NEJ - 2003
- Mark Lewis Taylor, Professor of Theology and Culture at Princeton Seminary
- Njoki Njoroge Njehu, 50 Years Is Enough: U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice
- Tony Campolo, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Eastern University
- Rev. James M. Lawson, Jr., Pastor Emeritus, Holman United Methodist Church,Los Angeles
and Civil Rights organizer with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- James E. Winkler, General Secretary
General Board of Church and Society
- and others...
LOCATION: Wilkes-Barre, Pa, (northeastern Pennsylvania) which is accessible by interstate highway
and various means of public transportation.
The gathering will be centered at First United Methodist Church, Wilkes-Barre, with lodging in nearby motels.
See Travel or Lodging for additional details.
We live in a world profoundly affected by globalization: much of the clothing we buy is now manufactured
in places like China, Indonesia, the Philippines, or Honduras by people--including children--who labor in
sweatshops for very low wages; similarly much of our food -- bananas, beef, coffee, cocoa, sugar... -- comes
from places where workers do not receive fair compensation for their labor. Telephone operators in India
answer toll-free customer calls for many US-owned businesses. In the global economy, the rules are
increasingly being written behind closed doors by representatives of major corporations,
under the auspices of institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) whose officials are neither
elected by nor accountable to any of us. The new institutions of Globaliztion circumvent the democratic
process and are now beginning to undermine environmental protection, food and drug safety, and even the ability
of local communities to institute policies which favor protection of their citizens against the interests
of international corporations. (See these globalization
links for more details.)
This gathering will explore the issues facing us under the current style of globalization, and opportunities
for constructive response that reflect our faith tradition and United Methodist
GOALS OF THE GATHERING:
- Introduce church leaders to globalization issues and tools for responding
- Build/strengthen networking for social justice ministries and legislative advocacy among NEJ United Methodists.
- Provide resources, skills training for Peace and Justice work, especially for local church Church and Society or Outreach chairpersons
- Connect social justice ministries with Biblical and spiritual foundations.
The gathering will include plenary sessions and workshops on a variety of current issues and organizing skills;
we invite participating organizations to help us define what workshop topics are most inportant for people
of the Northeast Jurisdiction. Here is a preliminary list of program options.
- Seminars on globalization issues such as militarism/peace, environment, economic justice, racism,
privatization; other national/internation issues such as restorative justice will be included if there is
- Workshops on effective legislative advocacy (State and U.S. government), organizing skills,
and coalition building; workshops on social change; introduction to non-violence training;
third party nonviolent intervention.
- Worship, theological reflection, team building, networking, exploring new models for
social justice ministries.
- How-to / idea sharing workshops for folks in local church Church and Society / Outreach leadership role
- State / regional issues: How does globaliztion affect us locally?
privatization of public services, public school funding, death penalty, poverty/welfare issues, gambling ...
- Caucus time -- Ann. Conf. or regional groups; ethnic groups; MFSA; ...
- Field trip /action opportunities
- young adult program options
SCHEDULE: November 6-9, 2003: Thursday morning through Sunday noon.
See schedule details.
Workshops and training sessions will be led by Jim Winkler and other staff members of the General Board
of Church and Society (GBCS), as well as other resource people with expertise in globalization issues.
Continuing Education Credit (CEU) will be offered.
Child care will be available arrangement in advance.
About the Conference Speakers:
- Mark Lewis Taylor,
Professor of Theology and Culture at Princeton Seminary,
believes that "part of the present challenge of contemporary theology is to do theology that is
rooted not only in the church and in the academy, but also in the people's movements for social
change occurring in other sectors of public life." Dr. Taylor's special interest in culture and
theology is reflected in both his life and his work. Since 1987, he has studied regularly in
Guatemala and in Chiapas, Mexico, where he analyzes the cultural and political dynamics of the
churches as they move closer to a contextualized Mayan theology that also facilitates resistance
to military repression.
- Njoki Njoroge Njehu,
Director of 50 Years Is Enough: U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice,
is a Kenyan national who worked with women's groups and the Greenbelt Movement in Kenya before coming
to the U.S. for college in 1986. Previously she worked for Greenpeace International for three years
where she focused on the international toxic trade and on biodiversity and oceans issues. She joined
the 50 Years Is Enough Network in July 1996 and became Director in October 1998. She serves on the
board of the Quixote Center, and on the Advisory Committees of the Campaign for Labor Rights and ACERCA.
She is a member of the International Coordinating Committee of the World Social Forum, the Africa
Social Forum, and a volunteer in various capacities, especially fundraising in support of groups
in the Global South. Her responsibilities with "50 Years" include media work, fundraising, and being
the lead spokesperson for the Network worldwide.
- Rev. James M. Lawson, Jr.,
Pastor Emeritus of Holman United Methodist Church
in Los Angeles, is a master teacher and organizer of nonviolent resistance against injustice.
Martin Luther King Jr. called Lawson "the greatest teacher on nonviolence in America."
Lawson is best know for his work with the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference)
and his role in organizing the Nashville lunch-counter sit-ins during the American Civil Rights
movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
- Tony Campolo
is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania.
and an ordained minister who has served American Baptist Churches in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
He also served for ten years on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. As founder of the
Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education (EAPE), Dr. Campolo has provided the
leadership to create, nurture and support programs for "at-risk" children in cities across the
United States and Canada, and has helped establish schools and universities in several developing countries.
Dr. Campolo is a media commentator on religious, social and political matters, having guested on television
programs like Nightline, Crossfire, Politically Incorrect, The Charlie Rose Show and CNN News. He
co-hosted his own television series, Hashing It Out, on the Odyssey Network, and presently hosts From
Across The Pond, a weekly program on the Premier Radio Network in England. The author of 28 books,
his most recent titles are Revolution and Renewal: How Churches Are Saving Our Cities (Westminster: John Knox)
and Let Me Tell You a Story: Life Lessons From Unexpected Places and Unlikely People (WORD).
- James E. Winkler, General Secretary,
General Board of Church and Society (GBCS).
Winkler joined GBCS staff in 1985 as a seminar designer with United Methodist Seminars on National
and International Affairs, during which time he led more than 150 seminars for United Methodist youth,
college students and adults from across the denomination. Since 1996, Winkler has served as Annual
Conference Relations Director and as Assistant General Secretary for Resourcing Congregational Life.
In 2000 he was chosen to lead the General Board of Church and Society as General Secretary.
He is a graduate of the University of Illinois and George Mason University in Virginia.
General Board of Church and Society
Church and Society Eastern Pennsylvania Conference
This gathering is sponsored by the Northeast Jurisdiction United Methodist Boards of Church and Society and the
General Board of Church and Society for United Methodists who have an active concern for social justice.
The program for the regional gathering held in 1999 (Pennsylvania '99) gives
an example of what might be expected for the 2003 gathering. Look for updates here from time to time.