The New York Conference has accepted the challenge to join in the denomination’s global initiative, “Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children.” The health initiative that was kicked off at the 2016 General Conference by the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) builds on the success of Imagine No Malaria.
Abundant Health makes five promises to children: to ensure safe births, promote breastfeeding and nutrition, prevent childhood killer diseases, encourage treatment-seeking behaviors and provide treatment and lifesaving commodities.
The goal of reaching 1 million children with lifesaving interventions by 2020 is focused on communities, primarily in Africa, with high child mortality rates from preventable causes. In particular, the campaign will support efforts of faith-based partners in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Mozambique and Sierra Leone, as well as Haiti. In addition to volunteer time, GBGM is committing $10 million in medications, supplies, and commodities and $30 million to partners working in rural and underserved communities.
But U.S. church members will also play an important role.
“In the U.S., we’re calling on as many churches as possible to help us participate in global health work by addressing congregational health issues and reaching beyond the congregation to the community,” said Dr. Olusimbo Ige,Executive Director of GBGM's Global Health program. The goal is to engage at least 10,000 U.S. churches in promoting physical activity, healthy diet and nutrition, education for tobacco- and drug-free living, and mental health education.
Create an Abundant Health "Expo"
A series of Abundant Health "Expos" are being planned throughout the NYAC and the Metropolitan District recently launched the first "Expo" on Saturday May 6, 2017. A variety of activities for body, mind, and spirit including how to create healthy snacks, fitness exercise, singing, children’s activities, yoga, senior ministries, mental health programs and community gardening opportunities were offered. The "Expo" at New Rochelle UMC, was a very successful event and follow up activities are being planned.
Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children” is affiliated with the United Nations program, “Every Woman Every Child: The Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent’s Health.” The campaign’s name and theme, Abundant Health, is taken from the Gospel of John 10:10 “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly,” according to Thomas Kemper, General Secretary of GBGM.
The United Methodist Church’s accomplishments in its Imagine No Malaria campaign led to this new partnership with the United Nations.
“Being a faith-based organization engaged in the public conversation about Global Health has given us a seat at many international health tables, ” Kemper said.
Commit to the 10,000 Church Challenge
Sign up to be one of at least 10,000 churches to develop support systems for children’s health. Churches can contribute locally to the health of children in their communities, as well as to the health of children around the world.
Make A Promise to Support Child Health in Your Congregation and Community
Assess your current programs to see how you can better serve children in your community and improve their health. You can build on current programs, creating partnerships or start something new. Here are a few suggestions for children’s health:
- Physical activity
- Spiritual formation activities
- Healthy diet and nutrition
- Tobacco and drug-free living
- Mental health education and promotion
- See the list of suggested activities in each of these four areas, in which your congregation can engage.
Give to Abundant Health Projects Around the World
The Global Health unit gives grants to assist local churches, districts and annual conferences to develop and sustain ministries of health, healing and wholeness to children around the world. Gifts support Abundant Health projects in six countries.
- To donate to support children health needs globally see the gift catalogue .
- Give to the Global Health Advance #3021770.
Use available Resources
Materials available to promote or set up your campaign include:
- Abundant Health video, PowerPoint, poster, and infographic
- Personal health assessment form
- Child nutrition guide
- Guide for physical activity for children
- Substance abuse prevention and children’s mental health.