Part of advocating for Orphans and Vulnerable Children is to work within existing structures to help activate passion. Wayne Lavender launched a Trek4Orphans on January 1, 2016 starting a 5-month TREK of running, walking and driving across the United States from Virginia Beach, VA, to Portland, Oregon, where the General Conference on the United Methodist Church met in May. The trip started at the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and finished in Portland, Oregon just before the start of the conference. Wayne met hundreds of passionate people on this journey. When in Portland, he met with both conservative and liberal wings of the church for the advocacy of the petition. The petition itself was debated for over an hour in session – far longer than most petitions at General Conference.
The goals of the TREK were to:
- Raise awareness of orphans and vulnerable children in the global south.
- Raise funds for new orphan projects in Mozambique, Iraq, Haiti and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- Generate support and signers on a petition to General Conference encouraging the UMC to embrace orphans and vulnerable children as the missional priority of the denomination.
First Goals Achieved! We have more work to do on giving the UMC denomination the confidence it needs to make this major change, but there are now a lot of cracks in this glass wall and there is fresh energy in talking about the the Christian need to care for orphans. We encourage anyone wanting to keep in touch or hear more about this to fill out our contact form.