Encourage every Florida UMC to connect with a school to serve children who are at risk of not reaching their potential.
Encourage churches already involved with a school and children to prayerfully take the next step.
Bishop Carter’s vision that these are “Our Kids” ties closely with our rich Wesleyan tradition. From John Wesley’s own words and actions, clearly “Every Child Matters”. After preaching to the Kingswood coal miners, John Wesley and George Whitefield felt called to begin a school for the poor coal miner’s children, and for other children who were eager to learn. Their view of education had no boundaries, and they did not want to discriminate. The seed for this schoolhouse was planted many years earlier at Oxford. Wesley, along with other friends, pooled their resources together in order to hire a tutor who would teach the poor. These early acts of mercy would bear great fruit as Methodist would eventually start hundreds of Colleges and university. Wesley and the early Methodist saw education as a ticket out of poverty and a way to make students greater tools within the “Master’s” hand. As Wesley reasoned, a strong education would strengthen a person’s mind and gave that person a greater opportunity to change the world for Christ.
The emphasis on early education, specifically educating the poor, seem to come from John’s mother, Susanna. Like on many other occasions in his life, he drew his passion from his mother’s lead and influence.
In G.M. Best’s article “Education from A Methodist Perspective”, he writes, “Wesley thought the hallmark of a good parent and a good teacher was to recognize the immense moral responsibility entailed in educating the young. He inherited that belief from his mother, who said this about her role, “I cannot but look upon every soul you leave under my care as a talent committed to me under a trust by the great Lord of all the families, both of heaven and earth.”
“Our Kids” is an extension of what was started many years ago by John Wesley. What we are striving to accomplish in the Florida Annual Conference was put into motion by a small band of believers who saw a better way. What we hope to accomplish through Bishop Carter’s vision is carry forward Wesley plan to help the poor, and serve Jesus Christ. This is our task. Let us move our Methodist legacy into something new, bright and refreshing. Why? Because every “child matters” and these are “our kids”.