We are united by Jesus’s words in John 10:10, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” God calls his church to the ministry of healing. No one alone has the resources necessary to fulfill the promise of Abundant Health.
Therefore, we seek to engage at least 10,000 churches to develop support systems for children’s health. Churches can contribute locally to the health of children in their communities, as well as to the health of children around the world.
Our Promise to Children
Few objectives have deeper moral and emotional resonance than saving children’s lives and offering them the chance to grow up with unfettered capacity to develop their God-given gifts. The welfare of mothers is intimately related and just as compelling as a moral and practical goal.
(source: Katherine Marshall, Executive Director, The World Faiths Development Dialogue The Foreword, A Promise Renewed, page 2)
As the people of The United Methodist Church we will live up to our promise for children by imagining abundant health for every child in every place by:
Ensuring Safe Births
Investing in quality care around the time of birth and special care for sick and small newborns can save millions of babies each year. Many health facilities in underserved areas lack key infrastructure and equipment for childbirth. These facilities often lack qualiﬁed medical practitioners. The United Methodist Church will provide assistance in places that lack the necessary resources to ensure safe conditions during childbirth. Protecting newborns also means ensuring proper care for their mothers before, during and after pregnancy.
Addressing Nutritional Challenges and Promoting Breastfeeding
Optimal breastfeeding of infants under 2 years of age has the greatest potential impact on child survival of all preventive interventions, with the potential to prevent over 800,000 deaths (13 percent of all deaths) in children under 5 in the developing world. (Source: Lancet 2013). Malnutrition and childhood obesity are also great threats to children all over the world. We commit to promoting breastfeeding for infant nutrition and responding to malnutrition and childhood obesity.
Advancing Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Diseases
According to the World Health Organization, pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria, and malnutrition are leading causes of child deaths in low income countries. The United Methodist Church is committed to promoting health education, along with providing services that place the prevention of these childhood illnesses at the forefront.
Promote Children’s Health and Wholeness
Millions of children and adolescents around the world don’t have access to the life-saving information, services and supplies they need for a healthy fulfilled life. Half of all mental health disorders show first signs before the person turns 14 years of age. Addiction has also become a major threat to adolescents’ health. The United Methodist Church aims to provide opportunities for physical activity, promote healthy diet and nutrition, encourage prevention and recovery from addictive substances, and promote mental well-being of children and adolescents.
Make A Promise to Support Child Health in Your Congregation and Community
Assess your current programs to see how you can better serve children in your community and improve their health. You can build on current programs, creating partnerships or start something new.
Here are a few suggestions for children’s health:
- Physical activity
- Healthy diet and nutrition
- Tobacco and drug-free living
- Mental health education and promotion
See the list of suggested activities in each of these four areas, in which your congregation can engage.
Give to Abundant Health Projects Around the World
The Global Health unit gives grants to assist local churches, districts and annual conferences to develop and sustain ministries of health, healing and wholeness to children around the world. Gifts support Abundant Health projects in six countries.