January is a resolution month. Overzealous people many times rush to make resolutions which in the turn of a week or two remain un-kept.
Well that’s the ways of the world but in any case, it’s back to business as from the first month in the year, and the first decade up to 2030.
Ringing in the New Year, well the American setting begins with Census 2020 under the catchword, “You matter, Get Counted.”
Every 20 years, census count is conducted to count every resident in the country. The information is used to determine how federal funds are distributed to each of the 50 states and will also impact local political representation.
The census will begin around mid-March and each household will receive a card with information on how to fill out the census online.
An option will also be available to take the census by phone or have a paper form mailed to resident.
It will take about 15 to 20 minutes to complete and will ask basic information such as name, age, sex, race and ethnicity, relationship of household members and ownership status.
Census officials have told undocumented residents that they have nothing to fear as the census information provided will only be used for the census count and will not be shared with any law enforcement agency.
While the census was conducted mainly on paper for hundreds of years, the 2020 census will offer US citizens the opportunity to respond via the internet for the first time.
If people don’t respond, they will visited at home by a Census Bureau employee equipped with a smartphone rather than a pen and paper.
The Census Bureau estimates that by 2035, people age 65 and over are expected to number 78 million while children under age 18 will number 76.7 million.
A new national law is now in operation in which anyone under 21 can no longer legally buy cigarettes, cigar or any tobacco products in the United States.
The law enacted by Congress has raised the age from 18 to 21 years.
Anti- smoking supporters welcomed the law saying it will make it more difficult for young people to get access to tobacco products.
A religious momentum is on here in which United Methodist Church leaders have unveiled a plan for a new conservative denomination that would split from the Church in an attempt to resolve a decades-long dispute over gay marriage and gay clergy.
A proposal called, “A Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation” envisions an amicable separation in which conservative churches forming a new denomination would retain their assets.
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The new denomination also would receive $25 million.
The next step would come at the Church’s General Conference in May.
Methodist Bishop Karen Oliveto, the denomination’s first openly gay bishop said the United Methodist Church leadership was “clearly at a point in which we couldn’t agree to disagree over same-sex relationship.”
Oliveto was challenged by the Judicial Council in 2017 when it declared that the bishop’s consecration “was incompatible with church law.”
Members of the 13 million person denomination have been at odds for years in the United States leading the call for full inclusion for same-sex people.
The rift widened last year when delegates meeting in St Louis toted 438 to 384 for a proposal called the Traditional Plan which affirmed bans on LGBTQ inclusive practices.
A majority of US-based delegates opposed the plan but were outvoted by US conservatives teamed with delegates from Methodist strongholds in Africa and the Philippines.
Concern over the future of the Church pushed members led by Bishop John Yambasu of Sierra Leone to convene a group to share ideas across the theological spectrum.
New York Bishop Thomas Bickerton said,§ that turned into a final panel made up of moderates, progressives and traditionalists from Africa, Europe, the Philippines and the United States.
Bickerton who heads 438 Methodist churches in New York said while he thinks it is an amicable solution “there is a degree of heart break within me because I never thought we would reach this point.”
Life in these United States – A plumber fixed a leak in a doctor’s house then billed him for $500.
“This is ridiculous”, the doctor said, “l don’t even charge my patients that much.”
The plumber replied, “neither do I when I was a doctor.”
Thought for the week…..Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.
By Rod Mac-Johnson
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