I hope you are all managing to remain cool in this heat – and finding time to enjoy my summer reading suggestions from last week!
This week I would like to highlight a resolutions with which it is easy to connect personally – and, hopefully, just as easy to put to action in our congregations:
Advocate for Maternal and Infant Health (A140).
Resolved, That the 77th General Convention direct the Office of Government Relations to partner with international and domestic efforts to encourage and advocate for legislation, programs, services and advocacy related to improving maternal mental and physical health and infant development; and be it further
Resolved, That the congregations and dioceses of The Episcopal Church take action in their own contexts to support and foster maternal and infant health and development, which addresses the mission priority of Alleviating Poverty and Injustice established at the 76th General Convention, and also the Millennium Development Goals; and be it further
Resolved, That healthcare institutions and providers in The Episcopal Church whose ministries are associated with maternal health and infant development be urged to support advocacy and to make themselves available as resources to congregations and dioceses for this work.
All one has to do is look within our communities and see the needs of those who have been affected by the economic decline of our region. Many of those hit hardest are our families where foreclosures, lay-offs, and budget cuts have dramatically changed the way of life for so many. Rather than become overwhelmed by the situation, let’s find easy, local ways of alleviating some of the pressures. All we have to do is look…
One effort in our diocese is the Brooklyn Diaper Pantry sponsored by St Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church of Cambridge Junction. Every third Saturday volunteers meet at All Saints Episcopal Church in Brooklyn from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm to distribute diapers, baby wipes, shampoo and lotion, and other necessities to families with infants and toddlers. Check out their website for more information and links to other services in our area – http://www.diaperpantry.blogspot.com/
But that’s just one local service. What else is out there? What is happening in your community? Share your ideas and ministries with us so that we might encourage one another!!
And what can we do to advocate for maternal-child health internationally? A few years ago our diocese embraced the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/), two of which address this very issue specifically:
#4. Reduce by 2/3, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate.
#5. Reduce by ¾ the maternal mortality rate and achieve universal access to reproductive health.
As just one example, there are some individuals and congregations in our Household who have been supporting the work of Casa Materna in Nicaragua (http://www.casamaterna.org/). Their website describes their mission:
The purpose of the Casa Materna is to reduce the rising maternal and infant mortality rates. In this global “silent epidemic,” a maternal death occurs every minute of the day. In Nicaragua alone, a maternal death occurs every 38 hours. The Casa Materna provides a short-term residence in the city of Matagalpa, offering food, shelter, education, transportation and support for high-risk pregnant women 1-2 weeks before and after childbirth. While the births take place at the Regional Hospital in Matagalpa, the services of the Casa Materna allow the expectant mothers to be close to this needed medical attention which would otherwise take hours or days to reach from their rural homes.
Is your congregation involved in any international work to help reach these goals? Tell us about them! As a household, we need to be telling our stories to one another so that the rest of us can support the work being done – or maybe even get excited about new things we can do!