Church & Society
The Church & Society branch of UUMC works to create change where there are systems of injustice that marginalize God’s people and creation. Because any form of oppression stands against the gospel message, we seek to bring social change through education, advocacy and concrete, practical change.
Healing Broken Relationships
Interfaith Action of Central Texas
Contact: Rev. John Elford
iACT cultivates peace and respect through Interfaith dialogue, service and celebration. Opportunities include: monthly small group interfaith conversations; bringing hope to those who need help with home repairs; helping provide English classes and other programs for our newest neighbors; and celebrate different faiths through a special annual Thanksgiving worship event. Members of UUMC may serve as representatives to iACT and help connect our congregation with the group’s programs. UUMC also co-sponsors a Muslim women’s group dinner for the homeless during Ramadan each year.
Reconciling Ministries Committee
Contact: Bruce Kellison, Sally Ferguson or Mike Coughlan
The Reconciling Ministries Committee believes that UUMC should not just accept LGBT visitors and members but celebrate their contributions to our church life. The committee provides programming, classes and events to make our congregation and denomination more welcoming to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Among other activities, the Committee sponsors a bi-monthly LGBT Fellowship group as one way to better integrate visitors and members who may be isolated in our church. These gatherings take place the second Sunday of every other month and often include sharing a meal, listening to a speaker or discussing ways LGBT lives intersect with spirituality and life in the church. All are welcome to join as the gay-straight-alliance nature of the Fellowship is an important feature of its appeal. If you’d like to be added to our email list, please send a message to email@example.com.
Contact: Colleen Hobbs or Richard Bates
UUMC’s Green Ministry team increases environmental awareness through projects such as gardening, energy awareness and waste management. Members always are seeking new ways to raise the church’s environmental awareness and strengthen its green initiatives. All are welcome to join the team and share ideas.
Contact: Rev. Susan Sprague
BridgeBuilders — formed in 2004 by several Austin churches with predominately white and predominately African-American congregations — is a ministry of racial reconciliation that strives to build trust and work for justice. This group seeks to unite in Christian love and forgiveness members of all races and ethnic groups who have been divided by injustice, inequality and mutual distrust. We work to face the fears and brokenness in our souls that isolate us from God and from one another, and to seek forgiveness and mercy for injustice and errors that continue to divide us. Through educational programs, activism and joint fellowship events, we work in partnership with Wesley UMC.
Changing Social Policies
Contact: Rev. John Elford
Austin Interfaith is a non-partisan, multi-ethnic, multi-issue organization of more than 30 congregations and groups that work together to address issues affecting Austin families and neighborhoods. It’s a broad-based citizens organization committed to justice and democratic values. The group works to develop leaders and provide opportunities for member institutions to negotiate effectively through the political processes with local government and community leaders on issues of common concern.
Methodist Federation for Social Action
Contact: Richard Bates
MFSA is an independent movement of progressive United Methodists taking action on issues of justice, peace and reconciliation. Founded in 1907, MFSA calls upon the United Methodist Church to expand its understanding and embodiment of the radical call of the gospel to be the inclusive, justice-seeking, risk-taking Body of Christ. The Social Principles and Social Creed of the United Methodist Church have their roots in documents developed by the MFSA in 1908. The Southwest Texas Chapter of MFSA is a group of United Methodist laity and clergy who have been active in Austin since August 2005. The group meets on the second Thursday of the month, except during the summer. Members participate in the MLK March, Pride Parade and anti-death penalty events. The group also sponsors recycling of batteries, oil, paint and antifreeze, as well as a luncheon at the Annual Conference for progressive issues.
Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
Contact: Kathy Barrett
In accordance with the official United Methodist Church’s position opposing the death penalty and urging its elimination from all criminal codes, this group seeks to educate the community about the issue. TCADP strives to empower people and organizations to work for the elimination of the death penalty in Texas and across the globe.
Educating & Empowering
Contact: Brian Heymans
The Amos Commission’s mission is to empower and equip members of UUMC to influence public policy in ways that are consistent with the gospel and the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church. The group organizes speakers, trainers, training programs and web resources as well as lists of advocacy and community action organizations throughout Texas. The intent is to enable every United Methodist to become passionate about doing justice and going beyond charity — to change systems and bring God’s Kingdom here on earth. The UUMC Amos Commission is directly connected with the Austin District Amos Commission.
Economic Justice Committee
Contact: Trish Merrill
UUMC’s Economic Justice Committee believes that while works of charity for the needy are good and important, charity alone is not enough. UUMC must become engaged in activism for economic justice. The committee was created in 2012 and has spent its first year becoming educated about the causes and effects of our nation’s increasing income inequality and economic instability. The group is actively planning projects to raise awareness of economic justice issues.