FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Kim Jenne, Director of Connectional Ministries
Mission, Service and Justice Team Partners with Kingdom House in Addressing Issues of Injustice
COLUMBIA, Mo. – April 27, 2017 – The Office of Mission, Service and Justice announced a partnership with Kingdom House in St. Louis to assist local churches in understanding issues of injustice in their communities.
A designated gift from the Brown Trust allowed the Conference’s Mission, Service and Justice (MSJ) team to channel $50,000 toward efforts targeted at equipping local churches to lead their congregations in increasing awareness of and responding to social justice issues in their community.
“Poverty is an issue that all of our communities face regardless of geography – rural, urban or suburban,” said Jennifer Long, chairperson of the MSJ team. “We are excited that Kingdom House’s Urban Forum program can provide our local churches with a learning experience that will have a direct application to addressing issues in their own communities. In addition, Kingdom House offers an onsite immersion experience.”
Members of the Conference team participated in Urban Forum’s short-term service learning immersion program in January. In March, the group met to discuss the terms of the partnership and how the relationship could help facilitate learning around contextualized social justice concerns throughout the state. Through education, the MSJ team hopes to equip local churches with resources for continued learning as well as personal and social action to effect change in their home communities.
The partnership with the Missouri Conference will include the purchase of tablets that will provide access to resources geared toward social justice education, including an online poverty simulation. Those resources, combined with appropriate accompanying curriculum, will provide local church small groups with the opportunity to gain a better understanding of what poor and marginalized individuals and communities experience and how to become agents of change in their local community. These experiences are facilitated by Kingdom House staff and offer opportunities for deeper thinking and reflection, thus aiding participants in better understanding of how issues of injustice impact their community and the world around them.
“I’m excited our MSJ team is addressing one of the major concerns expressed by both clergy and laity in our conference: ‘how do we begin to approach the poverty concerns of our community?’” said Rev. Tina L. Harris, the incoming Director of the Office of Mission, Service and Justice.
The Urban Forum programming is twofold. Option one is a traveling education/reflection program for groups (such as small faith sharing or other church groups) that comes to your church or site. Option two is held at Kingdom House and offers lodging, service projects, and education/reflection opportunities for groups interested in the on-site, immersion, mission trip/experience.
To learn more about the Urban Forum program or to utilize the resources made available through the partnership between the Office of Mission, Service and Justice, please contact Dan Richter at Kingdom House at 314-627-1233 or Conference questions, contact Dora Thackery at 573-441-1770.
The United Methodist Church in Missouri is made up of 790 local churches, approximately 1,000 retired and active clergy and 80,000 weekly worshippers. To find a United Methodist Church near you, go to www.find-a-church.org. For more information about the United Methodist Church in Missouri, visit www.moumethodist.org.
The Urban Forum at Kingdom House provides professional guidance in social justice education through immersive service learning. For more than 100 years, Kingdom House has provided critical social services to the poorest of the poor in St. Louis. Learn more at www.kingdomhouse.org.