 76 percent of private consumption of things like electricity, paper, meat, fish and vehicle usage. Twelve percent of the world’s population uses 85 percent of its water, and these 12 percent do not live in the Global South. Those with the least amount of access to the world’s resources are women and children.
The percentage of public schools where more than three quarters of students are eligible for free or reduced price lunch – a key indicator of poverty – has increased in the past decade, and children at these schools are less likely to attend college or be taught by teachers with advanced degrees.
Three out of four domestic violence shelters (77 percent) report an increase in women seeking assistance from abuse and 51 percent of shelters nationwide note the abuse is more violent now than before the economic downturn. (Link opens a PDF)
As women are cut from welfare roles, hunger and poverty for women and children are increasing. Use of food stamps rose 40 percent in the last two years, as has the number of families seeking homeless shelters.
One third of the children of undocumented immigrants live in poverty, nearly double the rate of children of U.S.-born parents. As of 2008 there were 4 million U.S.-born children with undocumented parents – 73 percent of the children of unauthorized parents are citizens.
In at least two states, Michigan and Ohio, African-American unemployment rates are expected to exceed 20 percent in 2010. Blacks and Latinos are 2.9 and 2.7 times as likely, respectively, to live in poverty than whites.
Call to Mission
United Methodist Women’s 2010-2011 mission study on mission and evangelism, Joy to the World: Mission in the Age of Global Christianity, has put forward three biblical models for mission in this age of global Christianity:
- Proclaim the gospel to the world;
- Witness through love and holiness;
- Be inclusive through healing and receiving.
As we think about mission today and our responsibility as people of faith, United Methodist Women members need to be bold and engage in public conversations about these current crises starting from a place of love and speaking to and for policies that will have positive affects on women, children and youth in our community, our nation and our world.
As you prepare for these conversations, ask what concrete actions individuals and communities can take to express love for God, love for one another, and love for the earth.
Share your public witness by signing the attached Commitment to Action and return it to your United Methodist Women Conference Mission Coordinator for Social Action.
Post your experience to www.umwonline.net.