United Methodist Bishops Meet U.S. Lawmakers in Capitol Hill

Bishops from the United Methodist Church met with U.S. lawmakers in Capitol Hill to discuss hot-button issues related to Africa, on Wednesday, May 4, 2005.

The United Methodist Board of Church and Society hosted more than a dozen mostly African bishops for a legislative briefing at the denomination’s office in Washington D.C.

After discussing issues such as AIDS, orphans, immigration and the federal budget, the bishops headed off to Capitol Hill to meet the nation’s policy makers.

Liberia

Bishop John Innis of Liberia met with State Department officials to discuss his nation’s need for post-war reconstruction. According to the United Methodist News Service, Innis “stressed the importance of investing in such services as electricity, water and education.”

Innis also asked the U.S. State Department to work with the Liberian government in facilitating the country’s upcoming presidential election next fall. According to Innis, there are 48 people trying to run for office next fall, and some of the unsuccessful candidates may destabilize the country.

Innis said he would also ask the U.S. Council of Bishops to pray for elections that are free, fair and calm.

Congo

Meanwhile, Bishop Nkulu Ntanda Ntambo of the Democratic Republic of Congo said his country’s upcoming elections represent a “very scary, sensitive moment,” and urged U.S. policy makers to step-in.

Ntambo also stressed the need to fight the AIDS pandemic and lift the debt burden in his country.

Federal Budget and AIDS

Domestic bishop Al Gwinn of the Raleigh (N.C.) Area met with U.S. Reps. David Price and Brad Miller, both Democrats from his state, and shared his concerns about the federal budget and advocated two bills in the House of Representatives, according to UMNS.

One of the bills would advocate grants for orphaned children in Africa who are “being indentured into sexual slavery, into horrible working environments,” Gwinn said.

The second bill calls for immediate health care for legal immigrants that would otherwise have to wait five years before receiving any form of federal assistance from the U.S.