Social Justice Ministries
Social Justice Ministries
Tempe First UMC is actively developing new ways to be engaged in social justice issues!
If you feel called to be a part of our social justice ministries, please connect with Kent Olson for more information.
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Our congregation has been exploring the possibility of working with Valley Interfaith Project. In September, retired seminary professor and community organizer Tex Sample preached on seeking justice for the common good. Below are some reflections on Tex's visit from Kent Olson, Minister of Social Justice.
Reflections from Kent shared at our annual church meeting at the beginning of November:
At the 9:30 service on Justice Sunday, we heard Tex Sample challenge us to start paying attention to the rapidly growing numbers of those who are otherwise voiceless. And he challenged us with the message that—no matter which candidate prevails—this election is not going to provide the primary solutions to the problems that we face. The real hope for change, Tex stated, was not going to emanate from our national leaders but from us—from our willingness and commitment to intentionally listen to those in our community who are in need, from our willingness and commitment to organize ourselves and others to speak truth to those who are in power, and from our willingness and commitment to invest the time that is required to gain the leadership skills that will be necessary to be effective in such an endeavor.
Tex went on to say that Valley Interfaith Project is an organization that has a proven track record in helping churches to do the listening, the organizing, and the development of the skills necessary to be effective in seeking justice and the common good. He invited us join with him in aligning ourselves with over 30 other local congregations by becoming a member institution of VIP.
To date, our church has responded in a powerful way to that invitation. On September 28, approximately 80 members stayed after church for several hours to engage in dialogue about pursuing justice and the common good. Several weeks later, 22 of our members met to hear specifically about how affiliating with VIP could help us as a congregation in our pursuit of a ministry of social justice. And just this last week, we had another dozen or so members respond to an invitation to become leaders in the process of establishing our church as a member institution of VIP.
If our church decides to take this step, joining VIP will take most of us out of our comfort zones. But then, folks like Amos and Micah and Isaiah and Jesus have been calling us to have the courage to do just exactly that. And this morning, Dave reminded us that it will require a tenacious faith to have the courage and the strength needed to take important new steps. I trust that a year from now, our Church Conference will hear amazing stories of tenacious faith, courage and strength resulting from our congregation joining with other congregations to pursue justice and the common good.