Participating in advocacy and justice
Book Study: Decolonizing Christianity
Tuesdays, September 6, 13, 20, 27 | Zoom
In Decolonizing Christianity: Becoming Badass Believers, author Miguel De La Torre describes how white American Christians have aligned themselves with the oppressors who subjugate the “least of these,” and prophetically outlines how we need to decolonize Christianity and reclaim its revolutionary, badass message.
FUMC member John Hathaway, a retired judge and Deacon candidate in the ordination process of the UMC, will lead this discussion. Zoom link sent with registration.
Public Witness: Voter Registration Drives
Saturday, October 1; Sunday, October 2; Wednesday, October 5
Just as we pursue change by advocating for just policies, so too we are called to faithfully engage in the electoral process. Elections provide an opportunity for us to put our faith into action by engaging candidates, encouraging participation, selecting representatives, and voting on ballot initiatives.
Several people have recently become Volunteer Deputy Registrars (VDR), helping to certify new voter registrations, and supporting voting rights for all people. First Church’s VDRs will be holding drives for the public as well as our own community in anticipation of the upcoming registration deadline, which is October 11 for the November general election.
Will you consider becoming a Volunteer Deputy Registrar?
BOOK STUDY: A COMPLICATED CHOICE
For People Assigned Female at Birth: Sundays, September 25, October 2, 9, and 16 | 5:00-6:30PM | Hybrid – FLC Room 104 and Zoom
For People Assigned Male at Birth: Tuesdays, September 27, October 4, 11, and 18 | 7:00-8:30PM | FLC Garrison Chapel
Essential work from people of every gender identity, A Complicated Choice: Making Space for Grief and Healing in the Pro-Choice Movement by Rev. Katey Zeh invites us to nuanced conversation and a sacred act of listening to those impacted by the decision to end a pregnancy. The book is also a call to all people, especially “pro-choice” people of faith to examine our judgments about people who have had an abortion. We know that people of every gender have stories about ending a pregnancy, and there is power in de-stigmatizing those stories. As we move through a discernment process about whether to be a Reproductive Freedom Congregation, these book studies are one space where we can practice that work.
Book Study: The Truth in Our Stories
Book Party: Wednesday, September 21 | 6:00PM | Reverie Books
Book Study: Tuesdays, October 4, 11, 18, and 25 | 6:30-8:00PM | Zoom
FUMC Austin is excited to welcome Rev. Elizabeth Wright, executive director of JFON Austin, in October for a four-week exploration of the recently published book, The Truth in Our Stories, a collection of twelve stories, centering the voices of immigrants in their own words. These unapologetically honest testimonies challenge the public narrative about immigrants and dismantle the myths that lead to their persecution. Zoom link will be sent with registration.
Want to purchase the book and support local business? Celebrate immigrants and their stories, support the work of Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON), and buy local by getting your copy of JFON’s recent book, The Truth in Our Stories, at Reverie Books during their September storytelling event or anytime you are in South Austin.
Experiencing Hope in a Time of Despair
Sunday, November 6 | 5:00-7:00PM | FLC Great Hall
The pandemic, climate change disasters, racism, political vitriol, misogyny, the erosion of rights and mass death is taking an overwhelming toll on individuals, families, and communities. In this election season, politics have become a deep source of fear, anger, and division. How do we experience God’s peace in a time of disruption and pain? How can we find the energy to heal our world and ourselves when we feel so depleted? Where do we find actual, tangible hope in a time of despair? In a reflective, interactive gathering, author, youth worker, and community activist Mark Yaconelli, author of Between the Listening and the Telling: How Stories Can Save Us , as well as five previous books, will invite participants to engage in Christian practices that offer rest, connection, and hope.
Nurturing multigenerational friendships and community partnerships.
Disrupting systems of power to create positive change.
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.
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.
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 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 (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.
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.
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 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.