Justice and advocacy for children has long been an important aspect of our calling to Christian witness and service here at All Saints. Our annual observance of the Children’s Sabbath, frequent collections to furnish apartments for children leaving foster care, layette and teddy bear collections, and our work with the families at Haven House, the project at the orphanage in Haiti, all show our commitment and concern for the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society.
This month, we have an opportunity to ally with local churches to speak out for equity and justice for the children of mid-Michigan. Action of Greater Lansing, the interfaith justice network, of which All Saints is a member, has chosen to focus this year on children’s health. Specifically, working to make sure that the new Children’s Health Initiative (CHI), coming into being in our community, will address the health needs of ALL area children, regardless of whether or not their families have insurance or are able to pay.
Last fall, the Action member congregations voted to focus on the lack of user-friendly, centralized access to human services in the Lansing area. The research committee that tackled this broad request soon learned about the CHI --an effort of local parents, health care providers and organizations--to create a children’s health center where pediatric sub-specialists – the doctors your child must see when the primary-care doctor cannot address all their health needs – can provide care for children with serious health problems. Currently, families must travel to Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids or even farther for their children to receive care. The CHI would bring this kind of care back to the Lansing area for our local children.
Action’s interest is to make sure the CHI meets the needs of all children in our area … not simply the ones whose families can pay. You can imagine the kind of burden this need for specialty care places on poor and uninsured families and their children – 40 to 50 percent of the children in our area are on Medicaid. Traveling to distant doctors, trying to retain a job, caring for the other healthy children in the family, all without financial resources, is vastly more difficult for poor families than for those of us with insurance, education and financial security.
There is a key event coming up where our presence is necessary to show our support for uninsured and underinsured children.
Everyone is asked to come to the Nehemiah Assembly and to bring THREE PEOPLE. The Nehemiah Assembly will be held at Union Missionary Baptist Church, 500 S. MLK Blvd., on Tuesday, May 12 at 7 p.m. We will bring leaders from MSU and Sparrow Hospital to hear our request for the CHI and for a commitment to serve all children, regardless of ability to pay. Our Action goal is to turn out 600 people at this assembly. Your presence is so important!
Come out to this event. Bring your family members, friends and neighbors to the Nehemiah Assembly. Speak out for Lansing area children, who need our voice and our commitment.
Feel free to speak to any All Saints Action team member ... me, Janet Chegwidden, Pam Miklavcic, or Gus Breymann, with your questions.