UMC agency gives Millions for agriculture, refugee programs

A pig looks out over the top of its enclosure during mealtime at the United Methodist Ganta Mission Station in Ganta, Liberia, in 2017. The pigs are sold for meat, and as breeder stock for churches looking to start their own pig-raising endeavors. Sustainable agriculture in Africa is the goal for a $2 million agricultural fund from Global Ministries honoring the late Bishop John K. Yambasu. File Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.
A pig looks out over the top of its enclosure during mealtime at the United Methodist Ganta Mission Station in Ganta, Liberia, in 2017. The pigs are sold for meat, and as breeder stock for churches looking to start their own pig-raising endeavors. Sustainable agriculture in Africa is the goal for a $2 million agricultural fund from Global Ministries honoring the late Bishop John K. Yambasu. File Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.
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Self-sustaining food production in Africa will get a $2 million boost after the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries allocated its largest new budget outlay in honor of the late Bishop John K. Yambasu.

Your support of the World Service Fund apportionment supports program-related general agencies, which are especially important to the common vision, mission, and ministry of The United Methodist Church.

Other major new allocations approved during virtual meetings March 24-26 include $1.1 million to aid asylum seekers in the U.S., $1 million to promote environmental causes and $750,000 to address global health issues.

United Methodists “cannot turn a blind eye” to injustice, said Bishop Joaquina Nhanala of Mozambique during a sermon the opening day of the meetings. Not responding to important issues would be like stating, “Jesus does not care,” she said.

Jose Antonio Marchas Novela recounts the threats of violence that caused him to flee Mexico with his wife, Irlanda Lizbeth Jimenez Rodriguez, and their 1-year-old son, Jose Antonio in 2018. The family took shelter at the Christ United Methodist Ministry Center in San Diego while seeking asylum. The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries has allocated $1.1 million to aid asylum seekers in the U.S. File photo by Mike DuBose, UM News 
Jose Antonio Marchas Novela recounts the threats of violence that caused him to flee Mexico with his wife, Irlanda Lizbeth Jimenez Rodriguez, and their 1-year-old son, Jose Antonio in 2018. The family took shelter at the Christ United Methodist Ministry Center in San Diego while seeking asylum. The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries has allocated $1.1 million to aid asylum seekers in the U.S. File photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

The theme of the spring board meeting, held virtually for the second time because of the coronavirus, was “Serving Faithfully Amid the Tensions.”

“Programs funded through the Bishop John K. Yambasu Agriculture Initiative seek to mobilize existing land and human resources within the church, build long-term community livelihoods and food security as well as support the empowerment and solvency of the local church.”

The $1 million in newly allocated support approved at the spring meeting will be used for financing renewable energy projects, supporting energy efficiency and renewable energy resources and other creation care initiatives.

A $1.1 million allocation will support the refugee and asylum programs of Church World Service, a cooperative ministry of Christian denominations that provides refugee assistance around the world.

 “We currently face an unprecedented challenge and opportunity to address critical issues facing … asylum seekers arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border,” said Erol Kekic, senior vice president of Church World Service, where he leads the Immigration and Refugee Program. “The urgency of the situation requires immediate action.”

Since the Biden administration rolled back the Trump-era policy of requiring all asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until their cases could be processed in the U.S., about 16,000 children have crossed the border without any family or guardians and are in U.S. custody, Kekic said.

“This is where urgency met the emergency,” Kekic said. “This creates a huge need for immediate assistance for those children and for assistance to those cities of their destination to help them have access just to legal proceedings.”

The Global Health unit of the agency requested and was approved to get an additional $750,000 on top of their already approved $3.1 million, to be used to cover budget shortfalls and help complete unfinished projects. The budget priority is nine primary health care facilities that are the first point of care for 80% of the population in 11 countries.

Midwife Marie Manga Dikoma uses a Pinard horn to listen to the heartbeat of Cecile Iatu's unborn baby at The United Methodist Church's Irambo Health Center in Bukavu, Congo, in 2015. The Global Health unit of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries will receive $750,000 to address health issues as part of the agency’s budget allocations approved during their spring meeting. File photo by Mike DuBose, UM News. 
Midwife Marie Manga Dikoma uses a Pinard horn to listen to the heartbeat of Cecile Iatu's unborn baby at The United Methodist Church's Irambo Health Center in Bukavu, Congo, in 2015. The Global Health unit of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries will receive $750,000 to address health issues as part of the agency’s budget allocations approved during their spring meeting. File photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

“What is a health care facility without clean water?” Griffith said. “We are aiming to establish water sanitation and hygiene in all the centers that we work in, for health and for dignity.”

The Global Ministries staff had more money to work with than they anticipated, after nearly a year of COVID-19 shutting down most Sunday services around the world.

“There will always be people who look at a child of God and instead of seeing the face of the Christ, will see flaws and failings and sins. There will be always people who choose to criticize, attack and condemn. Let us never be (that) kind of person.”

excerpt from a story by Jim Patterson is a UM News reporter in Nashville, Tennessee.

The World Service Fund provides basic financial support to program-related general agencies, which are especially important to the common vision, mission, and ministry of The United Methodist Church. Through World Service funding, agencies support annual conferences and local congregations in living out God’s mission for the worldwide Church. General agencies also provide essential services and ministries beyond the scope of individual local congregations and annual conferences through services and ministries that are highly focused, flexible, and capable of rapid response.