Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.    Proverbs 31:8-9

Dear Friends,

I am writing to you this morning from chilly Presque Isle. Today, the New England Cabinet has gathered here for our September Cabinet meeting and to glean potatoes from our gracious hosts. The Cabinet will take the potatoes and bring them to food pantries throughout our Districts and Conference. This opportunity was the vision of our Bishop, who loves the County, and wanted to draw attention to the plight of those among our communities who are living in poverty and our Christian mandate to serve the poor. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve those in need and for the opportunity for my fellow Cabinet members to experience our wonderful District. 

   It is surely our Christian mandate to advocate for those who have no voice; the poor, children, and  any group of people who are marginalized. Recently, I became aware of one such group of people. We all remember  the devastation of Hurricane Maria in last year's hurricane season . While our neighbors in Texas and Florida have mostly begun to rebuild their lives, our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico have not been as fortunate. Today, many still live without roofs, homes, or electricity. Unfortunately, these Americans are largely forgotten in the fast paced news cycle of our day. Our United Methodist church still serves those in need in Puerto Rico through UMCOR. (see below for donation options) I encourage you to make a donation for their needs today. I know that there are many needs even right here in our own backyards, but these Americans feel forgotten and desperate. I can't imagine living without basic necessities for a year with no hope in sight. Let us be the light of hope and justice that Jesus calls us to be. 

  Today, I give thanks for my connection to fellow Untied Methodists who love God and take seriously God's invitation to care for the "least of these". Whether we are gleaning potatoes, sending disaster relief to storm torn neighbors, making health kits, or bringing our school children backpacks of supplies, we are sharing the love of Christ. What a privilege and an honor to serve our God and our neighbors! What a privilege and honor it is to serve with each of you! I give thanks for you each and every day.

                                                      Harvest blessings, Jackie

*photo - Jackie Brannen - NE Cabinet members gleaning potatoes in Presque Isle, Maine