At the time of completing this collaborative write up on August 26, 2020 to promote and campaign for Children’s Ministry in the connection of all churches in our California-Nevada Conference, we join the many hearts in sadness and pain in the continued shooting of Black Americans by the law enforcement agents such as the case of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He was shot seven (7) times at the driver’s door of his car witnessed by his very young children ages 3, 5 and 8. We invite you to think about the trauma that the three young children are going through.
We also join in protest against this human rights violation. We need to have a collective voice in explaining to our young children that they are our priority in our church and community life as we practice the Three Simple Rules passed on to us by John Wesley: Do no harm Do good. Stay in love with God. This is the character of God in Jesus.
Jesus said, “Allow the children to come to me. Don’t forbid them, because God’s kingdom belongs to people like these children” (Mark 10:14, CEB). Jesus made children a priority in his kingdom-of-God movement. The mission strategy for the California-Nevada Annual Conference is making ministry with children a priority too.
The newly formed Children’s Ministry Task Force, one of the three (3) Ministry Areas of the Conference Committee on Young People’s Ministry is announcing the launch of its Arouse Awareness Campaign in this time of COVID-19 pandemic. The Task Force wants the churches of the conference to see the children inside and outside their congregations, and to think creatively and lovingly about how to be in ministry with them. And, as with all things, the best way to begin is with prayer. Starting on September 3rd and continuing through January 7th, there will be a Prayer Challenge of the Week for Children as we seek the assistance of our Office of Communications through the Instant Connection.
Plan for Weekly Prayer Challenge for Children
God calls us to live and be in community with one another. Let us be awakened with the cries of our children. Assemble us and spring us into action to pray together. “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” (Acts 1:14)
Together, we’re inviting the California-Nevada Conference family that we will pray fervently for ALL children. This is the plan:
Week 1: Back to school trauma and stress during this pandemic
- For children to understand that they won’t be able to see their friends and teachers at school yet
- For children with limited space to be able to run around and play.
- For children with limited materials and play structures to help develop their fine and large motor skills
- For children who depend upon school meals
- For children with special education needs
- For the children without a computer, without internet and for children who will face difficult learning environments
Week 2: Trauma and stress because of COVID-19
- Children infected by COVID-19.
- Children who know someone dealing with COVID-19
- Children whose parents are front liners.
- Children being abused due to shelter in place and more time at home
Week 3: Trauma and stress because of natural disasters
- For children who lost their homes because of the fire in the East Bay (Solano and Contra Costa District)
- For children who were hurt, who lost their homes because of the 6.6 magnitude earthquake in Masbate, Philippines
- For children who are displaced because of hurricanes, tornadoes, storms, thunder and lightnings that caused wildfires.
Week 4: Homelessness and Hunger
- For homeless children to find a shelter to stay and be provided with food.
- For children living on the streets. In Manila, between 250,000 and 1 million children live in the streets. They need protection, education, a safe place to stay and be provided with food. Most children living in the streets became victims of rape and child trafficking
Week 5: Nonimmigrant children
- For children to have an opportunity for education, meals, health benefits.
Week 6: Migrants camp at the Mexico border
- For children living in the tents under the Matamoros bridge which connects the United States and Mexico. They need a chance for asylum and an opportunity to have better and safer lives.
- For children seeking help while waiting- supplies of water, Pedialyte, children’s multi vitamins, diapers, infant formula and wipes.
Week 7: Racism
- For children of color who are being treated differently and with discrimination because of the color of their skin.
Week 8: Children in our church and our community
- For children who need support and are missing the opportunity of socializing and learning with their friends in person through Sunday School and Vacation Bible School.
Week 9: Children who are displaced
- For children in Palestine who are losing and those who have lost their home and lands because of Israeli occupation
- For children who have been separated from their parents and are detained in facilities with very poor condition, who come from Central America and were seeking political asylum but have been denied due to “ZERO TOLERANCE “policy of the incumbent president of the United States of America.
Other prayer concerns for children are very much welcome as the Prayer Launch continues on.
One of Growing Young Cohort’s Core Commitments is “PRIORITIZE YOUNG PEOPLE (and families) EVERYWHERE
” Our newly created Task Force on Children’s Ministry is inviting our California-Nevada Conference to “PRIORITIZE CHILDREN (and families) EVERYWHERE.
” (italics our own)
Rev. Catharine Morris is appointed at Dixon UMC and serving as Chair of the Task Force of Children’s Ministry
Ellen Dizon is a Deaconess and a pre-school Teacher and is serving as a member of the Task Force.
Fel Cao is the Director of Camping and Retreat Ministries and Young People’s Ministry
From the book, Growing Young Cohort, (Baker Books: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2016) page 196.