Opinion

Interfaith: Rolling waters and ever-lasting streams | Opinion | Feb. 19

“Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

– Amos 5:24 NIV

This is the first Bible verse that I was moved to commit to memory. I was 18 at the time. The eloquence of the imagery expressed by the Hebrew prophet, Amos, captivated my imagination and awakened my heart to the conviction that God desires social justice for all.

Over 2,750 years ago, Amos preached to the religiously arrogant, calling the people of Israel to change their behavior and to treat one another with compassion and mercy. I cannot think of a religious organization that does not affirm the sacred worth of each individual, created uniquely and lovingly by God.

Perhaps that’s why it is an instinctive human desire to offer generosity to those who suffer from the brutality of natural disasters.

The earthquake in Haiti is the worst natural disaster to strike the Western Hemisphere in the past century.More than 230,000 people died and hundreds of thousands were injured, leaving more than two million homeless in a nation of nine million

All religious groups have an organization that they are called to support. One of the best kept secrets in United Methodism is UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief).

It consistently ranks among the very top of all international relief organizations (see www.Charity-Navigator.org). Its mission is “to alleviate human suffering – whether caused by war, conflict or natural disaster, with open hearts and minds to all people.”

After Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, UMCOR was second on the ground... second only to The Red Cross. Long after other organizations leave the scene of a disaster, UMCOR can be found faithfully fulfilling its mission.

Because United Meth-odists support the larger church (including UMCOR) in our weekly giving, 100 percent of our donations go directly to the field when a disaster strikes.

This, among other reasons, prompted Rev. Dean Snyder to write an article for the UM Connection: “Why I’d Give My Last Dollar to UMCOR…” (Volume 21, Issue 2, Page 5).

The Haiti earthquake hit home for United Methodists when Rev. Sam Dixon, UMCOR’s executive director, was killed in the earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010.

At the time, Rev. Dixon was in Haiti with colleagues from other agencies as they sought to improve health services in our hemisphere’s poorest country.

Rev. Dixon’s life ended before he could be pulled from the ruins of Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince.

Seabold United Methodist Church has done what we can to support the relief efforts in Haiti through UMCOR, and to honor the memory of Rev. Dixon.

All of the groups on the Bainbridge Island-North Kitsap Interfaith Council have generously supported the relief organizations to which they are attached.

I have lived on Bainbridge Island for 18 months now. I continue to be amazed and inspired by all of the many organizations and religious groups that come together on the Interfaith Council to seek “common, faith-based ground in working together for good in our community and beyond.”

As members of the IFC, we are stronger because we are united together. We can do more together to seek justice for individuals because we are connected to one another. Together we gain momentum, like an ever-flowing stream.

The Rev. Cheryl A. Wuensch is pastor of Seabold United Methodist Church.

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