Bishop calls for ‘involved, empowered citizens’

Bishop calls for ‘involved, empowered citizens’

February 19, 2015

Bishop Julius C. Trimble called upon Iowa’s legislators to promote a healthy society and thriving state that is “characterized by citizens who are involved, educated and empowered.” 
 
Click here to watch a video of the Bishop's keynote 

Speaking at the annual Legislative Advocacy Day he thanked the legislators for their service to the State.  In addition he encouraged them saying the mandate to share the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is consistent with that of State Representative Jack Drake (grandfather of FOM Rev. Melissa Drake), a style characterized as “common sense with a vision.”  Bishop Trimble asked legislators “to be open to new ideas and common sense solutions as well as innovation born out of hard work. I encourage you to trust God and love God.”
 
Click here to see additional images from the Advocacy Day

The Bishop invited the elected representatives to be influenced by their faith.  He urged them to begin each day with prayer first, reflection second, and action third, noting that the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church are statements that say, “We care.” Quoting from that document he said, “our allegiance to God takes precedence over our allegiance to any state, [and] we acknowledge the vital function of government as a principal vehicle for ordering society.”
 
Bishop Trimble spoke about four aspects of community:
  1. The nurturing community – the social climate should be one that fosters the personal growth of individuals, something that applies to all people, not because of any particular characteristic or status, but because each individual is created in the image of God 
  2. The social community - We support equal rights for all individuals.  This includes all adults, children, young people, regardless of race, religious affiliation, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability or economic status.
  3. The economic community –We oppose gambling and games-of-chance and at the same time, affirm economic self-determination.  We support a living wage and oppose exploitation of workers, including wage theft.
  4. The Political Community – While our first responsibility is to God, we affirm responsible citizenship and full participation in a democratic political process, and recognize government as a vital force in ordering society. 
Bishop Trimble addressed three pieces of legislation:
  • The use of marijuana for medical purposes – “Some studies indicate circumstances in which marijuana can have an important palliative medicinal effect unavailable through other means.  The medical use of any drug, however, should not be seen as encouraging recreational use of it.” (Book of Resolutions, The United Methodist Church, pp 208-9)
  • Call for comprehensive immigration reform – support immigration reform that unifies families and provides pathways to citizenship.  Assert that immigrant children deserve to be educated and provided with basic social services. 
  • Education funding - We are called to advocate at state and local levels for adequate public school funding and equitable distribution of state funds and support efforts to end unjust educational disparities between rich and poor communities. 
The Legislative Advocacy Day also included conversations about “The Changes in Mental Health Care in Iowa” and “Iowa Safe Roads – Temporary Driver’s Licenses to Immigrants,” the latter of which was presented by Chief Michael Tupper of the Marshalltown Police Department. Marty Ryan, the Iowa Conference’s contracted public policy advocate, led the group through “Training to Be an Effective Advocate.”
 
The Legislative Advocacy Day – “Being Transformed to Make a Difference in the Halls of Government,” was held at Wesley United Methodist Church.