And Jesus took the children up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them. - Mark 10:16

From Cain’s unanswered question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9), to Jesus’ greatest commandment “to love our neighbor as we love ourselves” (Matt. 22:40), our Holy Scriptures leave no doubt that our faith is about care for others as much as it is about our relationship with God. In fact, nothing is more clear in Scripture than the teaching that we cannot love God without loving God’s children, who are our neighbors.

In Jesus’ ministry, the least powerful and the most rejected were the first to be assured that they were precious in God’s sight. Among the least powerful in our modern society are our children. We confess that we have not “loved our neighbor as we have loved ourselves, “ and too often we have made choices that do not serve the best interests of the entire community and state in which we live.

The Book of Resolutions reminds us that

“The public school is the primary route for most children into full participation in our economic, political, and community life. As a consequence of inequities in our society, we have a moral responsibility to support, strengthen, and reform public schools. They have been, and continue to be, both an avenue of opportunity and a major cohesive force in our society, a society becoming daily more diverse racially, culturally, and religiously.”[1]

Because the Scripture makes clear that there is no such thing as “someone else’s children”, we consider the children for whom we advocate as our children. We commit to fighting for all children and teachers’ rights to abundant life in the same way that we would advocate for our own flesh and blood. All too often, our leaders have left unfulfilled their duty to protect and uplift all children, opting instead to play politics with the institution which affects them the most – our public schools.   Our state’s children and teachers need people of faith to work for education policies which are fair and just recognizing that through these policies we fulfill the mandate of our faith and live into the fullness of the kingdom of God.

United Methodist Christians have been, since our earliest Wesleyan roots, committed to providing a good education for children in our communities. United Methodists are often the first to respond to meet basic human needs, and the pain of children touches our hearts.   United Methodist Advocates for Public Schools (UMAPS) are concerned Christians who believe that the good and faithful work of relieving the effects of poverty, racism, and sexism must be aligned with work to change the policies and structures that allow such suffering to endure. On behalf of North Carolina’s children we are working to:

 

Act Justly…Our Faith Demands It.


[1] http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/public-education-and-the-church