|Advancing Hope With 60 Years of Giving|
by Barbara Wheeler*
Fort Worth, Texas, April 28, 2008--United Methodists celebrated the 60th anniversary of their designated mission giving unit at their General Conference.
For the past 60 years, The Advance for Christ and His Church has received more than $1.2 billion and has responded to human need in more than 100 countries. One hundred percent of each gift to The Advance reaches its intended mission or ministry.
Empowering Women, Children, and Families in Bolivia
Justa Mamani spoke to the assembly about the Women's Enrichment Program (Advance #07779A). "I want you to know today that the donations you give through The Advance sustain my life and my family," said Ms. Mamani.
The program, part of the Methodist Women's Federation of Bolivia and the Bolivian Methodist Church, empowers women, children, and families by promoting health, nutrition, literacy, and self-esteem. Ms. Mamani explained that indigenous people have suffered discrimination for 50 years but, because of contributions through The Advance, indigenous women have been able to work for justice.
"We make blankets, shawls, and other goods to sell in order to feed our children and send them to school," Ms. Mamani said. She helped to organize women in her community to weave items, including bags that were given to bishops and delegates at General Conference as a gift from The Advance.
Items made by Bolivian women are also being sold in the international market that is part of The Advance's display at General Conference.
Caring for Patients in Sierra Leone
Janet Yema Bio, a midwife at Kissy Hospital (Advance #14536A) in Freetown, Sierra Leone, said, "We continue to have a reputation as a hospital that takes care of its patients."
Kissy Hospital serves pregnant women, evaluating their conditions, testing them for HIV/AIDS, providing prenatal care, and prescribing treatment for illnesses. Sometimes the hospital gives referrals, but women don't want to go elsewhere. Ms. Bio said that women usually say: "I'm not going anywhere else. I'm going to deliver here."
At a press conference following the plenary presentation, Shawn Bakker, director of The Advance, said the hospital is training women nurses to go into more remote areas to provide care, extending the work of this project.
Giving in Response to Human Need
"Our giving has always been in response to human need," said Bishop Larry Goodpaster, resident bishop of Alabama-West Florida Conference and president-designate of the Council of Bishops. He also serves as a director of Global Ministries and vice-chair of The Advance committee. "That's what we've been doing for 60 years. Now we want to build better relationships with projects and donors. We would like to have 100 percent of United Methodist churches giving to The Advance, and we plan to get there."
The Advance was established in 1948 to support the great need of those who had suffered from the devastation of World War II.
Launching a New Logo and Website
As The Advance celebrates its 60th anniversary, it is also launching a new logo and a new website, www.advancinghope.org, and creating an updated list of Advance-supported projects. An informational video on The Advance is available at the new website.
Features planned for 2009 will include online listings, descriptions, and searching capabilities of all Advance-supported projects.
*Barbara Wheeler is editor of Response, the official magazine of United Methodist Women.
Date posted: Apr 28, 2008