Petition 80032

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Church Support of Caregivers of Children (80032-C2-R9999)

RESOLUTION REGARDING CHURCH SUPPORT OF CAREGIVERS OF CHILDREN
  WHEREAS, children are the most precious resource of our societies, but also the most vulnerable. Children need loving adult support to flourish. In turn, the adult caregivers of children need parenting support systems as well. Our churches, schools, societal groups, and governments help provide the support system children and their caregivers need.
WHEREAS, children are being raised in a variety of household structures headed by various caregivers.
WHEREAS, children of these various families are in many of our churches and schools. To flourish, they need a family support system that embraces their household’s structure.  
WHEREAS, some church programs assume a traditional mother/father two parent family. Consider the name of programs in a local church, such as “Mothers of Preschool Children”, “Mother’s Day Out”. Consider parenting classes or family development classes tailored to two parent households. Consider timing of parenting events that are only scheduled in the daytime, assuming one parent is available during the day. Are we providing resources and ministry to grandparent caregivers?  Single parents?  Others?
WHEREAS, General Conference 2004 approved Resolution 40722, submitted by the General Board of Global Ministries, which reads as follows in paragraph 11:  
“The church has traditionally emphasized the integrity of the institutions of marriage and family and the responsibilities of parenthood. While these emphases should be maintained, a holistic ministry with families must, of necessity, be based on the broadest possible definition of family so that the great variety of structures and configurations will be included.”
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT, we call upon each local United Methodist Church to:
       1.    Make a conscious effort in its ministry action, as well as in its words, to nurture children by supporting their family unit and its caregivers, regardless of that family structure.
    2.    Examine the structure of existing ministries to determine if they can be more effective and inclusive by changing titles, timing of events, group expectations, or other norms.
    3.    Determine if new ministries are needed to help non-traditional caregiver groups, and create them as appropriate.
       4.    Prayerfully consider opportunities to minister and love children and their caregivers without limit.