Connections to the General Board of Church and Society
One amazing benefit of the United Methodist Church is the connectional system and nature of the church. There are 13 General Agencies, each tasked with challenging and supporting the local church in different ways. The General Board of Church and Society (or GBCS) is dedicated to the work of living faith, seeking justice, and pursuing peace. There are more than 30 social issues that the United Methodist Church has claimed a position in the Social Principles and other policy statement, and the GBCS helps address and advocate for those positions.
Young People in the United States are discovering and activating their voices for justice. Because the GBCS is located in Washington, DC, they are ideally located to support young people to positively affect change through political action and activism. Recently, you may have seen news reports of young people staging walkouts and protests to address violence, gun rights, bullying, poverty, and more. The GBCS is an excellent resource to match up faith language with activism.
In fact, if you know young people traveling to Washington, DC on March 24th for the “March for Our Lives” GBCS has some supportive and helpful connections!!!
First, National United Methodist Church in DC is opening their doors to youth groups that are coming from out of town for the March on Saturday, March 24. Their youth rally will include a pizza party, sign-making contest, and lock-in the night before the March. Groups interested should register here: https://nationalchurch.org/youthrally.
GBCS understands, from the March organizers, that there will be no one older than 18 years old speaking on stage, so this March really is youth-led and headlined, which is awesome. The organizers are planning on up to 500,000 people attending. There are already 738 sibling marches planned to happen around the country and world that day, so youth can also research and discover marches taking place in their communities.
GBCS does have some gun violence prevention resources, useful for groups of all ages. They include a Faith and Facts card, a gun violence Bible study, a pastoral “cheat sheet” outlining possible ways to address this with a congregation. There are also links to the United Methodist resolution on gun violence, #3428 Our Call to End Gun Violence, as well as to the Giffords Law Center, which is an excellent resource for state and federal law on gun violence.
Looking for inspiration? Check out this recent call to action from GBCS on gun violence here: https://www.umcjustice.org/news-and-stories/a-call-to-action-on-gun-violence-637