Justice and Activism

First United Methodist Church of Ann Arbor Statement of Racial Justice

“We recognize racism as sin and affirm the ultimate and temporal worth of all persons.” – The United Methodist Church, Social Principles

We seek to open minds, offer opportunities to reconsider beliefs and change behavior, starting with ourselves and our own congregants, while simultaneously working to change our culture. We are heartbroken by the loss of life, angered by police brutality and other forms of blatant, violent racism. We recognize the systemic oppression and racism faced by many groups in the U.S., and we see our history of injustices: stealing indigenous lands, enslaving people from Africa, villainizing immigrants and “othering” Asians, Latinx and other people of color. This overt racism along with covert racism, is not of God. We emphatically declare that Black Lives Matter. We pledge to intentionally work to bring God’s Kin-dom of love for our neighbor to our city, our neighborhoods and our local church, in all its ministries. Our love is manifested by our actions, and they demonstrate our stance of solidarity with Black, Indigenous and all People of Color.

“What does the Lord require of me, but to do justice, love mercy and to walk humbly with my God?” – Micah 6:8

The Justice League

The Justice League helps coordinate and nurture our mission, outreach and advocacy efforts. The Justice League is an umbrella organization for our many outreach projects and emerged from our strategic initiatives. FUMC has established a COVID-19 fund that is used to reduce financial hardships resulting from this crisis. Funds are used to meet the urgent needs of individuals and families, including groceries, medical bills, transportation, housing and mental health services. We also identify and support community agencies providing direct services, as funds are available. The Justice League supports the pastors in determining how best to distribute these funds.

Contact: justice@fumc-a2.org.

United Methodist Women

The purpose is to put faith, hope and love into Action to help empower and improve the lives of women, youth and children in the U.S. and around the world. Ann Arbor First UMW is one of the local groups that is part of this National organization. There are about 20 members on the Leadership Team. There is a separate booklet that lists the Leadership Team members as well as the members of the various subgroups within the church that usually meet once a month. Each group has a different focus, often related to building community, learning about local ways to help women, children, and youth, continuing spiritual growth, presenting one or more social action workshops every year, and helping with fund-raising to support local, national, and international missions. There is also a group of women that provide the Memorial Service Receptions, if requested.

Contact: Marilee Woodworth at marileewoodworth@gmail.com.

Immigrant 

Hospitality Team

The Immigrant Hospitality Team (IHT) formed after FUMC became an official Level II Sanctuary Solidarity Congregation as part of the Washtenaw Congregational Sanctuary (WCS) Network. The IHT coordinates ways to assist immigrant families in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area, specifically undocumented individuals facing deportation who are taking sanctuary in a local congregation’s building while they seek legal advice and assistance. Anyone interested is welcome to attend our IHT meetings, which are held the first Monday of each month. Meetings have been on hiatus since the pandemic restrictions have been in place, however monthly updates are communicated via email. Learn more.

Contact: Jo Goodrich at jgoodrich527@gmail.com.

Justice for Our Neighbors Michigan

Justice for Our Neighbors Michigan (JFON-MI) is a nonprofit that provides pro bono legal services to vulnerable immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers living in Michigan communities. The national program model was begun by UMCOR more than 20 years ago, and Methodist churches continue to be valuable partners. JFON-MI attorneys help low-income immigrants understand their choices and navigate the complexities and barriers of the legal system. Legal clinics and detention visitation programs run every month, although are currently virtual due to COVID-19. Educational and advocacy events take place throughout the year. FUMC AA supports by hosting events and activities, co-sponsoring educational programs and overall promotion of its work. To find out more, volunteer or make a donation, visit the JFON website.

Contact: Tori Booker at tbooker@jfonmi.org.

Disability Ministries

Our mission is to create and nurture a culture of hospitality in which people with disabilities are welcomed and participate in our church community.

We achieve this through addressing accessibility issues, bringing awareness to the community and advocating for those missing at the table.

Monthly disability awareness talks help educate and give insights into how our community can be supportive to each other. See a list of upcoming and past topics here.

Contact: Mary McClusky at mary.mcclusky@icloud.com.