Justice Ministry

Statement of Inclusion

“We welcome all people to the life of this congregation. We believe that we are all in need of God’s love and grace and that God, through Jesus Christ, intends the church to be a community that incarnates love, grace and justice for all people. Holding true to that belief, we welcome and encourage all persons, including persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities, in every aspect of our Christian life together.”

– The First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple

Reconciling Ministries

Welcome to the LGBTQI and Straight Allies page of First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple. We formed this group of friends for support, social activities, and to tell our stories to each other and the greater community. Our hopes for this group are endless, and we hope you will join us!

We are planning social gatherings every 4-6 weeks and are open to ideas about how to engage, educate, and learn from each other and the congregation.We hope to build on the “statement of inclusion” that the church council approved in the early 1990’s. This statement is printed in every church bulletin and other documents published by the church. We continue this welcome and realize that it is a continual process for full inclusion of all as God’s children in the United Methodist Church and greater society.

Please for more information and questions contact us at RainbowChicagoTemple@gmail.com

Church in the world

The scope of the Church in the World committee is to respond to the call defined in the United Methodist Social Principles. The UM Social Principles state that, “They are a call to faithfulness and are intended to be instructive and persuasive in the best and prophetic spirit as well as a call to all members of the United Methodist Church to a prayerful, studied dialogue of faith and practice.” This ministry seeks to apply this statement to human issues in the contemporary world and is comprised of several task forces each designed to focus on a particular justice area.

In 2014, the Justice Ministry turned out 50 people to Martin Luther King event with our partners at IIRON, sent one person to IIRON community organizing training, sent twelve Temple members traveled to Springfield as part of an IIRON delegation and met with IL representatives to confirm and secure support for legislation related to taxation and restorative justice, held two movie nights to educate on the issue of Mass Incarceration and Fracking, participated in phone banking to aid in the passage of Marriage Equality in IL, participated in the congregation holy conferencing and vote to affirm Marriage Equality at the Chicago Temple, participated in the Cowboy-Indian Alliance related to the KX pipeline, lobbied JCAR for strong fracking regulations, attended legislative hearings in Chicago regarding concealed carry of guns, attended hearings in Chicago regarding corporate tax transparency, attended community forums associated with mass incarceration delivered by Metropolis Strategies and Chicago Community Trust, staffed a justice table on Sundays to bring attention to justice issues aligned with UM Social Principles, participated in Homecoming to promote the work of the Justice Ministries, and ran a five-week series of bulletin inserts highlighting five justice issues from the UM Social Principles (including testimonies from committee members given during worship).

The Church in the World Committee plans several initiatives for 2015. These include establish or further engage relationships with Chicago-area UM churches to address Social Principle justice issues together and to empower neighborhoods served by these congregations, collaborate with General Board of Church and Society to better establish justice ministries with Chicago-area UM congregations, narrow environmental task force focus to fracking, engage the Community Renewal Society within the Restorative Justice area, establish a stronger relationship with ARISE Chicago in its work for a living wage, narrow the focus with IIRON to Corporate Responsibility, align with the Northern IL Conference Urban Strategy, establish a voter registration/education task force, establish a task force focused on mental health/disabled, domestic violence, and human trafficking, establish a strong justice communications task force to coordinate with the Temple Communications Committee, establish an immigration task force, and develop a strategy to amend the Book of Discipline regarding Marriage Equality for General Conference in 2016.

The dream goals of the Justice Ministries are lofty, and sound very much like God’s kingdom breaking through: for the United Methodist congregations in Chicago to be major contributors to all persons having a job earning a living wage, progressive taxes and corporate responsibility to fund the social safety net (then the tireless efforts of the homeless ministry could be shifted other human needs to improve quality of life and spiritual growth), petty drug users eliminated from the criminal justice system and referred instead to treatment programs, all people have access to health care (including mental health care),and elimination of fossil fuels with the adoption of renewable energy (which would create living wage jobs). Ultimately, the committee strives for every congregation member to contribute some combination of their time, talent, or funds for these dream goals to be realized.

Policy for Marriage Equality

Whereas, the First United Methodist Church – Chicago Temple has been a Reconciling Congregation since 1996;

Whereas following the vote to become Reconciling we crafted and adopted our Statement of Welcome and Inclusion which is on every worship service bulletin and in our written publications and online;

Whereas the Statement of Welcome and Inclusion is one of the reasons many of our members were attracted to and became part of the ministry and life of the Chicago Temple;

Whereas our Statement of Welcome and Inclusion has defined our identity to the public and ourselves since its inception: it is who we say we are to ourselves and others;

Whereas, the State of Illinois affirmed marriage equality, which became effective on June 1, 2014;

Whereas our Church Council at the June, 2014 meeting voted unanimously to reaffirm our Statement of Welcome and Inclusion;

Therefore, be it resolved, that First UMC at the Chicago Temple will affirm weddings in our church building for all couples that the pastors deem to be ready for this sacred commitment and are prepared to enter into the covenant of Christian marriage.

Therefore, be it further resolved, that in the event that one of our pastors is brought up on charges for presiding at a same-sex wedding, we will support them in whatever ways possible and appropriate, including but not limited to, emotionally and spiritually.  We will explore forming a not-for-profit to help defray financial and legal expenses.

We affirm that God’s love and grace is available to all.  The congregation at FUMC-Chicago Temple reaffirms our commitment to justice and equality.  We vow to work within the denomination to change the language of the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church regarding same sex marriages so that it may be consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ in loving and accepting all persons in every aspect of Christian life.