What has your Church & Society team been up to lately?
Nancy Jamison is currently serving on the
Conference Board of Church & Society Immigration Sub-group.
This group is working on setting up clinics in Arizona to help
immigrants with their paperwork and other challenges they face
as newcomers in this country.
Chuck Smith, Chair of our Connections group, has continued
to work on the Bullying Project. This August team members
and other volunteers are teaching children's Sunday School classes
on how to recognize and prevent bullying in their schools. Books
on bullying, donat-d by church members, are being used in the
classrooms to facilitate this study.
Chuck Winkler continues to bring awareness
to the problem of domestic violence in our society. He has
been working with UMOM Domestic Violence Center and getting
church members to provide badly needed supplies for the center.
Blanche Berreman, Koinonikos editor, edits and prints articles
relating to the work of the team as the need arises.
Church & Society will have a booth at the annual mission fair
again this fall. Look for our display. We welcome your suggestions
and your participation in our activities.
Jane Baker, Chair Church & Society
Our Mission and Purpose: "Advocating for Peace and Justice."
At our last General Conference, the mission statement of the United
Methodist Church was changed. In addition to "making disciples of
Jesus Christ," the following words were added: "for the transformation
of the world!" This is what the board of Church & Society is all about!
We are "change agents" for the transformation of the world!" In order
to accomplish this, members of the board are called to define this
role for the congregation by providing the Biblical foundation for
social change, tools to the congregation to implement these changes,
and empowering the congregation to act in ways that promote peace and
justice for all. Above all, Church & Society will always insist that
the church is more than changing individuals. It is about changing
society; and in so doing, helping to realize fully the Kingdom of God
on this earth that Jesus came to bring.
The Church & Society's newly formed ministry team's mission is "To encourage a culture of
social awareness and responsibility at Dayspring" through "prayerfully considering Biblical and
Wesleyan precepts." Jesus' main focus in the Sermon on the Mount was the Kingdom of
God. He used parables to illustrate what that Kingdom would be like. Several of these parables
involved finding and caring for the "lost" in our society. This involves looking out for the disadvantaged
and the disenfranchised in our society and prodding our government to pass and
enforce laws that promote justice and equality for all.
Our founder, John Wesley, a devoted student of the scriptures, was on the forefront of ministering
to the poor in England. His preaching on the streets to the coal miners got him into
trouble with his own church. United Methodists have always been known for their social concern
and activism. So, from time to time, you will see your local Church & Society team raising
issues that prick your social conscience and encourage discussion on some of society's most
controversial issues. We see this as mandated by scripture as well as United Methodist history
Jane Baker, Chair, Church & Society
"Why Church and Society?"
If you attended Pastor Jane's Class on Methodism,
you heard about the importance of social justice in the history
of our church beginning in England during the Industrial Revolution.
Our founder, John Wesley, was concerned that the Church of England,
his church, and the church of his father, was not concerned about
the serious social problems that were occurring all around it.
Child labor was rampant. Coal miners spent all their daylight
hours in the mines never seeing the light of day, and children
were used as chimney sweeps, sometimes getting caught in the
chimneys and left there to die. Wesley felt that it was the
mission of the church to minister not only to the middle and
upper classes that attended on Sunday mornings, but to help
the poor and the outcast outside the church in its environs.
He felt so strongly about this that he preached in the streets
and, as a result, was banned from preaching in his own church.
Unfortunately, there are still many in our church today who don't
feel social issues should be a concern of the church. They feel
the church should only be concerned about personal faith and
salvation. Many United Methodists are willing to give to the poor,
to support the church's missions and this is a wonderful and
necessary thing. However, when it comes to getting involved in
social change, the unjust systems that create poverty, they feel
the church should draw the line. The church should stay out of
anything political or governmental.
As chair of your local Church & Society team and a member of the
Conference Board of Church & Society for the past eight years,
I want you at Dayspring to know what this ministry is all about and
how it differs from Missions. It was Church & Society that planned
the Immigration Forum last October. I will continue to make our
presence known in the coming months in any way that I can. I welcome
your questions and your thoughts about this important ministry.
Rev. Jane Baker Chair, Church & Society Team
Immigration Reform is one of the top priorities of our Conference
for the next quadrennium. Jim Perdue has been sent to this conference
to focus on this issue and has produced several studies that are
available on the Conference website desertsw.org.
If you type in "Immigration" on the website (or simply click on the links
below), you will find the following studies available:
Immigration Reform 101: a series of one-page background articles
each dealing with a specific issue relating to immigration.
A new web-based study which involves reading texts, completing
assignments and projects and participation in forum discussions.
Assignments can be completed at the student's convenience.
Enrollment in the first one of these courses is limited. The book,
Christians at the Border, by Daniel Carroll, will be the
main text. There is no charge for this course. You can enroll on
Log in as "guest" and choose "Enroll me in this course."
Dayspring's "Connections" team is a sub-group of the Church and
Society ministry. Connec-tions offers support to and education
about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) persons
and their families. It also advocates for the intrinsic worth
and equal treatment of all persons.
The first Friday of each month, the team hosts as many as 50
persons who come to give and receive support at the monthly
Tempe PFLAG meeting. PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Persons) provides a safe
environment for people from teens to grandparents to ask questions,
listen to stories, share tears and laughter, and find resources.
This ministry has grown into one of the largest PFLAG meetings
in the valley.
One issue of particular concern is the bullying directed
at many young people regarding their sexual orientation.
Connections members are researching materials and planning
a seminar or series of meetings on this subject. Watch for details.
Church and Society
In the past several months, I have written some short articles trying
to explain the mission of the newly formed Church & Society Team at
Dayspring. In addition to these articles, the team has had tables on
the patio on two different occasions: one dealing with the proposed tax
increase, which Arizona voters passed in a special election, and the
other on comprehensive immigration reform.
It is my understanding that several members of the congregation have
wondered why the church is getting involved in these political and
societal issues! Many of you feel that the church should stick to
the spiritual and faith realm and not address controversial issues
such as these. Some may have even wondered if this is a violation
of separation of church and state.
Several months ago Pastor Tews wrote an article in the Koinonikos
stating why it is important for the church, and more specifically
the United Methodist Church, to speak out on issues such as these.
She pointed out that our founder, John Wesley, was involved in
social movements to improve the lives of those in England whom he
believed were being discriminated against or treated unjustly.
The United Methodist Church has always been concerned about the
outcasts of society and about helping the Kingdom of God that was
central in Jesus' message to be realized in our world today. "Thy
Kingdom Come!" "Thy Will be done...on Earth..." This is our
heritage and this is what we are called to do as the church in
If you would like to know more about what our church is doing
nationally on social justice issues, you can access the General
Board of Church & Society by clicking on this link: