Because God is with ALL of Us
Mission: To bring a Christian model of love within the family to the village of Gamasara.
Vision: To create an example of Christian love in word, action, and service for the community of Gamasara
through education, support, and advocacy.
The reason (the story): The Emmanuel Center for Women and Children is an idea birthed from the history of God’s interaction with man. Throughout time God has chosen the side of the oppressed. God chose David, the smallest in his family to be the model of the perfect king. Before that He chose Gideon, the least of his tribe of the weakest tribe of the nation and made him a judge over all of Israel. Before that he chose the man with a stutter, Moses, to lead His people out of slavery. He has always been on the side of the oppressed, with never a better picture of this than Jesus and his mother Mary. Jesus did not come to earth as a strong king with an army, but a baby forced into exile by a king and later crucified by an empire. His mother was shamed in her fulfillment of God’s mission by becoming pregnant through the Holy Spirit before she was married. Yet one of the names for Jesus, for the incarnate God, is Immanuel, God with us. God has always been with the oppressed in any society, and has always wanted to give a place to those without one. The Emmanuel Center for Women and Children wants to continue God’s story of being with the oppressed as we start a center that literally means that God is with us (women and children). This message came home in the village of Gamasara at a funeral done in October 2012. The funeral was for a 10 year old boy who had been coming to our church. At the funeral we learned that he had been worked very hard on his father’s farm, working much harder than was normal even for children in this area. When he fell sick his father refused to take him to a doctor even though he had the money that the farm had brought in, the one his own son had helped so much to succeed. His father instead took him to a local healer because it is cheaper. The result was the funeral in October 2012. That boy, his name was Emmanuel, has inspired us as a church to make sure that God is with other women and other children who are not cared for, not valued, and who do not know that they are loved by their Father in Heaven. This is the inspiration and motivation for the Emmanuel Center for Women and Children and the mission of creating a model of Christian love and to make sure it is present within the families of Gamasara.
1) Nursery School
a. The school will be a model Christian community that shows the value and voice of children while displaying the love of God.
2) Training of church members in community development and advocacy.
a. Emphasis of the importance of the church community in helping to spread the message
b. Depending on resources, some of this training will be from outside resources.
3) Seminars and services for women
a. Health, care of children, household accounting, basic education in reading, writing, math
b. Help with immunizations and other health services
c. Small business training
d. Advocacy in women’s rights
4) Involving the local government in our goals/purpose
a. Education of local government based on the Child Law Act of 2009.
b. Assist and support in the pursuit of common goals, especially in relation to community gatherings
5) Community education groups
a. Target key people in the community such as government, teachers, and community leaders to promote awareness of the place of women and children in the family and society as loved children of God.
The principles of the United Methodist Church that support the development of this center as quoted from our Book of Discipline (2008).
Book of Discipline (2008)
Part IV – Social Principles
Section III. Paragraph 162 – The Social Community
Introduction – “The rights and privileges a society bestows upon or withholds from those who comprise it indicate the relative esteem in which that society holds particular persons and groups of persons. We affirm all persons as equally valuable in the sight of God. We therefore work toward societies in which each person’s value is recognized, maintained, and strengthened.”
c) rights of children – “Once considered the property of their parents, children are now acknowledged to be full human beings in their own right, but beings to whom adults and society in general have special obligations. Thus, we support the development of school systems and innovative methods of education designed to assist every child toward complete fulfillment as an individual person of worth…Children have the rights to food, shelter, clothing, health care, and emotional well-being…these rights we affirm as theirs regardless of actions or in action of their parents or guardians. In particular, children must be protected from economic, physical, emotional, and sexual exploitation and abuse.”
F) Rights of women – “We affirm women and men to be equal in every aspect of their common life. We affirm the right of women to equal treatment in employment, responsibility, promotion, and compensation. We affirm the importance of women in decision-making positions at all levels of church and society and urge such bodies to guarantee their presence through policies of employment and recruitment. We affirm the right of women to live free from violence and abuse and urge governments to enact policies that protect women against all forms of violence and discrimination in any sector of society.”
The sections of Tanzanian law that support the development of this center, quoted from the Law of the Child passed and published in 2009.
Part II, Section A – Right of a child
We agree with and are interested in the promotion of the following statements made in the Law of the Child:
4.2 – “The best interest of a child shall be the primary consideration in all actions concerning a child whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts, or administrative bodies.”
7.2 – “A person shall not deny a child the right…to grow up in a caring and peaceful environment.
8.1 – “It shall be the duty of a parent, guardian, or any other person having custody of a child to maintain that child in particular that duty give the child the right to –
Medical care including immunizations
Education and guidance
Right to play and leisure”
9.1 – A “A child shall have the right to life, dignity, respect, leisure, liberty, health, education, and shelter from his parents.”
9.3 – “Every parent shall have duties and responsibilities whether imposed by law or otherwise towards his child which include the duty to –
A) Protect the child from neglect, discrimination, violence, abuse, exposure to physical and moral hazards and oppression;
b) Provide guidance, care, assistance, and maintenance for the child and assurance of the child’s survival and development.”
11. “A child shall have a right of opinion and no person shall deprive a child capable of forming views the right to express an opinion, to be listened to and to participate in decisions which affect his well-being.”