AC 2009 offering: Children in Crisis-Mexico
The tender heart and trained mind of Memphis Conference episcopal leader Dick Wills remembers his early years in lower southeastern Texas near Brownsville. The plight of latino/latina children there and across the nearby border into the Matamoros area of Mexico remains a part of his Christian experience.
Visits in recent years with his counterpart in the Conferencia Annual Oriental (Eastern Mexico Conference of the United Methodist Church) have quickened those concerns.
Bishop Garcia and Bishop Wills have signed a “pacto” (covenant) to exchange clergy, delegates, mission teams and other forms of assistance and outreach.
Bishop Wills reviewed the Annual Conference offering requests from both the Memphis and the Tennessee Conferences and chose the “Children in Crisis-Mexico” for both regions of the episcopal area. He then asked Dr. Joe Geary, Superintendent of the Paris District, to give leadership in developing an ongoing covenant relationship between the Memphis Conference and our sister Mexican conference.
The offering received at this year’s Memphis Annual Conference will go towards school uniforms and supplies, construction of church buildings, and medical outreach–all benefiting children in crisis.
Every church in the Memphis Conference is asked to calculate its average worship attendance and multiply that by $1.00. For example, if a church has 63 persons as average worship attendance, the goal for that church would be to bring at least $63.00 to the May 31 Sunday evening worship service at Annual Conference. A sacrificial gift might equal $1.00 for the total number of members in each church.
Delegates should bring a check with them made out to the Memphis Annual Conference - UMC and designated for “Children in Crisis- Mexico.”
A small Volunteer in Mission delegation from our conference, headed by Dr. Geary, will visit the Matamoros area in June. They will meet the regional VIM leader, Willie Berman, and the District Superintendent, Roberto Gomez. The delegation will stay at the El Buen Pastor Metodista Iglesia (The Good Shepherd United Methodist Church). Relational and logistical planning will take place.
A follow-up work team will visit the area in late December and early January of 2010.
Speaking of the special conference appeal, Dr. Geary said, “Much of the world requires a uniform in order to attend school. This becomes a barrier to education for the least and the last among us. Many in West Tennessee and Western Kentucky remember the pride and privilege we experienced in going to school for the first time in our new clothes. Imagine others being able to attend but our parents telling us we cannot because we lack the proper clothing. Now imagine removing that barrier for our impoverished neighbors to the south and allowing the gift of education and the opportunities that will bring.
“Your gifts will furnish school uniforms, school supplies and other humanitarian assistance to children,” he said.
In Matthew 25, Jesus said “I was ill-clothed and you gave me clothing.” Let us respond to this appeal as a matter of faith and compassion.
For more information, contact Dr. Geary at 731-642-9215 or e-mail email@example.com. •