DSC General & Jurisdictional Delegation Shares Results

As with every General Conference, the proposed changes to our Social Principles are many and when passed, affect our Conference and local church work on justice issues. Reports and proposed legislation affecting Church & Society comprised over 200 pages for consideration at the 2016 session. Significant changes as noted by the General Board of Church & Society are as follows:

Bullying

Local churches are encouraged to adopt a policy of zero tolerance for all types of bullying. Remember to include cyber-bullying in your policy. The following statement can guide us in our policy development.

“We affirm the right of all people regardless of gender, socio-economic status, race, religion, disability, age, physical appearance, sexual orientation and gender identity to be free of unwanted aggressive behavior and harmful control tactics.” (http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/the-nurturing-community#Bullying)

Many of our local church youth leaders address bullying with our youth regularly. Your Conference Council on Youth Ministry, led by (St. Mark’s UMC / Tucson) has addressed bullying annually for a number of years now. We must remember that youth are not the only victims of bullying.

Family Violence

Our churches have been asked to work with abusers, helping them (and us) to understand root causes and forms of abuse and to help them overcome negative behaviors. The Principles in Section 161 on Family Violence now reads,

“Regardless of the cause or the abuse, both the victim and the abuser need the love of the church. While we deplore the actions of the abuser, we affirm that person to be in need of God’s redeeming love.” (http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/the-nurturing-community#family-violence)

A number of our Conference Outreach teams are already addressing the difficult question of how to be an effective Christian witness and source of help to abusers. Children & Poverty and the Anti-Human Trafficking groups hold this topic of outreach as a priority. But many questions remain, not the least of which is how our churches can fully comply with Safe Sanctuary policies as we minister to abusers.

Immigration

Paragraph 162.H on Immigration was amended to add a statement opposing all national immigration policies that separate family members or that include detention of families with children. The general church asks that local churches be in ministry with immigrant families.

Our Conference, while historically has been involved in immigration issues for many years, has strongly responded to these same needs with recent actions, some in the planning long before this amendment. Our South District is responding to the needs of immigrants with The Inn Project (https://dscumc.org/2016/12/the-inn-project). Our Immigration Task Force (Ella Rawls, Chair) is in the process of establishing a Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) legal clinic. We will join the network of JFON clinics already established throughout the country. JFON attorneys and volunteers advocate for immigrants on issues of social justice, assist immigrants by providing high-quality immigration services, advocate for immigrant rights, and offer education to communities of faith and the general public. The clinic will be located in the Tucson area. Currently, the team is working on raising sustainable funding for this effort.

Pornography

Our denomination added language to the Social Principles that both defines and denounces pornography. The statement reads,

“We oppose all forms of pornography and consider its use a form of sexual misconduct. Pornography is sexually explicit material that portrays violence, abuse, coercion, domination, humiliation, or degradation for the purpose of sexual arousal.” (http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/the-nurturing-community#Pornography)

The Conference Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (Lynn Wallesky – AZ Chair) specifically centered some of its work on this topic and presented at the 2017 West District Leadership event on the link between human trafficking and pornography. Members of the task force and staff Billie Fidlin are available to come to local churches to discuss this grave topic. The reference the group is using is “Pornland” by Gail Dines. Warning: the book is very graphic and a most difficult read; however it is an excellent resource that will provide churches with a complete understanding of the industry.

Resources

General & Jurisdictional Conference Blog

Do you have a question about the changes to the Book of Discipline or Social Principles?

Why We Voted For Bishop Oliveto

As the church’s highest court considers a challenge to her election, three delegates say she – someone with a deep faith, a love of the church, commitment to evangelism and experience as a pastor – was elected because of her qualifications and deep faith.

An Invitation to Prayer

The United Methodist Judicial Council will gather to consider a question related to last July’s election of Bishop Karen Oliveto, who was assigned by our Western Jurisdiction to serve the Mountain Sky Area. The oral hearing on the election of Bishop Oliveto will begin...

Yes, I Voted for Her

By Jim Nibbelink, Head of Delegation of the Desert Southwest Conference It’s been eight months since the Western Jurisdictional Conference elected Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto as a Bishop of The United Methodist Church. Bishop Oliveto has been faithfully and thoughtfully...

DSC Delegation Shares Results: Social Justice 1

By Jim Nibbelink, Lay Delegate With the arrival of 2017, we United Methodists are living by a new Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions. These documents are based on the actions of last year’s General Conference. So, what’s new? What’s different? What’s...

Hope for the Future

Dear Members and Friends of the Desert Southwest Conference, Grace and peace to you in the name and spirit of Jesus Christ! Our church is much more vibrant than the news coverage of floor debates might indicate. My hopes were buoyed by many stories of faithful...

Are you like me?

This week I’ve been at General Conference with hundreds of Christian people gathered to address important topics and decide how to be the Church in the world. Despite the hate and sadness that has often dominated the narrative of this Conference, I know the Holy...

An incredible day, for sure!

Dear Members and Friends of the Desert Southwest Conference, Highlights I was asked to preside over the morning plenary. It was a privilege to do so. Seeing friends and colleagues from around the connection. It is a small world! Hearing of ways our United Methodist...

Reunited at General Conference

By Rev. Dan Hurlbert I have been reunited with a friend at General Conference 2016 whom I hadn’t seen for years. We had “friended” each other on Facebook and decided to meet up at the Conference as time permitted. We were able to have a couple of conversations in...

God is good all the time and all the time God is good

Dear Members and Friends of the Desert Southwest Conference, Grace and peace in moments when God’s spirit breaks through! You have probably all experienced a moment or two in your life when you felt that God’s Holy Spirit was present in real ways. Today, I felt that...

Pin It on Pinterest