Women’s Division Acts for Peace, Child Health Care, Just Immigration
by YVETTE MOORE*
Directors of the Women's Division of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries called for peace in the Middle East, universal health care for U.S. children and justice for immigrants in the United States at their April 20-23 meeting in Stamford, Conn.
An action entitled, "Steps Toward a Just Middle East Peace," called for study of the issue, outreach to families of military personnel serving in the Middle East, and recognition of women who are working for peace on Mother's Day. It also endorsed activities promoting International Day in Support of Torture Survivors June 26: see www.tassc.org.
Division directors voted to endorse "The World Says No to Israeli Occupation" mobilization and rally June 10-11 in Washington, D.C.
Directors cited Scripture as the basis of their actions for Middle East peace, including 1 John 4:20-21, which states:
Those who say "I love God," and hate their brothers or sisters are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from God is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.
Directors voted to join the Healthy Child Campaign: Covering All Children in 2007 spearheaded by the Washington, D.C.-based Children's Defense Fund. The campaign advocates health-care coverage for children uninsured because they fall in the gap between the Medicaid program that covers children in poverty and the State Children's Health Insurance Plan, known as S-CHIP. This federally funded program covers children in families with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, equivalent to $41,300 for a family of four in 2007.
S-CHIP is up for reauthorization by Congress this year. The campaign aims to expand it so all children are insured. Before voting to join the campaign, directors viewed videotaped testimonies of parents struggling with health-care bureaucracy to get coverage for their ill children.
Scriptural bases of the action include:
• Galatians 6:2:
Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
• Philippians 2:1-4:
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.
In action on immigration, Women's Division directors endorsed the Liberty and Justice for All Campaign launched by the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. The campaign calls on United Methodist Women members to act in defense of the civil liberties of immigrants in the United States.
Approval of the campaign is part of a division-wide emphasis on immigrant civil rights that began a year ago. It includes Bible studies, educational workshops and advocacy efforts. Directors cited as the basis for the action Leviticus 19:33-34:
When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. …
Other actions approved by directors included:
• The theme for United Methodist Women's 2011 spiritual-growth study theme: "Living Sacramentally and Walking Justly." The study will focus on calling and John Wesley's two-fold thrust on personal holiness and spiritual holiness.
• Approval of the 2008 Reading Program book list, which will be released in September.
*Yvette Moore is an executive secretary for communications for the Women's Division.