How To Use This Issue (October 2017)

Caring for God's Creation Photo

Participants in a May 16 vigil for environmental justice at the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Oregon on #umwday. Sponsored by United Methodist Women, the vigil focused especially on struggles for clean water around the world. (Photo by Mark Terwilliger.)

Hardly a day goes by that we don’t hear about the various ways our environment is being threatened by pollution or global warming, both human-made conditions that we can correct. In recent decades, we’ve made tremendous progress toward cleaning up our act: recycling is now a common practice, and increasingly we’re talking about our carbon footprint—our habits and practices that impact the earth—and devising ways to reduce it.

Yet when we find ourselves up against naysayers who don’t believe scientific fact, or budget cuts that reduce or eliminate climate research or our current presidential administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, it’s enough to make even the most ardent environmental warriors among us weary and despairing. But we cannot give up. There’s no turning back because too much is at stake.
Retired United Methodist Bishop C. Joseph Sprague reminds us to stay the course in our Bible study “Hope Is the Thing” on pages 8 to 13. He likens today’s environmental justice movement to the civil rights movement of the 1960s: It requires “hope-filled, tough minds that will teach, confront, organize, debate and nonviolently resist.” Let’s start by addressing environmental assaults close to home. As a group, research industries and practices in your community and state that cause the most environmental harm and learn how you can advocate for better practices. Learn also about new renewable energy efforts and occupations that are changing the job sector and the way we consume energy for the better.

“Courageous” and “transformative” is how Carol Van Gorp describes United Methodist Women international mission partner Operation Hope in Nairobi. Her article, “Giving Hope,” on pages 19 to 21, tells how this community-based organization supports women and helps them thrive.

Scott’s Run Settlement House, a United Methodist Women-supported national mission institution, has assisted the needy since it opened in 1922 and has always maintained a food pantry. In “A Center of the Community” on pages 22 to 25, Richard Lord reports on how Scott’s Run has evolved with the times, remaining vital to the many it serves.

Our cover story “Opportunity for Action in Peru,” on pages 26 to 33, is about Proceso Kairos Peru, a Mission Giving-supported organization with fresh and progressive approaches for teaching women to become change agents in their communities.
As participants in United Methodist Women’s New Generations for Climate Justice program in 2016, Kayleigh Vickers, Kirsten Rumsey, Cassie Garcia and Kelly Schafer bonded over the issue of clean water access. Now as recipients of United Methodist Women’s Theressa Hoover Grant, they’re embarking on a three-state study on causes of unclean water. Learn more about their project in “The Unthinkable Undrinkable” on pages 36 to 37.

Don’t miss the opportunity to become a faith leader! Join us for Leadership Development Days in St. Louis, Missouri (November 10-12), or Tempe, Arizona (November 17-19). The deadline for registration is early this month: October 6. For more information, visit or call (212) 870-3769.

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