WASHINGTON - The international advocacy agency of the United Methodist Church will hold a legislative briefing for local church leaders March 2-5.
The event will help church social action leaders respond to moral and political issues as the new Congress tackles its agenda, the Board of Church and Society said.
Several notable United Methodists, including President Bush, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), have been invited to speak.
With a theme of "Gospel Demands, Public Witness," the event will offer advocacy training, issue briefings and opportunities for congressional visits.
Workshops will focus on such topics as the war on terrorism; affordable housing; substance abuse; health care; mental illness; the Middle East crisis; military spending; the environment and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
"Our churches are deeply involved in mercy ministries every day," said Jim Winkler, the board's top staff executive. "But we are to do more than love mercy - we are called to do justice. It isn't enough to feed the hungry; we must also work to starve the systems that create hunger. Mercy and justice must work together, and that's what this legislative briefing is all about. We believe every local church should be a center for justice and an engine for social action."
Registration is under way. Students and those registering before year's end will receive a discount. For more information, visit http://www.umc-gbcs.org/legislative1_brief.htm online or call the Board of Church and Society, (202) 488-5600.
By Albert H. Lee