United Methodist Neighborhood Centers is an ADVOCACY organization. We advocate for people that struggle on the margins of our society. UMNC offers a connecting point for Christians to support neighbors that are not in our neighborhoods as well as the folk that are.
Jesus comforted his friends with the promise of a helper forever. Some translations interpret the word paraclete (phonetically: paracleet) from the Greek texts as comforter, others as counselor, in modern translations like the New International Version, as advocate.
Christians understand the paraclete as the Holy Spirit, the holy presence of our God expressed in three persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is the presence of the Holy Spirit that guides, comforts, empowers and helps disciples of Jesus Christ as we live and work in God’s creation.
We speak of “work” in the name of Christ as “mission,” the demonstration through lives of faith in our salvation. Work alone isn’t sufficient for salvation, but work through faith, is in my understanding, a Christian responsibility. An import part of our work as Christians is advocacy.
United Methodists, in our mission of making disciples, must ponder the teachings of Jesus and understand the central role of being an advocate for others in His words and actions.
The articles presented in this book tell a part of our child development work, our emergency food pantry services, our job skills training programs, our work with youth on substance abuse prevention, our support of men and women re-entering our neighborhoods after a prison sentence, our work to head-off homelessness through rent and utility assistance, and our place as a base for mission teams to serve in Memphis from places far away and near.
All our work is a partial expression of the larger mission of ADVOCACY as we serve families in need and those with the resources to give gifts and share talents.
I invite everybody that reads this book to consider how we may share the wonderful mission of ADVOCACY.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Brent Porterfield
Executive Director, UMNC