Petition 80202

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Rural Chaplains (80202-GM-R9999)

Adopt the following resolution:

Ministries of Rural Chaplains
    Whereas the General Conference since 1996 has affirmed the ministries of Rural Chaplains and the Rural Chaplains Association, and called on the United Methodist Church to pursue Rural Chaplaincy as a significant means of enabling renewal in town/villages and rural churches and communities throughout the world; and
Whereas, the Rural Chaplains Association now has more than 100 active members (women, men, laity and clergy, United Methodist and ecumenical), including several persons from the international community; especially Russia, and  
Whereas, the Rural Chaplains are lay and clergy persons who have sensed the call to live in, work with, and advocate for town and rural persons, families, congregations, and communities; and  
Whereas, special emphasis is placed on responses to hate and violence, and advocacy for justice issues among all people, regardless of ethnicity, gender, age, or economic status; and
Whereas Rural Chaplains meet annually for support, encouragement, resourcing, and enrichment by means of workshops/focus events which explore biblical understandings and focus on person-related Chaplaincy-type skills as well as understanding issues of food production and multi-national economics that impact family farmers and farm workers, the growth of ethnic/migrant and other new populations, emerging challenges of forestry, fisheries, and other industries such as small manufacturing enterprises and prisons, changing patterns of land use and control, and struggles over environmental issues, global warming, water quality, and hazardous waste disposal; and  
Whereas, each quadrennium the annual meeting and focus event is held in an international setting in order to continue developing international/global linkages by exposing participants to the cultural, economic, political, ecological and religious lives of people,
Whereas Rural Chaplains work with other prophetic persons/groups on the local level who are committed to long-term involvement aimed at developing local and outside resources that enhance the lives of rural congregations and communities; and
Whereas the Rural Chaplains Association greatly empowers the development of lay leadership, serves as a vital means of recognizing the gifts and graces of rural peoples, and unleashes new possibilities for God's Spirit to move across the countryside; and,  
        Whereas, Rural Chaplains will be an asset in the implementation of the National Comprehensive Plan for Town and Country Ministries approved by General Conference of 2000; and,
        Therefore, be it resolved that Rural Chaplains continue being recognized as a special type of mission personnel of the General Board of Global Ministries for town and rural settings; and  
        Be it further resolved, that the United Methodist Church commend and reaffirm its commitment to Rural Chaplains as the Rural Chaplains Association continues its work nationally, internationally, and ecumenically with lay and clergy, many of whom carry out their ministries under trying conditions and in difficult places; and  
    Be it further resolved, in particular that the General Board of Global Ministries be encouraged to continue support of the Rural Chaplains Association in the future.