Mercury-Poisoning Rally Draws Parents, United Methodist Women Members
Members and leaders of United Methodist Women joined the “Simpsonwood Remembered Rally” planned by grassroots organizations protesting the use of mercury preservatives in vaccines and drugs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta in early June.
by BARBARA WHEELER*
Members and leaders of United Methodist Women joined parents of mercury-poisoned children to call for a ban on mercury-containing vaccines and drugs at a rally at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta in early June.
The rally was organized by two grassroots organizations -- Moms Against Mercury and the Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs (CoMeD) -- to mark the seventh anniversary of secret meetings held by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at Simpsonwood Retreat Center in nearby Norcross, Ga. At those meetings, representatives from the pharmaceutical industry and CDC officials discussed adverse effects of the mercury-preservative Thimerosal, which is used in vaccines and drugs.
Some of the participants in the rally had just come from "The Truth is Coming to Light," an awareness-raising event on the effects of mercury-containing pharmaceuticals sponsored by the Women's Division, June 6-7.
The Rev. Lisa Sykes, a United Methodist clergywoman from Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church, holds a photograph of her mercury-poisoned son, Wesley, during the “Simpsonwood Remembered Rally” planned by grassroots organizations protesting the use of mercury preservatives in vaccines and drugs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta in early June.
Gina Bateman of New Berlin, N.Y., attended the rally with photographs of her three mercury-poisoned sons who on various points of the spectrum of developmental disorders caused by mercury toxicity. Ms. Bateman is part of an educational organization focused on issues of mercury toxicity that meets at First United Methodist Church in Oneonta, N.Y.
At the rally, the Rev. Lisa Sykes, a clergywoman in Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church, held a photograph of her son, Wesley, who was mercury-poisoned. She said the cooperation of parents and United Methodist Women on this issue reminded her of Matthew 11:29 when Jesus says:
"Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
Janet Rusin and Janeen Herskovitz, mother and daughter members of United Methodist Women at Grace United Methodist Church in St. Augustine, Fla., attended "The Truth is Coming to Light" event and the rally. Ms. Herskovitz's 9-year-old son is autistic.
Jennifer Krekeler, mother of a 2-year-old son with asperger's syndrome, and a member of a moms' group at Centreville United Methodist Church in Centreville, Va., held a sign that read: "I will tell my church what you have done."
*Barbara Wheeler is an executive secretary for communications for the Women's Division of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries.