March 3, 2008

Expressing the sense of the Ohio Conference of Mennonite Church USA that we, our communities and governmental/legislative bodies have a moral responsibility to meet the needs of those persons, groups and communities that are impoverished, disadvantaged or otherwise in poverty.

Submitted by Nathan Beachy and Crandall Miller

Whereas we believe that Jesus Christ is at the center of who we are and all we do as the Ohio Conference of Mennonite Church USA;

Whereas the mission of Ohio Conference is to be a people and congregations dedicated to worship of, faith in, and witness for Jesus Christ. Therefore, the primary purpose as a Conference is to cultivate healthy congregations through the equipping of leaders in the areas of worship, faith and witness. The leaders to equip are not only pastors, but church committee members, worship leaders, teachers, etc.;

Whereas the Conference builds on the Anabaptist Mennonite perspective to form Conference identity, and the Conference will help each congregation clarify its own identity to meet the needs of the community;

Whereas the Conference will strengthen relationships between churches within the Conference, providing networking and resourcing possibilities between churches with similar circumstances and needs. The Conference will also strengthen relationships with church-wide agencies and institutions as well as with community agencies that share Conference beliefs and mission;

Whereas poverty can be seen as a deep, structural problem that implicates our value system and our faith-based, educational and economic institutions;

Whereas poverty may be defined as the lack of basic necessities of life such as food, shelter, clothing, health care, education, security and opportunity;

Whereas during the period 2003-2005, 12.6 percent of Ohio families were “food insecure” according to the Department of Agriculture, up from 9.8 percent during the period 2000- 2002, meaning 511,000 families, mostly those with at least one person working full time, had a hard time putting enough food on the table;

Whereas legislative policy initiatives have not kept pace with the needs of hundreds of thousands of Ohioans;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Ohio Conference of Mennonite Church USA, that we should set a goal to actively participate with our respective community, statewide and national efforts to cut the poverty rate in half over the next 10 years.