During Advent, members of St. Stephen have been active in showing their "visible witness" to God's unconditional love in two events.
Bells for BethlehemIn the video above, taken by Rev. Karen Williams, Celebration Ringers Dick Benson, Michael Carr, Tom Ellis, Nina Thompson and Jeanette Benson ring bells outside the church on Dec. 5 in support of Christians in Bethlehem. St. Stephen joined dozens of churches around the world in ringing bells at the same moment that bells rang in Bethlehem. The bell ringing was a demonstration against the Palestinian Authority's restrictions on Christmas celebrations this year because of heightened political tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.
United Against Racism & HateIn a similar witness, John Astle displays the sign that he and Cynthia Astle carried on Saturday, Dec. 12 in the Peace and Unity March and Rally sponsored by a new coalition, United Against Racism & Hate. An estimated 300 people walked from Fair Park to the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in a peaceful demonstration supporting Muslims, Syrian refugees and others who have been maligned recently in national political rhetoric.
The North Texas Conference was one of the co-sponsors of the event, and United Methodists were well represented. Representing St. Stephen, Cynthia and John met members from Northaven UMC, another co-sponsor, along with First-Dallas, First-Garland, Oak Lawn, and Grace-Dallas.
Read John's account of the event on Facebook here.
Our participation in these two broader events shows how St. Stephen United Methodist Church is "actively waiting" for Jesus by doing all we can to show God's unconditional love to the world. Through these events and others like them in the future, we are fulfilling our vision to "show God's unconditional love to the world through believing, proclaiming and serving."