Photo: Members attending the introduction of Amachi Partnership to Desert Southwest Conference and Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Central Arizona include: L-R (seated), the Rev. Bob Holliday, Amachi coordinator and pastor of First UMC, Safford, Ariz. and Kerri Cole, community relations specialist, BBBS. (Standing), the Rev. Dr. Robert Burns, superintendent of the Central East District; the Rev. David McPherson, director of connectional ministries; Larry Coppock, director of civic youth serving agencies/scouting for the General Commission on UM Men; Doug Wright, conference scouting coordinator; Bishop Minerva Carcaño; Gina Trotter director of BBBS programs; and the Rev. Gary Kennedy, superintendent of the Central West District.
PHOENIX, Ariz.–– Lay members and clergy of the Desert Southwest Annual Conference will soon be serving as mentors to children of incarcerated parents through the cooperative efforts of the General Commission on United Methodist Men and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Larry Coppock, a staff executive met here June 1with Bishop Minerva Carcaño, other Desert Southwest Conference officials and staff executives of Big Brothers Big Sisters.
The matching program, called Amachi (a Nigerian word meaning "Who knows but what God has brought us through this child) was begun by Dr. Wilson Goode, former mayor of Philadelphia. In the 1990s Goode met a grandfather, father and son in the same prison. He vowed to take steps to combat this generational cycle.
The estimated 7.3 million children who have one or both parents under some form of state or federal supervision are the most isolated and at-risk children in America. Without effective intervention, 70 percent of these children will likely follow their parents into jail or prison. The Amachi mentoring program offers them different path - by establishing the consistent presence of loving, caring people of faith.
The Amachi Partnership was formally launched in August in churches in the Central East and Central West Districts. The program will later be expanded to other Desert Southwest Conference Districts. The Rev. Bob Holliday, pastor of First UMC, Safford, Ariz., is the coordinator of the Conference Amachi Project.
The Amachi program has been launched in 14 annual conferences with three more scheduled before November 1. The launches are funded by Human Relations Day grants allocated by the General Board of Church and Society.
In 2010, Amachi began in the Tennessee, Memphis, Holston, Louisiana, Detroit, Kentucky, Baltimore-Washington, Texas, North Texas, Southwest Texas and Rio Grande annual conferences. It normally takes six weeks before matches are completed. Each big brother or big sister agrees to make at least one bi monthly visit. Most of them take their little brothers or sisters to a weekly outing.
In 2011, Amachi was introduced to Oklahoma, California-Pacific and Desert Southwest annual conferences. The program will be launched in Rocky Mountain, North Georgia and Kansas East before November 1.
For information about the Amachi program, contact Coppock (firstname.lastname@example.org).