A statement from Bishop L. Jonathan Holston:
Before an earthquake shook the lives of more than 3 million people in Haiti in 2010, United Methodists were already on the ground of the impoverished Caribbean nation, working to improve living conditions for a population long beset by poverty.
After the earthquake, United Methodist Volunteers In Mission teams – including scores of volunteers from South Carolina – quickly moved in to provide relief services. Within five months, more than $40 million had been raised through the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s Haiti Response Plan.
In fact, a South Carolina UMVIM team left for Haiti today.
For more than 25 years, South Carolina United Methodists have been at the forefront of helping students from many African nations obtain a quality education and develop into leaders. The first “launch” gift to Africa University was made in 1991 by farmers from Bennettsville.
Subsequent gifts from churches and individuals paid for construction of the Bishop J. Lawrence McCleskey Theology Building – named for a previous S.C. bishop. Endowed scholarships allow more than a dozen young women and men to access a life-changing educational experience each year.
Thousands of South Carolina United Methodists have had the privilege to have served the people of Haiti, multiple African nations and many countries on several continents through mission work. We have walked and lived among the inhabitants of these nations, and we know them to be children of God, worthy of our respect.
As a people of faith opposed to racism and committed to social justice, we again find ourselves called to witness, advocacy and prayer. We are compelled to clearly and without hesitation advocate against prejudice, hate and racism.
I encourage you to join me and my fellow United Methodist Bishops in prayer for the people of our nation and world. Please read this timely reminder from the Council of Bishops to demonstrate love for all of God’s people by saying no to racism, discrimination and bigotry.
Grace and peace,
L. Jonathan Holston
South Carolina Conference
The United Methodist Church