Menu

Social Justice

Participating in advocacy and justice

Advocacy Work

Revisionist history on the last 75 years of white evangelicalism.

Black Mamas ATX — A 5th Sunday Mercy & Justice Presentation

Sunday, January 29 | 10:00AM | Sanctuary
The Mercy & Justice Team invites you to join us as we hear from Kelenne Blake-Fallon, Executive Director of Black Mamas ATX. The organization’s goal is to reduce and ultimately eliminate the alarming maternal mortality and morbidity rates among Black mothers in Central Texas. Black women have identified systemic racism as the biggest obstacle they face in their healthcare. One area of focus for Black Mamas ATX is transforming these systems by working to engage institutions in the process of understanding and interrupting institutional racism as an upstream determinant of health and contributor to disparate health access and outcomes. Learn more about these critical issues and ways we can support this work. Contact Pastor Cathy Stone for more information. You can learn more about Black Mamas ATX at blackmamasatx.com.

Bring questions and curiosity as First Church explores becoming a Reproductive Freedom Congregation

Conversation with Just Texas

Sunday, February 5 | 10:00AM | EDU Garrison Chapel
A project of the Texas Freedom Network, Just Texas organizes people of faith to shape public policy around reproductive health issues. First Church continues our discernment process about becoming a Reproductive Freedom Congregation with Just Texas. As we move toward a churchwide vote March 5 and 12, this is an opportunity to bring your questions and learn more about the goals and commitments of a Reproductive Freedom Congregation directly from Shan Schaffer, Faith Organizer of Just Texas.

Social justice film series debuts this spring

Movie Screening: Till

Saturday, January 28 | 2:00-4:30PM | SAN Wesley Hall
Bring your favorite movie snack and join Pastor Cathy and others to watch the movie, Till. We will watch the movie together before gathering on February 5 to discuss this film as part of our Film Series: Listen. Learn. Laugh. Love. Register for this screening and for the follow-up conversation about racial justice at fumcaustin.org/social-justice. Building entry information will be emailed prior to event. Contact Pastor Cathy with any questions.

Film Series: Live. Laugh. Learn. Love.

Sunday, February 5 | 5:00-6:30PM | Stotts Dining Hall, Austin Seminary, 100 East 27th St., 78705
Because movies can help capture our imaginations, pique our curiosity, and start conversations about injustice, we continue our spring film series with a chance to explore the themes of racial justice in the 2022 film, Till. In this emotional true story, Mamie Till-Mobley relentlessly pursues justice for her 14-year-old son who was lynched while in Mississippi in 1955. We will use clips to guide our conversations so participants are invited to watch the full film before we meet. This event is jointly sponsored by First UMC, St. Luke UMC, Westlake UMC, and in partnership with Education Beyond the Walls of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. 

Tour the George Washington Carver Museum

Saturday, February 4 | 10:00AM | 1165 Angelina Street
Some pilgrimages, like the Civil Rights Pilgrimage, take us far from home, but you don’t have to travel far to go on a spiritual journey where the gifts of Black people to history, culture, and justice are honored. We will visit the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center. Through the preservation and exhibition of African American material culture, history, and aesthetic expression, this museum works to create a space where the global contributions of all Black people are celebrated. We will meet at the entrance to the museum and plan to spend a couple of hours there. When finished, we will find somewhere nearby for an optional lunch and conversation. Entrance is free and masks are strongly encouraged. Contact Cindy Walter with any questions.

Book Study: Killing the Black Body

Tuesdays, February 7, 14, 21, 28 | 6:30-8:00PM | Zoom
In a media landscape dominated by racially biased images of welfare queens and crack babies, Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Libertyby Dorothy Roberts exposed America’s systemic abuse of Black women’s bodies when it was originally published in 1997. JoinPastor Cathyas we read and discuss this groundbreaking book by Dorothy Roberts.Killing the Black Body remains a rallying cry for education, awareness, and action on extending reproductive justice to all women and is as crucial as ever, even two decades after its original publication. Zoom link sent 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.