United Methodist mission agency commits $100,000 to Sudan
by Linda Bloom
Expressing continuing concern about the people of Sudan, the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries has designated $100,000 to assist with the humanitarian crisis there.
The board's relief agency, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, also has dispatched an assessment team to the region of Darfur in western Sudan. Jennifer Poitras and Ali Aamoum, international relief and development professionals, arrived Oct. 21 in Khartoum and will spend three weeks exploring how to expand UMCOR's involvement in delivering aid.
In a conflict that has been labeled as genocide by some, more than 1.2 million people have been driven from their homes in the Darfur region since 2003, and as many as 70,000 have died.
The Rev. R. Randy Day, chief executive of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, said the information and statistics being gathered about the situation in Sudan have not resulted in sufficient political action.
He told United Methodist News Service he hopes the $100,000 grant can be used "to really focus the denomination, more than it is at present, on the crisis there."
Taken from the agency's program development fund at Day's request, the money was approved by board directors at the October annual meeting and will support programs that promote child protection, income generation for women and safe returns to rebuilt villages.
United Methodist donations already have supported UMCOR assistance in the region. Currently, the agency is working with an international ecumenical alliance in Chad refugee camps holding 130,000 Sudanese.
Gifts can be designated to UMCOR Advance No. 184385, "Sudan Emergency." Checks can be dropped in church collection plates or mailed directly to UMCOR at 475 Riverside Dr., Room 330, New York, NY 10115. Credit-card donations can be made, toll free, by calling (800) 554-8583.
Other grants approved through the program development fund in October also have a focus on children or on people immersed in crisis or just emerging from crisis, Day said.
Those grants include:
*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.
Date posted: Oct 29, 2004