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Become a UMC Ally and Steward for Social Justice

Merriam-Webster defines “ally” as “one that is associated with another as a helper; a person or group that provides assistance and support in an ongoing effort, activity or struggle.” In recent years, the term has been adopted specifically to a person supporting a marginalized group.

Allyship requires hard work by people who are not self-centered, those willing to exercise good courage such as speaking truth to power relentlessly and as described in Matthew 23:23: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees; hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matter of the law, justice, and mercy and faithfulness.These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”

Whereas, tithing is the tenth we should give in all facets of our lives, it is not more important nor less important than servanthood.

What did Jesus say about tithing in Matthew 23:23? He warns against focusing too much on the rules of tithing without paying attention to the more important things like justice, mercy, and faithfulness. Bottom line? You should be giving in some way. A servant message beyond money is seldom heard in religious media today but our Stewardship Committee has started each campaign with this scripture verse since 2021. Advocating for the marginalized requires getting involved and in the words of the late congressman John Lewis, “Get into good trouble.”

Beware, sometimes advocacy is harder than just contributing money for causes, both are sorely needed. Becoming an ally means investing in issues you are passionate about in many ways.

  • Learn what the church says. The United Methodist Church’s Social Principles on the Natural World is a great place to start. This section of our Book of Discipline sets forth the basic position of The United Methodist Church on important social issues, including global climate stewardship. Explore the climate justice websites and other resources provided by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society and United Women in Faith. As you explore these statements and ministries, share what you learn with your friends, church family, and community. Become An Informed Ally.
  • Raise your voice by making your friends, church family and community aware of problems—then act on what you see. Apathy, inaction, and silence gets no ones’ attention let alone inspire people to resolve issues. Deliberately take on and embrace a proactive attitude and a can-do spirit with God’s help.
  • Contact elected officials: Urge local, state, and federal officials to social issues that improve the lives of people and our physical environments. That may include attending a rally, making a phone call, or sending an email or letter and praying without ceasing—an ally who practices knee-ology.
  • SMUMC’s Stewardship Committee challenges each individual church member to get involved and find ways you can be part of the solution. There is much to do and correct. Become active in our community and develop relationships with social conscious organizations that make a good difference.

Why? Biblically, it’s our responsibility, man’s covenant with God, so complete your worship and service forms.

In Genesis 1, God entrusts the earth to the care of human beings—you and me. As followers of Jesus Christ, we have a responsibility to preserve, protect, and care for what God has created including, human affairs, animal and plant life, the air, land, forestry, and water.

Today the Judicial and Legislative branches of government are in-fighting about converting the U.S. from a Democracy to Aristocracy using tools of deception, silencing certain citizens, and by creating unjust laws. We pray for God’s guidance, intervention, and protection. Even as we affirm the rights to assemble peacefully, vote freely and with integrity without intimidation or violent interference; top-heavy and resourceful forces rebel against what is just or right. We condemn the rhetoric from leaders inciting violence and division. We call on all to work for justice and the common good of the country and our democracy. We continue to pray for the healing of our nation. Please join me in praying these words from the Prayer in a Time of National Crisis (United Methodist Hymnal, page 517): Heavenly Father, May leaders be led by your wisdom; May they search your will and see it clearly If we have turned from your way, reverse our ways and help us to repent. Give us your light and your truth, let them guide us; Through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of this world, and our Savior. Amen.

Thanks for hearing our stewardship message and continue to praise God on this glorious Sabbath morning.

*Joe Iovino works for UMC.org at United Methodist Communications; contact him by email. This story was published Sept. 19, 2017, and adapted by Albertina McGirt. Stewardship Message: Become a UMC Social Justice Ally (Sept. 4, 2023)