Friday, March 18, 2011

A Letter from Bishop Jeremiah Park

Bishop Jeremiah Park.
 Photo: GBGM

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer, the Prince of shalom, Healer of our brokenness, and Hope of the world!

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan that occurred a few days ago was of historic proportion and has resulted in the death of thousands of persons with thousands more missing. The numbers are sure to rise. Unknown as yet is the full impact that this calamity will have on the amount of radiation emitted into the atmosphere from nuclear power plants. Truly, our hearts are heavy with sorrow and grief. Accordingly, I call upon all New York Conference United Methodists to pray fervently for the people of Japan, for those most directly affected, and for those who are part of the efforts to bring relief to this suffering country.

I am heartened to know that our United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has been in touch from the earliest hours with our mission partner churches and church-related agencies in Japan. Most all of our work there is done in conjunction with ecumenical partners including the United Church of Christ in Japan, the Korean Christian Church in Japan and the National Christian Council in Japan. While the new Wesley Center in Tokyo, related to the United Methodist Women, was not damaged and is serving as a homeless shelter, the Asian Rural Institute, north of Tokyo, where we train persons from Asia and Africa in sustainable agriculture, sustained considerable damage. We can be sure that whatever we will eventually do will bear the love of Jesus Christ in tangible expressions and that we will be there as long as we are needed.

It is my fervent desire that our churches receive an offering for UMCOR and its work in Japan. One hundred per cent of all monies received will go to this effort.

Having just returned from a week in Haiti, I can testify once again first hand as to the healing and hope that our gifts make when channeled through UMCOR. UMCOR is, indeed, United Methodism at its very best.

I pray for all a continued blessed and holy season of Lent.

In Christ,

Jeremiah J. Park

By Bishop Jeremiah J. Park, New York Annual Conference.  View original blog posting here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

An Occasional Word: by Bishop Crutchfield

Each year, between 350 and 500 million people are infected with malaria. Ninety percent of them are in sub-Saharan Africa. Photo: UMCOR

Dear Friends:

These are only some of the facts.

I am not a fast reader, but in the two minutes it takes me to read aloud these “occasional words,” four children will die of malaria.

Each year, between 350 and 500 million people are infected with malaria. Ninety percent of them are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Each year, more than a million people die from malaria, and many more are incapacitated for varying periods of time.

The most startling fact is that if we are committed to putting our money where our mouths are, we can make malaria a memory in our lifetimes. If we work at it with passion, it can be essentially eradicated by 2015.

While we have been very fortunate to have essentially eliminated malaria in the U.S. (there are only a handful of cases each year), still it is a disease that knows no national identity, no racial, ethnic, gender, age or economic boundaries. Did you know that George Clooney, the award winning actor, recently contracted malaria while filming a documentary in Sudan?

The United Methodist Church has joined in a global alliance with a wide variety of foundations and global health partners to work toward the eradication of malaria in the next few years. The General Conference of  2008 stepped out in faith and declared that we as a church would raise $75 million over the next several years to do our part.

No apportionment dollars have been allocated toward this goal. It will depend on the efforts of local churches if this is to transpire.

Our continuing work through UMCOR and our efforts with our global partners involve not only providing mosquito nets for families, they also involve public health training, increased efforts to eliminate standing water, associated water projects, treatment facilities and medications. All of this accompanies our continuing work on a spiritual level as we respond to mind, body and spirit.

In areas where the governments of malaria-ridden countries are unable to respond, the church is already present. We have a network of laity and pastors ready and able to carry the heavy burden. We simply need to step up and give them the tools.
 Other information on this page can help you tell the story. There will be suggestions about how you can be personally involved. You might even throw a party....

In the name of Jesus Christ, for the sake of all God’s children, we can be world-transforming.


Charles Crutchfield

by Bishop Charles Crutchfield, The Arkansas Annual Conference ~March 4, 2011
Read his original blog posting here.