2019: A year in review
2019 has been a long year. The year began with a monthlong shutdown of the U.S. federal government, causing millions of Americans to miss paychecks. Through it all, our faith in Jesus Christ empowered us to seek justice and pursue peace.
Advent message from the general secretary
In the darkness of Advent, the light of hope, peace, joy and love breaks in. 2019 has been a long year. The year began with a monthlong shutdown of the U.S. federal government, causing millions of Americans to miss paychecks. And yet, during the Advent season we pause to look for the light in the darkness. These gifts of hope, faith, joy, and love nourish and sustain us in our work and in our lives as disciples.
Peace with justice
Pursing peace is a core part of the work of being Christian. As followers of the Prince of Peace, we strive to end war and build peace rooted in reconciliation and justice. Church and Society’s peace with justice ministry focused on four legislative priorities in 2019:
- Ending U.S. funding of the Saudi-backed war in Yemen.
- Repealing the Iraq Authorization for Military Force, which has been used to support U.S. military involvement in military actions outside Iraq.
- Requiring congressional approval for any military activities in Iran.
- Cut U.S. military spending.
Ministry with the poor
Since 2008, The United Methodist Church has encouraged ministry efforts at all levels of the Church to focus engagement around four areas: global health, leadership development, new worshipping communities and ministry with the poor. Ministry With the Poor efforts are as diverse as the root causes of poverty. On this journey, we have heard stories of United Methodists building ministries that:
- Address generational poverty.
- Bridge gaps in the education system.
- Seek justice for citizens returning from the correctional system.
- Provide legal aid and additional assistance to immigrants and refugees.
- Pursue peace from violence in their communities.
- Accompany survivors of trauma.
- Walk with those impacted by substance abuse.
Our work in immigration and migration justice in 2019 creatively engaged multiple topics, ranging from U.S. refugee admissions to ending child detention. We continued to use established modes of advocacy, like faith leader advocacy days on Capitol Hill and grassroots actions.
We also developed new tactics, such as an event that combined a film screening, panel discussion and a congressional advocacy day. We sponsored a concert series that highlighted migrants. We also solicited letters and drawings from throughout the U.S. and United Methodist laity and clergy from the Washington, D.C. area hand delivered the notes to the writers’ members of Congress.
United Methodists continue to advocate for access to affordable, equitable, quality health care for all. Although less high-profile than in years past, efforts continue to rollback protections, undermine implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and restrict access to health care services. Even now, as the US Congress debates a year-end spending bill, we are working to support critical programs that serve low-income, Native American, and vulnerable communities.
2019 was a year when we witnessed an ever-growing disconnect between what the climate science is telling us, the devastating realities of extreme weather, the growing movement of youth and people of faith demanding action, and the lack of leadership by U.S. and global leaders.
The Lower Drug Costs Now Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week thanks to the phone calls of people like you. The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate. This effort to lower drug costs and expand access to affordable quality care will save lives and bring us closer to our vision of affordable, equitable, and quality health care for all.