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Foundations - 2001
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The Council of Bishops’ Episcopal Initiative on Children and Poverty is discontinued as of December 31, 2004. The Bishops are continuing children and poverty as an emphasis in their Council life and residential area leadership. This website will be continued until new material is developed or until August 1, 2005. A listing of resources which are available can be seen by going to RESOURCES 2005.

Please note, a new addition to this website – the Spanish Language Edition of the Congregational Study Guide “Community with Children and the Poor” the Spanish version can be printed from the website without charge. This study guide (64 pages) is available in English and can be ordered in a print format only from Cokesbury 800-672-1789 item #516543 usd$8.00


"Our Shared Dream - The Beloved Community" is the third foundation statement of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church for the Bishops' Initiative on Children and Poverty.  This statement was adopted by the Bishops in November 2003.  It builds upon the first two statements which are also available on this website.

"Our Shared Dream - The Beloved Community" will be available in Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, and Korean in the near future."
 


In 1996, the Council of Bishops called upon The United Methodist Church to reshape its life in response to the crisis among children and the impoverished and in faithfulness to Jesus Christ. In the 2001 Biblical and Theological Foundations document sent to every United Methodist congregation, the Bishops outlined goals for their Initiative on Children and Poverty for 2001-2004:

  • The crisis among children and the impoverished and our theological and historical mandates  demand more than additional programs or emphases. Nothing less than the reshaping of The United Methodists Church in response to the God who is among "the least of these" is required.
  • Providing resources or understanding the crisis among children and the impoverished and enabling the Church to respond is also a goal of the Initiative.
  • The primary goal is evangelization, the proclamation in word and deed of the gospel of God's redeeming reconciling and transforming grace in Jesus Christ to and with the children and those oppressed by poverty.

As one response to the Bishops' Initiative on Children and Poverty, congregations are invited to undertake specific actions to make their churches more responsive to the needs of children and their families in the church and community, This packet contains resources (checklist, guidelines, resource list, and reporting form) to assist churches that want to qualify as "A Church for All God's Children." 

The decision to participate in this effort should be made by the Church Council, and coordination assigned either to an already-established committee of the church or to a task force appointed for this specific purpose. See the Guidelines sheet for more detailed instructions and suggestions.

There are many other ways your church can respond to the challenge of the Bishops' Initiative on Children and Poverty. Making your church more child-friendly and hospitable to poor families through the use of this Checklist is one way. Remember that the focus of the Initiative, in the closing words of the Bishops' foundation document, "... is on communicating and living the gospel of Jesus Christ with all children and intentionally reaching out to impoverished persons as recipients and means of God's grace in Jesus Christ,"

The illustrations in this packet are used with permission from God and Me: Never Alone, a collection of prayers and drawings by the children of the Mississippi Annual Conference.