How to Use This Issue (November 2016)

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So Much Trouble in the World” is the title of a song by reggae great Bob Marley. Lately, it has been playing in my head a lot. That’s because every time I hear a tragic news report and think, “What else could possibly happen?” inevitably something worse occurs.

Bomb attacks, like mass shootings, are something we contend with. Unethical practices by the heads of banking and pharmaceutical companies put the financial and physical well-being of many at risk. The police killings of unarmed black men across the country have become a regular occurrence. Rampant xenophobia is making the plight of migrants and refugees particularly precarious. And the list goes on, leaving me feeling a bit overwhelmed and anxious.

So much trouble in the world can easily be considered a lament on the state of things, but it can also be a call to action. Acknowledge the problems, and then address them—but don’t go it alone. Form community. This issue of response is a reminder of what can be accomplished when we work together as God’s community.

In the Bible study “Love As God Loves: Building the Beloved Community,” Carol Barton recounts the plight of migrants and refugees devalued based on circumstances out of their control. She reminds us that as followers of Christ that we cannot adhere to negative stereotypes—we must love others as we love God. Thanksgiving is a time when we think of those less fortunate, donating to food pantries and volunteering to serve community dinners. What other ways can you bring God’s love to those in need?

The young women of Limitless are learning about the power of God’s community. In “Young United Methodist Women Stay Strong in Christ,” Limitless members and mentors from South Carolina share what they get out of being a part of the dynamic organization and their hopes for its future. Another group of young United Methodist Women are becoming environmental activists as members of the New Generation Climate Justice Pilot Program 2016. Read “New Generations for Climate Justice” to find out what they are learning and how they are connecting with others.

United Methodist Women is part of the global community of women working on behalf of women. This past September United Methodist Women participated in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, an annual meeting to promote women’s rights and empowerment and gender equality. Anissa New-Walker shares her experience at this powerful summit in “Empowering Women.”

Finally, in “Care on the Margins” Nile Sprague reports on the very necessary health services International Child Care is providing for children and women in Haiti. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and is still recovering from the devastating earthquake of 2010 and more recently Hurricane Matthew, with a death toll still counting at the time of this writing. As we keep our mission and missionaries in our prayers, let us be especially mindful of the hardships that Haiti continues to endure.

This Thanksgiving, as we gather with family and friends and give thanks for our blessings large and small, let’s think about the enduring ways in which we can continue to put faith, hope and love into action.

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