It is the first of the new year - twenty eleven. As I sat watching more television than usual this New Year’s weekend, I was alarmed by a series of commercials that ran over and over. They were sponsored by SPCA and featured many well known actors pleading for financial support for this organization. Watching was terrible and hurtful - just what they wanted me to feel. As I watched, I remembered the years when I was Executive Director for nonprofit organizations that relied on generous donors for the funding to provide services to the poor, the destitute, the homeless, the single mom left to raise her child(ren) with no resources. At the time, I was aware that it is easier to raise money for animals than for humans. The barrage of television “public service announcements” reminded me of the horrifying lot of those who live at the bottom of the social scale - they are below even our animals.
This evening at church (Soul Link Faith Community at 1103 S. Main Street, Mansfield, PA) we begin a three-week series on “human trafficking” - the illegal trade in human beings for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor: a modern-day form of slavery. The United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) have both been vocal about this issue over the past year. I am late offering it in this area, but beginning this evening, we offer this series on human trafficking. Tonight, we view “Holly” the story of one man’s effort to save one girl. Several people I know will not be with us as we explore this horrible topic as they cannot bear to see the videos or engage in the discussion. Me too. I can’t stand to see the horrible things we humans sometimes do to each other. But I cannot ignore the problem; educating myself and others about it is the first step to making changes.
At Soul Link we think that God asks us to be aware, to be informed and to take whatever action we can. If you live in Mansfield/Wellsboro area, I invite you to attend this series that includes videos and thoughtful discussions. We may never make a difference in the lives of those enslaved but unless we learn, we cannot do anything. The video begins at 7PM in fellowship hall. We will also gather next Wednesday, the 12th of January and conclude on Wednesday, Jan 19th.