Children & Poverty

Building on a vision expressed in The Bishops' Initiative on Children and Poverty, the Conference Committee on Children and Poverty will encourage and challenge congregations to be in ministry with children and the poor.
In addition to other funds the Committee shall administer the Estelle D. Wyman Memorial Children's Fund for ministries with children and the pursuit of justice, safety and health for all children.



Circles Breaks the Poverty Cycle!

Today 22% of our children live in poverty. Join the Circles Movement!

The Circles approach involves congregations in joining with others in the community to walk with the poor in an effective journey out of poverty. Participants in the Circles Initiative work with struggling families and working poor in identifying and addressing the conditions that hold poverty in place, and finding and implementing ways out. The families undergo a 20-week training which introduces them to values, work ethic, and educational achievement that will help them to advance. Each family becomes the center of a "Circle" that consists of the family and three-to-four "allies." Allies, people who know "how to get things done," work with the Circle for usually 18-24 months. The Circle allies provide coaching, opportunities for networking, references, and other forms of assistance to Circle Leaders and their families. As the "Circle Leaders," each family sets its own goals according to its unique needs and circumstances. Working toward these goals allows them to develop the emotional, financial, intellectual, and spiritual resources necessary for self-sufficiency.

First United Methodist Church of Carson City (Nevada) joined the Circles program in 2009, as one of the first pilot programs in the country. This congregation, largely made up of middle class people, no longer just does things for the poor, but the people actually befriend and walk with poor families in their struggle to break the cycle of poverty.

Ministry with the poor is one of four current United Methodist Church "Areas of Focus," or priorities. Because the Circles approach is proving to be one of the most effective approaches to ending poverty, the General Conference and the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church are promoting Circles as a key future direction for churches to be engaged with the poor in their communities. Using Circles, your congregation can provide life-skill training, networks, relationships, and mutual problem solving to break the cycle of generational poverty.

To start a Circles Movement program in your church, visit the Circles Movement website here.

For more information, or contact the Rev. Rob Jennings-Teats, pastor of First UMC of Carson City at or 775-882-1436.

Godly Play

The Godly Play Foundation is a non-profit educational organization whose purpose is to provide research, teacher training and quality consulting while nourishing the spiritual and moral development of children aged two to twelve.

Executive Director of The Godly Play Foundation, Rebecca McClain explains, "Godly Play teaches children the art of using religious language - parable, sacred story, silence and liturgical action - helping them become more fully aware of the mystery of God's presence in their lives. Deeply spiritual and highly creative, Godly Play is also used in schools, hospitals, homeless shelters, and retirement centers."
For more information about The Godly Play Foundation, visit their website at:    

PICO National "Unlocking the Power of People!"

PICO is a national network of more than 1,000 faith-based community organizations who are working together at a grassroots level, to create innovative solutions to problems facing urban, suburban and rural communities. Representing one million families in 150 cities and in 17 states, PICO has successfully increased access to health care, improved public schools, built affordable housing and much more.

Through PICO, congregations from different denominations, cultures and races are finding ways to translate their faith values into action by developing the talents of lay leaders, strengthening social ministry, weaving stronger relationships among members, reaching out to neighbors and speaking a stronger faith voice in the community.

"PICO brings people of faith together to strengthen families and revitalize communities."

For more information on PICO visit their website at:  


Resource to Minister to Children and Youth from Central and South America Entering US