The question of the day should always be: “How are the children doing today?” People in children, youth, family ministry and related child-centered fields know that when the children are thriving, love and justice abide.
When I attended a retreat workshop recently called Resurrection Release hosted by Epworth UMC in Chicago, co-led by Pastor Hope Chernich and Pastor Lindsay Long Joyce, and facilitated by Rev. Jacki Belile, pastor at Eden UCC and director of Living Well Ministries, there was Beth Palmer to my surprise. Beth and I greeted one another being reminded of our common bond not only through children’s ministry in and through United Methodist local churches, but more significantly, we are both recipients of the Katherine B. Greene Child Advocacy award through United Voices for Children. I received this award in 2009 and was thrilled to present the award to Beth in 2017 during the Annual Conference when UVC holds its breakfast.
We reminisced about her excitement at receiving the award. She shared with me her travel plan at the time to arrive at Pheasant Run in St. Charles by 6:45 am for the breakfast. She lives in Chicago, so it was a matter of catching a bus to the Blue Line, in order to catch her ride from Jefferson Park. She did not miss a beat describing her excitement at being recognized for her lifelong passion helping children to improve their academic and social lives. These wonderful children live in an economically deprived and ethnically diverse community. Beth provides tutoring and all kinds of opportunities for musical fun to encourage children model Christian love to each and every one of them. I shared with her the importance of receiving this award at a time when I was doubting my ability and calling. It was a complete surprise to me, so much so that I could not be present to accept it because of an out of town commitment. My home church, First UMC Park Ridge, made sure I received the award during worship which was super special bolstering my gifts and calling to ministry and advocacy for children, youth and families. Beth and I enjoyed our serendipitous encounter that day! The retreat workshop was excellent!
For all the past recipients of the Bishop Jesse R. DeWitt, Katherine B. Greene and Rev. Margaret Ann Williams awards, your tireless advocacy for children and youth impacts us yet today! Thank you. In particular, we remember Rev. Dr. Kwane John who received the Bishop Jesse R. DeWitt award in 2012. He passed away this past April. He and his wife Mrs. June Porter received the award together.
UVC is looking forward to the June 4, 2019 Breakfast during this year’s annual conference. You can find the details here: https://unitedvoicesforchildren.org/programs/annual-breakfast/ Make your reservation by Friday, May 24th by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
Come, connect with remarkable individuals and catch up on just how the children are doing today!!
Deaconess Catherine Inserra is the Manager of Faith and Community Relations at ChildServ and is secretary of the United Voices for Children board of directors.