A Moment for Mission
"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?" —Isaiah 58:6, NRSV
The United Methodist Church has a long history of tackling complicated, controversial and contemporary topics. For the past eight years, a diverse group of writers and editors has been revising the denomination's Social Principles, which since its founding has been an expression of the Wesleyan commitment to social holiness for The United Methodist Church.
The Revised Social Principles crisscrossed continents, was read and studied by thousands and will land in Minneapolis in May for final review and approval at the 2020 United Methodist General Conference.
The 2012 General Conference commissioned the General Board of Church and Society, a World Service Fund–supported agency, to revise the Social Principles to enhance its theological foundations, global relevance and meaning, along with its focus and succinctness, said the Rev. Mary Elizabeth Moore, revision team chair.
The revised document was divided into four sections: creation, economic, social and political communities. Scriptural passages and excerpts from John Wesley's writings introduce each section.
"We heard from 1,700 United Methodists from across the connection," Moore said. "Keeping our commitment to listen to the church, we analyzed all of the responses and identified the themes, critiques and suggestions." The final draft was released in seven languages in early October.
"The task force and editorial team listened to the chorus of voices and passions and the people of The United Methodist Church have their handprints all over the Revised Social Principles," she said.
—Adapted from "Revised Social Principles Reflect Worldwide Church," Kathy Gilbert, UM News, Dec. 12, 2019
Loving God, you invite us to loosen the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke. May it be so. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Fifth Sunday after Epiphany — Holy God of mercy, redemption and grace, this morning we bring our gifts and pray that you will dedicate them to your work of love and re-connection with all your children. These gifts seem small when balanced against what Christ has given us and what you continue to give us through the Holy Spirit. In our giving, may we grow in gratitude, trust, and faithfulness. In the name of Christ, who gave all for us, we pray. Amen. (1 Corinthians 2:1-12 (13-16)
Pursing peace is a core part of the work of being Christian. As followers of the Prince of Peace, we strive to end war and build peace rooted in reconciliation and justice.
In 2019, annual conference Peace with Justice coordinators, working with the General Board of Church and Society, gathered in New York City. They attended a meeting on Israel and Palestine at the United Nations. The agency supported actions and events for the U.N. treaty to prohibit nuclear weapon proliferation.
We joined activities to support peace on the Korean Peninsula, justice for Palestinians and to end U.S. military assistance to the Philippines military because of gross human rights violations. Church and Society also advocated for poverty alleviation in Africa at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Through the World Service Fund, United Methodists support the work of Church and Society as it strives to relate the gospel of Jesus Christ to congregations and the communities of which they are a part. Thank you!
—Mark W. Harrison, General Board of Church and Society, Dec. 17, 2019