Center for Missional Outreach News
UMCOR is working with its partners to respond quickly in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti
As the humanitarian assistance agency of Global Ministries and The United Methodist Church, UMCOR is responding to the Hurricane Matthew disaster in Haiti on several levels. UMCOR has now, and has had from since the 2010 earthquake, a field office in Haiti. Azim Akhtar, UMCOR Haiti’s Head of Mission is experienced in humanitarian assistance. He and the rest of the UMCOR Haiti staff are already at work responding to this current disaster through an UMCOR grant that will provide emergency water and food rations, cooking pots, and other emergency supplies as needed.
One of our primary partners in Haiti over the last six years has been EMH, the Eglise Methodist d’Haiti (Methodist Church of Haiti). Through UMCOR’s support, EMH has already begun to provide food to the survivors of the hurricane. In the coming weeks, UMCOR will continue to explore and develop with EMH additional humanitarian responses.
In response to this disaster, UMCOR will also be working with partners with whom we have worked in Haiti or in other locations around the world. The first partner in this category with whom we have already engaged after Hurricane Matthew is GlobalMedic, a renowned provider of water purification equipment and training. In the coming weeks, we will explore response options with this category of partners.
One of our important attributes of mission in The United Methodist Church is our fervent willingness to volunteer. Local volunteerism is key to connecting the church and the community. The Volunteers in Mission program provides opportunities for volunteers to assist with long-term development, building projects, medical missions, and other activities. Over 16,000 Early Response Team (ERT) volunteers have been trained and badged by UMCOR to respond to disasters in the U.S. In Haiti, volunteer teams from throughout the U.S. have helped build the infrastructure of the church there for decades.
Because of the strong commitment these partner churches and annual conferences have with specific churches, communities, and districts in Haiti, their hearts have been broken as they have watched reports of damage and loss in the communities to which they have given so much time, energy, and resources. Because of this commitment, many of these partners have selflessly declared their willingness to go now to Haiti to assess damage and discover how they can help.
While this level of dedication is admirable, UMCOR is strongly advising that such groups wait until Haiti has fully transitioned from the relief phase to the recovery phase. After the survivors’ basic human needs have been met and people are beginning to resume their lives, requests for volunteer teams would be fitting. In the meantime, visits by teams, even individuals or small teams, would run the risk of doing more harm than good. Well-intentioned volunteers generally and unknowingly take energy and resources from host organizations which they would otherwise use to manage or support humanitarian assistance activities. From a support and logistics standpoint, volunteering in the U.S. is very different from volunteering in other countries. Finally, one of the side benefits of many disaster response activities is that local people are hired and materials, as much as possible are procured locally. For the reasons stated above, and because we have full confidence in our staff on the ground, visiting Haiti at this time would be inappropriate.
When recovery projects for volunteers become appropriate and available, UMVIM teams will be informed through the jurisdictional VIM Coordinators, under the guidance of Una Jones, Global Ministries’ Director of Mission Volunteers. Until then, UMCOR will honor the interest of these groups in the development of Haiti by providing them with occasional conference call briefings and regular briefing sheets. Jim Gulley, a longstanding advocate for Haiti, and a member of the UMCOR staff will be sharing this information with partners, as needed. International Programs Program Manager Terry Mukuka will compile this information based on regular calls to. Jim is based in the U.S. and serves as UMCOR’s primary liaison to EMH. Lauren James, based in Haiti, will assist the EMH team by guiding them in the implementation of various humanitarian assistance activities.
International Disaster Response Program Manager Laurie Felder will fine tune grant proposals and work to coach partners as needed to help improve their projects and otherwise teach in best practices of humanitarian assistance.
Those wishing to support these efforts in Haiti, and UMCOR’s other efforts to respond to disasters globally, may give to International Disaster Response Advance, #982450. All who care about the people of Haiti are encouraged to give generously, wait patiently to serve, and most importantly, to pray.
The Zip Code Connection is excited about a new project that began on October 1, 2016, in Clarksville, Texas, designed to spur economic growth. The city’s Economic Development Council is partnering with the Zip Code Connection on a three-year project to contract with Communities Unlimited, a firm that specializes in small-town, rural economic development. The contract includes working with the EDC and other residents to form a Community Sustainability Team to oversee the activities, as well as providing direct support for current businesses and new business start-ups in the community.
Communities Unlimited will also offer CDFI funding as capital for business development. We anticipate being able to train United Methodist church members with professional and business experience and expertise as volunteers in this partnership.
JFON-DFW Board of Directors are pleased to announce Graham Bateman as the new Staff Attorney. Graham has a lot to offer the Dallas/Fort Worth area and is excited to get started.
Graham has done similar work with the Central Louisiana Interfaith Immigration Clinic (CLIIC). She brings experience working with thirteen parishes in rural and Hispanic populations.
Graham says, "I provided direct legal representation to indigent clients, engaged in education and outreach to the local immigrant communities, and worked with many community partners on key immigration topics. It was challenging and fulfilling to use my skills and education in the important mission of helping our immigrant neighbors."
Graham received her Juris Doctor degree from Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, in 1986. She has published several articles on immigration, as well as served as panelist, speaker, and organizer on multiple immigration issues.
Graham lives with her husband in Coppell, Texas.
Message from Rev. Edgar Bazan, Amigos Days Director
My work with Amigos Days has given me the opportunity to meet people outside the church: leaders in our communities and the city of Dallas. In these encounters and experiences, I have learned that there are emerging new leaders in our communities who want better for our cities because they know that we can do better. Better “what?” one may ask. Better neighborhoods, better standards of living, better education programs, and the eradication of poverty and homelessness.
Considering the magnitude of the challenges in each of these areas mentioned above, one may think that we are delusional, or at best day-dreaming if we think we can make a dent on these needs. However, we are actually making more than a dent. Here is how we are impacting others in need right now: 450 homes repaired as of today. This is a significant contribution to our communities. We feel blessed to be a part of the improvement of the lives of so many by helping repair their homes. This is a sacred work, for a home is sacred.
As someone who is continually looking ahead to what it could be, I believe that no matter how ludicrous these visions and dreams may seem, that although it is not easy, it is possible to achieve such visions of a better future for all. We can continue to make things better for all of us, for the people we know and for the stranger we meet when we step outside of our comforts.
We are in process of dreaming even in larger scales: “What is next?” we are asking ourselves as we discern how and where else the church can better lead. I personally ask this question in knowing that there are good people outside the church that also want to contribute to the well-being of others. Not necessarily because of faith, but because of our shared humanity. And it is in these learnings that I am discerning that every generation has this idea or feeling of being better, more capable, and sometimes even more progressive than the previous. I am inclined to believe that we as human beings are forward thinking by nature, which is what ultimately allows and empowers us to make dreams come true. I am seeing that today’s generation, both inside and outside the church, are passionate about bringing humanity together for the well-being of each other. This awareness is causing us to consider how to build new bridges with new people to do more together.
Can the church lead?
Can we find ourselves linking arms with others to provide for each other, our children and leave a better today for tomorrow?
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to love and serve our neighbor and each other. So the answer is not whether we can, but if we will.
In the spirit of Dr. King, Jr., I have a dream, too. This is a dream of not leaving anyone behind. A dream of images, pictures, flashes into the future of a church where we get closer to each other and provide for each other’s needs and success. This a dream of beautiful opportunities waiting to be unearthed as we come together through new partnerships. Yes, we can make things possible, and it feels like a wonderful dream that is unfolding before us. In fact, I believe we are truly living in a dream, one that is continuously fueled and extended by the best class of people we meet, people that are fighters and dreamers, a new generation of leaders, just like us. You have and will continue to have the opportunity to make things better for those with whom you shared this city.
We must ask ourselves: will we be part of the solutions that are happening all around us?
We have a unique opportunity just as every generation before us had, to lead with those are leading. These people may be the very same people sitting in our pews week after week, but have yet to make the connection of faith with the possibility of applying that same faith to the kind of work that makes tangible transformation beyond the walls of the church, like Amigos Days.
One of the main foes to face and overcome is one of complacent faith, one that is at rest, seated and quiet, confined to the walls of a church building. If you find yourself or others in such a state, take courage and pull yourself out of that cave. It is time stop sitting on our faith and keep it quiet. It is time to tell the good story of our faith through our witness, service and work for and with each other as we joined with others to reinforce the foundations that lead to healthy and strong communities. The tasks are many, seemingly insurmountable; but it is there, where our future lays, where the opportunities for growth, and new identity are promising, where the church leads everywhere with compassion and dignity for all. We can’t wait for tomorrow, we can’t afford any longer to ignore it, we must accept our destiny for it is today when is to be found.
I know that I am preaching, and I intentionally do so. Allow me one more time to preach: let’s march to the beat of our hearts, as powerful as one thousand tongues in tune; let’s hear the music of within, the one that makes us good and kind; let’s continue our dream-working for the successful development and growth of our beautiful churches, neighborhoods, and cities.
Is this your calling, too?
Join Amigos Days because we are leading forward, and we have this dream of helping make dwelling places better for our neighbors in our city. Let’s continue this work. Let’s invite and include others to join so our dreams may continue to be those of our communities. And let’s hear and see our neighbors’ dreams too, so we can commit to each other, trust each other, and work for each other to find solutions together for our challenges.
This is our greater good, our way to be collectively impactful in every possible and positive way we can. For this church and city, is no longer just our dad’s and mom’s, but ours to steward.
The General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church extends our prayers and compassion to all those who are affected by the Zika virus around the world.
While we affirm and respect the advice of the medical and scientific community, our faith compels us to pair that advice with our call to justice. Most of the current medical information on Zika prevention presumes that people most vulnerable to Zika have the ability to stay away from Zika affected areas and Zika affected persons, purchase mosquito repellents and can afford suitable clothing, and avoid taking care of a family member who is infected. It presumes an audience which can control its own sexual expression and make its own reproductive decisions. A majority of the world’s population is not able to take these measures. Lack of access to resources for prevention of mosquitos’ bites such as air conditioned homes, and proven methods to delay pregnancies renders large populations vulnerable to the Zika virus. Social and religious barriers and unmet needs of family planning makes it impossible for women to avoid pregnancies even during the Zika virus outbreak.
Therefore, we call upon the world community and the world’s leaders to commit energy and resources so that all God’s children – regardless of means or resources – have access to preventive measures and care.
Governments and Medical Research Institutions
We call upon
- Policy makers to put political ideologies and partisan tensions aside and prioritize a quick and effective response to the Zika virus.
- Governments and international bodies to allocate resources for Zika virus prevention, management, and research for treatment and vaccine development.
- Governmental and non-governmental organizations to attack the prevalence of Zika around the world to eliminate it at its source, including efforts to control mosquitos.
- Researchers to assist in identifying conditions to which local communities can apply low-cost resources to reduce the incidence of Zika and the mosquitos that carry it.
- The world’s leaders and governments to increase the availability of contraceptive methods by which pregnancy can be avoided, to include barrier methods such as condoms which can also prevent transmission of the virus between humans.
- Research institutions to develop treatment measures.
- The world’s leaders and governments to make available resources that can assure couples of the health of the fetus and free the woman from carrying a pregnancy to term that may not survive.
- Governments to provide financial and social support to families that will have the responsibility of raising a child with microcephaly.
We call on
- Faith communities to support families and communities affected by the Zika virus with prayers, care giving and resource mobilization.
- The world’s religious and social leaders to challenge and transform cultures of male-dominated societies in which women do not have a say in when, how, and with whom to have sexual relations. We call attention to The United Methodist Church’s longstanding affirmation that women and men are “equal in every aspect of their common life.” (Social Principles, 162F)
- Attention to The United Methodist Church’s longstanding support for “comprehensive reproductive health/family planning information and services that will serve as a means to prevent unplanned pregnancies, reduce abortions, and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.” (Social Principles, 162V)
- We are heartened that even a leader of a faith community traditionally opposed to contraception – Pope Francis – has suggested that contraception may be morally acceptable to delay pregnancy when faced with Zika. (Washington Post, February 18, 2016).
- We urge the faith community to hold governments accountable to establishing effective and timely Zika virus response.
We know that the response of our world leaders to the Zika virus outbreak challenge can be a message of hope, and we call upon them to make it a reality. We call upon United Methodists to live fully into our social teaching on health and wholeness (Resolution 3202), and to this end, we commit our own prayers and energy.
The General Board of Church and Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. The board is called to seek the implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements of the General Conference on Christian social concerns.
Turkeys, Toys and Time!
Wilkinson Center in Dallas, Texas, has some major fall projects this year and needs volunteers to make them happen. The center is looking for "Turkeys, Toys and Time" this year. Please consider donating a Thanksgiving basket to the Arcadia Park Adult Education site or toys to the annual toy distribution or volunteer your time at the food pantry.
To sign up to donate your turkeys, toys or time or help with a food drive, please contact:
Adrienne O’Connor, Wilkinson Center Volunteer Coordinator
972-284-0301 or Adrienne_Oconnor@Wilkinsoncenter.org
The goal of the Wilkinson Center is to distribute 300 turkey baskets to students at Arcadia Park Annex this Thanksgiving.
What is in a Turkey Basket?
- Basket/Container for the food. Be festive and creative. Let the basket/container that holds the food reflect your holiday traditions. This is sharing your family with another family.
- Either a turkey or ham with all the sides (canned vegetables, canned cranberry, rolls and pie).
Arcadia Park DistributionNovember 16, 2016
12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
Arcadia Park Annex
911 N. Morocco
Dallas, TX 75211
Food Pantry DistributionsNovember 21 and November 22, 2016
1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
Wilkson Center Food Pantry
3402 N. Buckner Blvd. Suite, 302
Dallas, TX 75228
Each year Wilkinson Center provides toys to hundreds of children. Clients will shop for toys while children make crafts and volunteers wrap gifts. Please donate new, unwrapped toys to Wilkinson Center by December 12, 2016.
Toy DistributionSaturday, December 17, 2016
Eastminster Presbyterian Church
6550 Samuell Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75228
Shift 1: 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Shift 2: 1:00 p.m-3:00 p.m.
Donate your time to Wilkinson Center food pantry. They are in need of volunteers to help clients shop for food in the pantry. Without volunteers, clients will have a longer wait time and the Center won’t have hands to stock shelves. Volunteers help make the experience at the pantry wonderful.
- Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. are the most urgent volunteer needs.
Help "Scare Away Hunger" during October 2016 with a food drive. Wilkinson Center is looking for canned meat, canned fruit and boxed Macaroni and Cheese.
Bishop Michael McKee of the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church shared a joint statement from the United Methodist bishops of Texas. The statement follows:
September 23, 2016
As bishops of The United Methodist Church in Texas we join with other faith leaders in our state to encourage Governor Greg Abbott to seek a pathway that will affirm the worth of all humankind.
As Christians and as Texans our values are grounded in respect and hospitality toward newcomers. Those values lead us to welcome refugees to our state. We recognize that these are difficult and complex times, but as Christians, we rely on Jesus Christ to overcome our fear of those who may be different.
The United Methodist Church in our Social Principles states, “We recognize, embrace, and affirm all persons, regardless of country of origin, as members of the family of God … We urge the Church and society to recognize the gifts, contributions, and struggles of those who are immigrants and to advocate for justice for all.”
We ask for God’s blessing on those who will step in to serve in the absence of our state’s participation in the resettlement effort, for they are truly being the hands and feet of Christ.
ERT Training by UMCOR
Saturday, November 12, 2016
8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
The United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR) is offering a class training individuals to be part of an Early Response Team on Saturday, November 12, 2016, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Trietsch Memorial United Methodist Church. This class will provide you with the basic information you need about Early Response Teams.
Early Response Teams (ERTs) fill a specific need in the early days after a disaster to clean out flood-damaged homes, remove debris, place tarps on homes, and otherwise help to prevent further damage, while providing a caring Christian presence.
ERTs are not a first-response group of emergency workers, nor are they recovery, rebuild, or repair teams. Under very specific guidelines, ERTs assist survivors, without causing further harm or being a burden to the affected community.
All ERT members are trained by authorized UMCOR trainers, and are given identification badges as evidence of successful completion of the basic class.
MINISTRY SAFE REQUIREMENTS
A background check and Ministry Safe certification is required for all participants. Once completed, download the "Ministry Safe Verification Form" from this website. The form must be signed by your church's ministry safe administrator. Bring this form with you and give it to your instructor.