Imago Dei: Image of God
The Southwest Texas Conference of United Methodist Women is sponsoring a retreat for women aged 16-40 April 19th-21st at Deer Creek Christian Camp in Medina, Texas. Join them as they explore how we are all made in God’s image in appearance, service, and worship. Partial scholarships may be available. For more information, contact Cindy Wallingford at 512-633-2705 or visit http://www.gbgm-umc.org/swtxumw/.
News from The United Methodist Women
United Methodist Women is a membership and faith-based organization. The Purpose of United Methodist Women reads: The organized unit of United Methodist Women shall be a community of women whose Purpose is to know God and to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ, to develop a creative, supportive fellowship, and to expand concepts of mission through participation in the global ministries of the church.
Membership is open to any woman who indicates her desire to belong and to participate in the global mission of the church through United Methodist Women. There are six active circles that meet monthly and many opportunities to get involved or learn more. For more information, please contact Rebecca Yohe, President (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call 478-1140
United Methodist Women, United Methodist Social Principles and Social Justice issues at our local level…
What does ALL this mean?
No matter where we look in our world today, it’s abundantly clear that there are “social justice issues” in every avenue of our lives. As members of United Methodist Women, we are called to “expand concepts of mission through participation in global ministries of the church. We are called to not only address directly many of the ills in our society (which we do through a multitude of excellent service projects) but to address the roots of those ills – in a nutshell, that’s the core of “social justice”.
United Methodist Women members are fortunate to have many resources from which to learn about social justice issues, their historic roots and the potential avenues open to address the specific problems.
Let’s begin with a brief history of the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church. The original Social Creed preceded today’s Social Principles and was adopted in 1908 by the General Conference of The Methodist Episcopal Church…a forerunner to the melding of The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and The Methodist Protestant Church that formed The Methodist Church.
The Social Creed differed from the great ancient theological creeds of the Christian church in that the writers of the Social Creed’s never intended it to stand for all time in its original form. The Social Creed was supposed to speak to peculiar social conditions of its time and change as conditions/interpretations changed.
In 1972 the title “Social Principles” was used for the first time and the division into six major sections (see below) was introduced.
- The Natural World – We affirm that we are responsible for the way we use the Lord’s creation.
- The Nurturing Community –We affirm the family and work to strengthen its relationships.
- The Social Community – We affirm all persons as equally valuable in God’s sight. We reject racism and assert the rights of racial minorities, religious minorities, children, youth, young adults, the aging, women, and disabled persons.
- The Economic Community – All economic systems are under the judgment of God.
- The Political Community – We hold governments responsible for the protection of people’s basic freedoms. We believe that neither church nor state should attempt to dominate the other.
- The World Community – God’s world is one world.
(From the Book of Discipline)We can learn a great deal by going online at the following sites:
- General Board of Global Ministries, Women’s Division www.gbgm-umw.org
- General Board of Church and Society www.gbcs.org
- Southwest Texas www.gbgm-umc.org/swtxumw
- Austin District UMW www.gbgm-umw.org/austinumw
- FUMC Social Justice Team email@example.com
We can also tap into the amazing amount of information available from social justice organizations with which our FUMC Social Justice Team is affiliated:
The mission statement of our FUMC Social Justice Team is as follows:
The First United Methodist Church Social Justice Team strives to educate the congregation and provide advocacy opportunities relating to social justice issues
Ann Teich is Mission Coordinator for Social Justice within our United Methodist Women organization here at First Church (firstname.lastname@example.org). Currently the Social Justice Team is in the process of helping identify (1) social justice issues of concern to FUMC members and (2) FUMC leaders who are willing to engage in action on those issues.
So far the issues that have generated the most energy are:
- Full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people within the United Methodist Church.
- Health care reform
- Equity in financial support and resources for public schools
- Rights of abused/neglected children.
The Social Justice Team is also in the process, through its 5th Sunday events, of educating the congregation about the above issues. March 31st, the next 5th Sunday, will be devoted to the issue of full inclusion of GLBT persons.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to information available about what Social Justice is, what we, as actively participating members of our own community, can learn about these issues, and how we might put our interest into action.
Dive in….ask questions, attend an event or a meeting….become familiar with what is happening at FUMC, within our own UMW Circles, and at the District, Conference and General Board levels. It’s not only interesting, it’s a level of knowledge that we are called to in order to bring wholeness to individuals, to the world, and to ourselves.