Typically, “service” has been interpreted as works of mercy and charity; now we are expanding our emphasis on service to include works of justice. Both are good; both are essential in our culture and in our development as individuals and as the Body of Christ.
And in addition to giving of ourselves to these and other works of mercy and charity (love), we believe we are called to works of justice, to go “upriver” to discover the reasons why the homeless are homeless, why the hungry are hungry, why the working poor may hold two jobs but still not have enough money–a living wage–to care for a family of three or four. That’s why we find ourselves in meetings with Austin Interfaith or Texas Impact or the Austin District’s Amos Commission, exploring the issue of homelessness or poverty, or standing with those who have no voice in our system as they ask to be heard in places of power.
United Methodists have a long and rich history of engagement on issues of social concern. John Wesley was a forthright advocate on prison reform, human rights, abuse of spirituous liquors, labor justice, healthcare, slavery, and the humane treatment of animals.
The Methodist Church formally entered into the social justice era in 1908 when the Methodist Episcopal Church adopted the first Social Creed. The creed was primarily a response to miserable working conditions for those working in mines, mills, factories and tenements.
Today, the FUMC Social Justice Team is governed by the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society. The General Board of Church and Society, which was created in 1972, is one of four international general program boards of the United Methodist Church as set out in the UMC Book of Discipline. At that time, the general conference of the United Methodist Church also adopted the church’s first Social Principles, which spell out the church’s position on specific social justice issues.
Today, the Social Justice Team strives to fulfill the mission of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society through the celebration of Justice Days, educating the congregation and others on social justice issues, and encouraging the congregation to participate in advocacy on social justice issues.
We believe in God, Creator of the world; and in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of creation. We believe in the Holy Spirit, and we repent of our sin in misusing. Read More.
The Social Principles are a prayerful and thoughtful effort of the General Conference to speak to the issues in the contemporary world from a sound biblical and theological foundation. Read More.
We affirm our unity in Jesus Christ while acknowledging differences in applying our faith in different cultural contexts as we live out the gospel. Read More.
The Natural World
All creation is the Lord’s, and we are responsible for the ways in which we use and abuse it. Read More.
The Nurturing Community
We believe we have a responsibility to innovate, sponsor, and evaluate new forms of community that will encourage development of the fullest potential in individuals. Read More.
The Social Community
We affirm all persons as equally valuable in the sight of God’s sight. We reject discrimination and assert the rights of minority groups to equal opportunities. Read More.
The Economic Community
We claim all economic systems to be under the judgment of God no less than other facets of the created order. Read More.
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. Read More.
The World Community
God’s world is one world. We pledge ourselves to seek the meaning of the gospel in all issues that divide people and threaten the growth of world community. Read More.
Below are upcoming events from our Social Justice team. Every 5th Sunday, a special topic is covered. Please join us for these discussions.
First United Methodist Church is a member of Texas Impact, a statewide religious grassroots network whose members include individuals, congregations, and governing bodies of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths. Texas Impact exists to advance state public policies that are consistent with universally held social principles.
Texas Impact not only advocates on behalf of the weak, but also provides its members, including FUMC, with information on policy issues and effective lessons for advocacy. Those interested can sign up for the Texas Impact e-mail alerts.
The Amos Commission is a program sponsored by the Austin District of the Southwest Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church. The program provides training to members of the congregation so that our members can discern what our faith says about social justice issues and then how to advocate for change where change is needed.
The Reconciling Ministries Network is a movement of United Methodists working for the full participation of all people in the United Methodist Church. The FUMC reconciling ministries team is a sub-team of the social justice team. In addition, the FUMC Adelphi, Genesis, Epiphany, Open Door, Downtowners, and Koinonia Sunday School classes are members of the Reconciling Ministries Network.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.