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Social Justice

Participating in advocacy and justice

Learning & Advocacy

Civil Rights Pilgrimage, a seven day road trip

Video Discussion Series: Christians and Climate Change

Tuesdays, April 9, 16, 23, and 20 | 7:00-8:00PM | Zoom
For decades, scientists have warned about the disastrous effects of climate change due to carbon emissions, and we see those predictions coming true as wildfires burn across continents and storms increase in fury and frequency. Join Pastor Cathy Stone and Dr. Becca Edwards for a video discussion series featuring renowned environmentalist and author Bill McKibben as we consider what Christians can do to address the climate change emergency. McKibben’s main message is this: we need to act now, and we need to act in community. Pooling our individual resources of money, talent, and energy is what can save us, and faith communities can play a part in bringing people together to demand the changes needed most to care for our planet. Zoom link sent with registration at fumcaustin.org/social-justice. Email Pastor Cathy with questions.

Civil Rights Pilgrimage, a seven day road trip

Tending the Garden: Genesis and Caring for Creation

Sunday, April 21 | 10:00AM | SAN Wesley Hall
Since the beginning of the Jesus Movement, Christians have been uniquely interested in the stories and traditions captured in the Book of Genesis–and especially in the first few chapters that describe the unfolding of Creation, including the Garden and the first humans. In these stories, God makes several covenants with humanity that require us to relate to Creation as responsible stewards. To hear more and grapple with what this means for our lives with God, join Dr. Brad King for coffee, cookies, and conversation about Creation. Register below so we are sure to have enough cookies!

Civil Rights Pilgrimage, a seven day road trip

2024 Civil Rights Pilgrimage Info Session

Monday, April 22  | 8:00PM | Zoom
Interested in this modern spiritual journey to the sacred sites of the struggle for civil rights in this country? Experience the history, horror, and hope of the Civil Rights Movement with stops in Montgomery, Birmingham, Selma, and Jackson on this eight-day driving pilgrimage. Join Pastor Cathy Stone for an info session about the October 13-20 trip and register your interest. Zoom link send with registration. Email Pastor Cathy with questions.

Civil Rights Pilgrimage, a seven day road trip

Lunch & Learn: Sharing the Story of At the Well

Sunday, May 5 | 12:15PM | FLC Great Hall
This spring, we are celebrating five years of transformation through At the Well, which offers weekly welcome, respite, and essential services to unhoused neighbors who identify as women. Join our dedicated volunteers for a time of experiential learning as they walk you through what a Friday morning of At the Well is like. We will share a meal and stories of love and transformation as we celebrate a milestone in this ministry of hospitality and compassion. Contact Pastor Cathy Stone to learn more about this event.

Civil Rights Pilgrimage, a seven day road trip

Mental Health and Faith: A Wesleyan Perspective

Tuesdays, May 7, 14, 21, and 28 | 7:00-8:00PM | Zoom
Since 1949, the month of May has been recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month “to increase awareness about the vital role mental health plays in our overall health and well-being.” Two centuries ago, as he struggled with mental-health issues impacting his faith, John Wesley preached and wrote on the importance of a holistic approach to health and healing, emphasizing the interconnectedness of physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Join Pastor John Hathaway for this study of Wesley’s sermons and other writings as we examine the intersection of faith, mental health, and physical wellbeing. Further information (including reading materials available online) and a Zoom link will be provided with registration.

Bridge Building

Nurturing multigenerational friendships and community partnerships.

Constructive Disruption

Disrupting systems of power to create positive change.

Justice

Working to eradicate injustice for the excluded and marginalized.

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, educating the congregation and others on social justice issues, and encouraging the congregation to participate in advocacy on social justice issues.

 

AMOS COMMISSION

The Amos Commission is a program sponsored by the Capital District of the Rio Texas 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.

Courts & Ports: Faithful Witness on the Texas-Mexico Border

Organized by Texas Impact and the United States Christian Leadership Organization, Courts & Ports Advocacy Intensive brings pastors and other faith leaders across the International Gateway Bridge to meet with asylum seekers, and to hear from legal and policy experts about the impacts of the Administration’s policies on vulnerable migrants. Most participants had not crossed the US-Mexico border before.

INTERFAITH ACTION OF CENTRAL TEXAS (IACT)

Interfaith Action of Central Texas participates in organization that fosters cooperation and understanding between different faiths and facilitates interreligious outreach into the community to benefit needy people. iACT sponsors various ESL classes and activities with refugees; CROP Hunger Walk, and; Hands On Housing.

Justice for our Neighbors (JFON)Austin Region

Justice for Our Neighbors (ARJFON), a United Methodist-affiliated immigration ministry welcomes refugees and immigrants into our communities by providing free, high-quality immigration legal services, education, and advocacy. As a part of this nationwide effort, ARJFON hosts regular legal clinics to provide affordable immigration legal services to those with limited income. ARJFON’s services are focused on family-based and humanitarian immigration law.

RECONCILING MINISTRIES NETWORK

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.

TEXAS IMPACT

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.

 

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.

Social Creed
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.

Social Principles

Preface
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.

Preamble
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.