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Bishop issues statement on furlough

October 1, 2013

As people of faith, we lament the impasse that has caused the shutdown of the federal government. If the situation is not resolved immediately, this political standoff will affect the financial stability of more than 800,000 government workers and their families. The furlough is also expected to have a ripple effect in Washington, D.C. and the surrounding communities.

We are a nation that trusts in God. This is not a time for finger-pointing or political one-up-manship. Rather, it is a season for strong and principled leadership based on the soundest principle of our democracy. I urge United Methodists to call upon your elected officials to stand with integrity and oppose efforts by a few to threaten the common good.

Our churches are places of prayer, and I know each of our congregations will be committing themselves to a prayerful resolution of our economic crisis. In addition to the conflicts over the Affordable Care Act, Congress must, in the weeks ahead, address the nation's $16.7 trillion debt ceiling and the very real possibility that unless it is raised, the U.S. Treasury will run out of money to repay the country's debt obligations. These are times for wisdom, for leadership, and for claiming the principles of justice and hope for all people.

I also urge all United Methodists to stand with the poor and those who live in our society's margins who, in the days ahead, may find themselves cruelly effected by the unintended effects of a government shutdown. We are a people who put our love and our faith in action and I encourage all our churches to reach out in the spirit of shalom to all who may be vulnerable or suffering. We live certain in the knowledge that what we do for the least of these of God's children, we do for the Lord.

It is my prayer that God grant our political leaders the courage and wisdom to confront the tough decisions in a manner that gives credence to our belief that “In God We Trust,” and that you and your neighbors weather this storm with grace.  God is with us.

Grace and Peace,

Bishop Marcus Matthews

Issue Date: 
Tue, 10/01/2013