God's Renewed Creation:
Pastoral Letter from the Bishops of the United Methodist Church
“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8b)
Church and Society lifts up for the congregation many of the cutting edge mission opportunities and issues facing our world today and helps the church to remain a safe place to discuss, debate, and learn. In the past, the Church and Society committee has helped to develop support for a men’s halfway house shelter, helped the congregation study the issue of homosexuality, sponsored our church’s involvement in the community’s World AIDs Day celebrations, provided information and awareness on issues of Peace with Justice, sponsored Earth Day and increased our understanding of environmental stewardship. Click on this link General Board of Church and Society to find more information about national efforts. Another informational site is the National Council of Churches.
Last year the PUMC Church & Society committee distributed a survey based on the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church, identifying the issues most important to members.
They are grouped as follows:
Actions taken by the Church & Society Committee in response to those issues identified by the congregation:
- Sponsored a Wednesday program speaker on water issues and created a bulletin insert addressing availability and sustainability.
- Produced a Wednesday program on low water usage planting, and planted a replacement tree in the PUMC parking lot.
- An environmental presentation, John Muir Chautauqua–Doug Hulmes of Prescott College – proceeds donated to the Central Arizona Land Trust.
- Designated last October as Energy Awareness Month, with the following activities:
- An informative talk by Arizona Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes.
- An on-site visit to the APS Solar Energy Site.
- Energy audit information provided for the church and for families.
- Worked with the youth of PUMC in weather-stripping and weatherizing homes.
- Researched and published a brochure on Prescott Recycling Information.
- Researched local opportunities for a guided educational hike, providing information to the Church Youth program.
The Nurturing Community:
- Produced an in informative newsletter article on The Faithful Care of the Dying.
- Working toward family support within church and community, nurturing people of all generations to feel connected and cared for.
The Social Community:
- Mental Health Awareness
- Sponsored two newsletter articles on mental health, working with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness).
- The Right to Health Care
- Created a bulletin insert and newsletter article in May for Cover the Uninsured Week.
- In September hosted a Wednesday evening interactive discussion Healthcare Coverage: The Methodist Perspective.
- Hosted a community-wide informational and awareness forum with a panel of experts in September – Is There a Healthcare Crisis? A Community Forum.
- Created a bulletin insert for Healthcare Justice Sabbath in September 2006.
The Economic Community:
- Sponsoring the work of the Coalition for Compassion and Justice, www.YavapaiCCJ.org, founded originally by the PUMC Church & Society Committeeas the Interfaith Coalition for Compassion and Justice, and continuing to serve the community through its programs:
- Open Door – serving the homeless and those living in poverty, opening doors to self-sufficiency.
- Home Repair – helping low-income homeowners to remain in their homes by restoring them to safe and healthy conditions.
- Circles of Support – providing effective and ongoing support for families in poverty who wish to join the mainstream of life.
- Advocacy – for systemic change of conditions leading to poverty, hunger and homelessness.
- Addressed the issues of Corporate Responsibility in conjunction with Healthcare Justice.
The Political Community:
- Sponsored a Community Forum on Immigration Issues in May, basic freedoms and human rights.
- Follow-up conversations on Immigration, illegal immigrants, and migrant workers.
- Support N.A.I.C. (Northern Arizona Interfaith Council) for advocacy.
- Distributed voting information and early-ballot initiative forms.
- Sponsor a monthly Sunday School class “Conversations with Dave,” discussing political issues in the news and the responsibilities of people of faith, including the Methodist Perspective.
The World Community:
- In 2005, highlighted The National Day of Action for Darfur, created a bulletin insert for Peace With Justice Sunday about the Darfur crisis, continuing to inform about the ongoing crisis and recommended actions.
- For the June 2006 Peace With Justice Sunday produced a flyer on world poverty for the Sunday bulletin, and distributed handmade Peace Candles at the end of the service.
- Continue to research and inform on worldwide hunger and poverty issues.
Ongoing Church & Society Committee projects include a variety of recycling projects, environmental projects, promoting the UMCOR Coffee Program for Fair Trade Organically Grown Coffee use within the church and general use through sales, and interfaith support within our community.
The United Methodist Church is involved in many issues of both local and global impact. For further information, go to the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society and/or United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Contributions can be made to UMCOR either through their web site or through PUMC in a regular offering envelope.