Saturday, February 18, 2017

St. Stephen UMC Members March on Behalf of Immigrants & Refugees

St. Stephen UMC member Amy Martindale (bottom left) and co-teacher friend Kathleen Dugan (to Amy's right) walk on behalf of refugees. Photo by John Astle

Members of St. Stephen UMC were among the estimated 2,000 people who marched on Saturday, Feb. 18 in downtown Dallas on behalf of welcoming immigrants and refugees. Marchers traveled from the Dallas City Hall to the John F. Kennedy Memorial, where a rally took place.

Social Justice Chair Teddi Fulenwider, Lay Leader Keith Fulenwider, and members Cynthia and John Astle wore St. Stephen's "Love Is..." T-shirts for the walk. Keith and John were both photographed by other marchers who said they liked the slogans on the front and back of the T-shirts. A woman who described herself as a Catholic told John and Cynthia that she was grateful that some people were willing to be identified as Christians who believe that God loves everyone.

The question of St. Stephen serving as a "sanctuary church" for undocumented immigrants was discussed at the Feb. 12 Church Council meeting during the Open Forum. Council members agreed by consensus that St. Stephen isn't physically equipped to serve as a sanctuary church because we have no showers and no place for beds. However, the Council agreed that St. Stephen will do all we can otherwise to aid immigrants and refugees. Teddi Fulenwider said that Social Justice will research the immigration issue in greater detail and will report back to the Council in the near future.

The St. Stephen "Blue Shirts" are just visible. Photo by Teddi Fulenwider.

Other Christians were also present at the rally. Photo by Teddi Fulenwider.

Announcements 02-19-2016

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Walk for Immigrants and Refugees

Put on your "Love Is..." T-shirt and your walking shoes and come on down to Dallas City Hall at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18 for the Presidents' Day Weekend March for Immigrants and Refugees.

A newly formed local advocacy group called Choose Love Not Hate, inspired by the Women's March on Jan. 20 and part of the Action Network, is coordinating the march. They're exactly the kind of folks we St. Stephenites want to get to know as friends and work with in our larger community.

The situation involving even immigrants with have papers and refugees who have sponsors is becoming dire. A United Methodist lay leader in Kansas and two men served as a church shelter in Virginia were detained this week by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents. Read the articles on United Methodist Insight, the online news and views forum sponsored by St. Stephen UMC, to find out some of the latest.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Announcements for Feb. 12

     Ever wish you had more time to see the video announcements on Sunday at Church? Here's your chance to catch up! Starting today, we'll post the weekly video that's displayed on the screens in the narthex and foyer. Click on the small frame in the bottom right corner to expand to full screen.

      All our church videos are housed on our very own St. Stephen UMC Channel on YouTube. Visit it some time, and encourage your friends and family to visit both our website and our YouTube channel.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Let's Chat about Our Church Visuals

Do you sit in church looking at the hangings on the wall, pulpit and niche and wondering about them? Why are they there? Why do the colors change? Who hangs them? Aren't some of them tired and faded? Can we have new ones? 

The Worship Committee is inviting a group of interested persons to form an "umbrella" group to discuss and reevaluate our use of liturgical hangings.  We feel it is time to reassess, particularly now that we have the electronic screens.  From this group, we hope to come up with plans for the future that will involve guidance for conforming to the liturgical church year, creation of new pieces as needed and storage/maintenance of existing items.

If you are motivated to help with this project, please contact Jeanette Benson or Tom Council.  OR-just come to a brief organizational meeting on Sunday, Feb. 19, in the chapel immediately following morning worship.  We would welcome your interest!!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Texas Bishops Speak Out

An Open Letter to United Methodists in Texas and All People of Good Will

We, the United Methodist Bishops of the State of Texas, greet you in the love of Christ. We call upon those who claim the title “Christian” to remember that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, began his life as a homeless refugee, fleeing with his family to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15). Just as the Holy Family was forced to flee their homeland and seek safety, too many flee for their lives in our violent, terror-plagued world. 
In the face of such human tragedy in our world today, we, the bishops of The United Methodist Church in Texas, call upon all United Methodists to see Christ in the refugees of today, regardless of their nationality and/or social, religious, economic, or political background.
We share with others a common sense of frustration, hopelessness, and confusion as we view the unfolding images of today’s refugees in the news. We desire to welcome the sojourner, love our neighbor, and stand with the most vulnerable among us, while also being concerned for the security and well-being of our communities, state, and nation. It is legitimate and proper to be concerned about the safety of our neighborhoods and our country. It is also proper and right that we reflect Christian compassion and values in our response. Jesus was explicit in his teachings when he said, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” (Matthew 10:40).
We cannot let fear rule the day; we must let love champion our actions. We are a nation founded on immigration and forged by the courage of shared values to be a “light on the hill” and a beacon of hope in a broken world.
As Christians and as Texans, our values are grounded in respect and hospitality toward strangers. We recognize that these are difficult and complex times that call for the best of America’s values and our highest witness as followers of Jesus Christ. Accordingly, we call upon President Trump, Governor Abbott, and the leaders of our nation and state to seek a more compassionate response to immigrants and refugees. Joining with those who desire a safer America, we pray for a just and caring response to those most in need of our help and love.
Yours in Christ,
The United Methodist Bishops of the State of Texas
Bishop Earl Bledsoe, The Northwest Texas Conference (Northwest Texas-New Mexico Area)
Bishop Scott Jones, The Texas Conference (Houston Area)
Bishop Mike Lowry, The Central Texas Conference (Fort Worth Area)
Bishop Mike McKee, The North Texas Conference (Dallas Area)
Bishop Robert Schnase, The Rio Texas Conference (San Antonio Area)

Friday, February 3, 2017

Dallas Ties in 'Selma to Stonewall'

Friends, if you're thinking of going to see the documentary "Selma to Stonewall" as recommended by our Social Justice Committee, here's a good article in the Dallas Voice that tells some of the background of the movie. Click here to read "Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall."

The two people featured in the article, the Rev. Gilbert Caldwell and Marilyn Bennett, have ties to both Dallas and The United Methodist Church. Also, the Dallas Voice publication is one of St. Stephen's partners in serving the LGBTQ community (that's why there's a DV newsbox on our sidewalk). Enjoy the article, and let's think about gathering a group to attend this important film.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Take the UMC's Survey

Now's our chance for St. Stephen UMC members to share our views with the broader United Methodist Church. Here are instructions from United Methodist Communications on taking a survey about the denomination's global mission projects.

United Methodist Communications invites you to participate in an important research study about the direction of the church and its key denominational ministries and programs.

This survey should take about six to eight minutes to complete with your individual responses used only in aggregate with results from other research participants. We will hold your individual responses strictly confidential.
We recognize that you receive many requests for your time, but we hope you will take a few moments and give us your thoughts.

This is an important time in our denomination and your opinions on these issues are important to us.  A report based on these research findings will be shared with the Connectional Table and other boards and agencies.

If you have any questions or a problem in accessing the study, please contact