Member Takes Action on Children’s Issue
by BARBARA WHEELER*
Moved to raise awareness in her church and community about mercury-containing vaccines and drugs, United Methodist Women member Nancy Potts of Haddonfield, N.J., organized a program for her local church.
Last June, Ms. Potts attended the United Methodist Women-sponsored event, “The Truth is Coming to Light,” in Norcross, Ga. The event was held to raise awareness about mercury-containing vaccines and other drugs. Presenters at the event included scientists, physicians, parents and an attorney who advocate for the removal of mercury compounds, including the mercury-preservative Thimerosal, from vaccines and drugs.
In February, Ms. Potts arranged for a program on the issue as part of her local United Methodist Women unit’s monthly luncheon. About 50 people attended the program, including Women’s Division executive, Julie Taylor.
Ms. Potts invited the Rev. Lisa Sykes, a clergy member of Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church and parent of a mercury-poisoned child, to speak at the program. Ms. Sykes worked with the Women's Division to organize the educational event last year.
Ms. Potts said people attending the presentation were surprised by what they heard.
“Having the church sponsor this gives an assurance that the truth will come forward,” she said.
Ms. Potts’ almost 7-year-old son, William, is autistic, a condition she links to mercury-containing vaccines.
She received support from her local United Methodist Women unit and its Helen Kim circle to attend the event in Norcross. Ms. Potts feels validated by United Methodist Women’s action and awareness-raising on this issue. She met other United Methodist Women members and mothers at the event whose children are affected by developmental disorders such as autism that they attribute to mercury poisoning.
“This isn’t just a children’s issue, but an issue for everyone,” Ms. Potts said.
She said she wanted to organize the program because of the intense effect the information she learned at The Truth is Coming to Light event. “Hearing the testimonies of doctors, researchers, lawyers and parents there was profound,” Ms. Potts said. “After hearing their “AHA!” moments, I wanted to share what I learned.”
Three annual conferences in the United Methodist Church -- Virginia, Kansas East and Western North Carolina -- have passed resolutions opposing mercury-containing vaccines and drugs. These resolutions resemble the resolution passed by the Women’s Division Board of Directors that calls for:
- Prioritizing mercury-free stocks of vaccines and other pharmaceutical products for pregnant women, newborns and children,
- Providing informed consent for individuals about mercury exposure through their vaccines and drugs, and
- Banning any mercury compound in pharmaceutical products or vaccines prescribed or over-the-counter unless the presence of mercury compound has been proven clinically to have no adverse effects.