Copy
Heat and Light
View this email in your browser
 
During a July 5 prayer vigil, Rev. Cal Haines, of Grace UMC in Lake Bluff, the Rev. Patricia Bonilla, and Rev. Esther Lee of Christ UMC in Deerfield hold candles and remember the shooting victims and those injured at the Highland Park July 4th parade. (Northern Illinois Conference Photo)

United Methodists across the United States and in Europe sweltered under excessive heat this week while they attempted to bring light to the heat of recent events.
 
Independence Day celebrations were marred July 4 when a gunman opened fire on a holiday parade in Highland Park, Ill., an affluent northern suburb of Chicago. Eight people were killed, including both parents of a 2-year-old boy found wandering bloody and alone in the aftermath. Another 29 people were treated for gunshot wounds, including an 8-year-old boy whose spine was severed by a shot to the chest. Northern Illinois Conference communications director Anne Marie Gerhardt describes the aftermath as Highland Park's faith communities rallied to comfort the stricken community.
 
Altogether, the weekend of July 2-4 saw 17 mass shootings, with a total of 18 people killed and 99 people injured, according to Gun Violence Archive. The Rev. Rebekah Simon-Peter argues that churches can do more to stem the tide of gun violence in the United States. In the aftermath of the Highland Park shooting, Chicago Area Interim Bishop John L. Hopkins urged United Methodists to several individual and congregational actions to reduce gun violence, including posting signs prohibiting guns in churches, joining ecumenical and interfaith prayer vigils on gun violence, and advocating for common-sense gun laws. Above right, A memorial of flowers and candles for the victims and all those injured grows on the sidewalk near the blocked-off area of the shooting. (Northern Illinois Conference Photo)
 
Several commentators took stock of the circumstances surrounding last week's decisions by the U.S. Supreme court that overturned the right to abortion; sided with a fired coach on public prayer in school; and stripped the Environmental Protection Agency of its power to regulate carbon emissions that cause the climate crisis. Robert P. Jones (at left), founder and CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, warned that SCOTUS' conservative majority is employing a faulty reasoning on "history and traditions" that is framed by Christian nationalism. The Rev. Paul R. Graves assessed Christian nationalism from a pastor's viewpoint. Susan M. Shaw also cautioned that the court could revisit many recent decisions such as the ruling that granted marriage equality to gay and lesbian couples. Stan Hastey of Baptist News Global asserted SCOTUS is being manipulated by "an aggressive and radicalized supermajority of justices" whose decisions are tearing down the separation wall between church and state.
 

A Utah Food Bank volunteer loads groceries for a woman at a food bank distribution Friday, May 13, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Inflation is hitting food distribution ministries hard as pandemic-spawned federal supports fall away. For example, St. Andrew's UMC in Plano, Texas, now serves between 800 and 1,200 families a week, roughly four times the volume of 2019, according to a Religion News Service story. Ryan McQueeney, an analyst in Sustainable Investment Stewardship for Wespath Benefits and Investments, describes why it's important for investors to care about food, agriculture and biodiversity.
 
Russia's war on Ukraine also is causing spikes in food insecurity and hunger worldwide. Insight Editor Cynthia B. Astle reports the plea of Ukrainian environmental lawyer Svitlana Romanko, who urges divesting from Russia's fossil fuels in order to deprive Vladimir Putin of funds to continue his war against Ukraine.

In another Crisis Watch column, Editor Astle reports that Methodist Federation for Social Action urges United Methodists to join in the #HotFarmWorkerSummer campaign sponsored by United Farm Workers Foundation. The goal is to assure that farmworkers get the protections they need to avoid heat-related illnesses while picking crops in this summer's excessive heat. Meanwhile, immigrants bused to Washington, D.C.'s Union Station as a political stunt by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott are receiving immediate help in resettling from Capitol Hill UMC and a coalition of faith-based groups, writes Melissa Lauber of the Baltimore-Washington Conference.  At right, Volunteers at Capitol Hill UMC in the Baltimore-Washington Conference help arriving migrants process their immigration forms. (BWC Photo)
 
In UMC-related news and views, Emily McFarlan Miller of Religion News Service updates the status of the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace through Separation as more congregations disaffiliate. The Liberation Methodist Connexion plans another "Stone Soup for the Soul" online spiritual gathering. The Rev. Ben Gosden counsels showing love to one another, even as negative emotions run high in the United Methodist separation. United Women in Faith (formerly United Methodist Women) urged support for two federal bills aimed at racial justice in schools and providing a just transition to sustainable energy.
 
The Connectional Table's annual "State of the Church" report focuses on how the UMC "has sought to better define its missional and theological identity" over the past year, says Bishop Christian Alsted, the agency's chair. According to its announcement, "the report is built around the #BeUMC campaign, which celebrates how the church sees itself as United Methodists."
 
This week's watchword is "the hard work of hope," a phrase originated by biblical scholar Walter Bruggeman and transmitted to us by Dr. Steve Harper. He writes: "The hard work of hope is done through resolve, energy, courage, and imagination. Each of the words brings the light of God to bear upon the challenges we face." Here's hoping you have a respite from the heat in order to experience God's light in the coming week.

Words for Your Week

"We are living in a time of deep political, economic, religious, social, racial, and generational polarization. This polarization is undergirded by what Arthur Brooks calls the “culture of contempt.” In the culture of contempt, differences are framed as fatal which deepens distrust of the other and encourages a gleeful sense of superiority over others. Most of all, this culture of contempt fuels an ever-ready sense of outrage, draining us before we even get to the issues that ought to cause real outrage: human trafficking, homelessness, hunger, poverty, and hierarchies based on color, money, or privilege."
– The Rev. Rebekah Simon-Peter, "Disarming the Culture of Hate and Violence"

 
Was this newsletter forwarded to you? Click here to subscribe for yourself.
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward

MFSA Urges Support for Hot Farm Workers Summer Campaign

By Cynthia B. Astle on Jul 07, 2022 01:59 pm
Support farmworkers who are picking crops in excessive heat; the closing window to solve the climate crisis; and United Women in Faith backing racial justice and climate legislation.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like MFSA Urges Support for Hot Farm Workers Summer Campaign on Facebook

LMX Plans 'Stone Soup for the Soul'

By News and Staff Reports on Jul 07, 2022 10:04 am
Participants are invited to share prayers, readings, poetry and stories of how they're exploring liberation in their own contexts.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like LMX Plans 'Stone Soup for the Soul' on Facebook

Why Investors Should Care About Food, Agriculture and Biodiversity

By Ryan McQueeney on Jul 07, 2022 08:14 am
While our grocery and dining choices may seem small, the systems that underpin the food industry and determine how food eventually makes it to our plates are incredibly big and far-reaching.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like Why Investors Should Care About Food, Agriculture and Biodiversity on Facebook

A Pastor Looks at Christian Nationalism

By Paul R. Graves on Jul 07, 2022 08:04 am
Healthy Christianity speaks prophetically that the power of love must disrupt and replace the love of power for our society to become more compassionate. Christian nationalism applies distorted faith values to extreme national feeling.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like A Pastor Looks at Christian Nationalism on Facebook

Faith Communities Gather to Grieve, Remember and Pray after Highland Park Parade Tragedy

By Anne Marie Gerhardt on Jul 07, 2022 08:04 am
To bring the community words of solace, leaders of many denominations and faiths came together to offer prayers of healing and hope at area churches and synagogues the day after the tragedy.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like Faith Communities Gather to Grieve, Remember and Pray after Highland Park Parade Tragedy on Facebook

Capitol Hill UMC and Baltimore-Washington Conference Join Network to Welcome Busloads of Migrants

By Melissa Lauber on Jul 07, 2022 08:04 am
Capitol Hill UMC has joined other organizations opening its doors to people who arrive at Union Station in Washington, D.C., usually hungry, tired and often traumatized, with only a small plastic bag of possessions.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like Capitol Hill UMC and Baltimore-Washington Conference Join Network to Welcome Busloads of Migrants on Facebook

Sex and the Bible

By Jane Ellen Nickell on Jul 06, 2022 04:52 pm
No area requires that we contextualize biblical guidance more than sexuality and marriage.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like Sex and the Bible on Facebook

Inflation Boosts Demand at Food Banks as Pandemic Anti-hunger Measures Fall Away

By Haley Barker, Riley Farrell and Marika Proctor on Jul 06, 2022 04:52 pm
The inflation that has loomed over the economy and restricted many Americans' purchasing power of late has doubly affected low-income people who already struggle to get by.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like Inflation Boosts Demand at Food Banks as Pandemic Anti-hunger Measures Fall Away on Facebook

Incoming WCC Head Jerry Pillay: 'Our Task Is to Proclaim God's Name'

By Jack Jenkins on Jul 06, 2022 04:52 pm
The new head of the World Council of Churches says he's willing to talk with anyone, including his recent critics, if they're willing to see the WCC apart from misconceptons about the global ecumenical body.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like Incoming WCC Head Jerry Pillay: 'Our Task Is to Proclaim God's Name' on Facebook

What Happened to United Methodists' Proposal to Split the Denomination?

By Emily McFarlan Miller on Jul 06, 2022 04:52 pm
Emily McFarlan Miller of Religion News Service exmines the current status of the independently negotiated agreement that was to allow The United Methodist Church to divide relatively amicably.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like What Happened to United Methodists' Proposal to Split the Denomination? on Facebook

This Supreme Court's Dangerous Vision of 'History and Tradition'

By Robert P. Jones on Jul 06, 2022 04:52 pm
We are seeing in real time naked attempts to restore the old hierarchies of Christians over non-Christians, white over non-white, and straight cisgender men over all others.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like This Supreme Court's Dangerous Vision of 'History and Tradition' on Facebook

Want to Fight Russia in Ukraine? Divest from Fossil Fuels

By Cynthia B. Astle on Jul 06, 2022 04:52 pm
A Ukrainian environmental lawyer says divesting from Russian fossil fuels will deprive Vladimir Putin of the resources necessary to continue his aggression against Ukraine.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like Want to Fight Russia in Ukraine? Divest from Fossil Fuels on Facebook

Chicago Bishop Urges Prayers, Action after July 4 Shooting

By Bishop John Hopkins on Jul 05, 2022 05:36 pm
Interim Bishop John Hopkins urges Northern Illinois United Methodists to pray for the victims of the July 4 shooting in Highland Park, Ill., and to use UMC resources to fight gun violence in America.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like Chicago Bishop Urges Prayers, Action after July 4 Shooting on Facebook

The One Who Showed Him Mercy

By Katie Z. Dawson on Jul 05, 2022 05:36 pm
The parable Jesus tells about the good Samaritan asks us to look for those who are dying on the side of the road. It calls us to pay attention to the oppressed and the poor. It challenges the ways we put religiosity above pastoral care.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like The One Who Showed Him Mercy on Facebook

They Will Know We Are Methodists by Our Love

By Ben Gosden on Jul 05, 2022 05:36 pm
For many, to wait any longer would be a leadership malpractice in their local churches. For many others, these next two years are an act of patience and resiliency in leadership as we wait for the official details of our denominational split.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like They Will Know We Are Methodists by Our Love on Facebook

A History of Incompatibility, Part 12

By Charlie Baber on Jul 05, 2022 05:36 pm
Research seems to say they’ll know we are Christians by our hate. More specifically, Christians are known first for what we stand against, not for our love of God or even our love of neighbor.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like A History of Incompatibility, Part 12 on Facebook

Disarming the Culture of Hate and Violence

By Rebekah Simon-Peter on Jul 05, 2022 05:36 pm
Why so much gun violence in our nation? Many factors contribute to gun violence including the deflection of personal responsibility, untreated mental health issues, lax gun policies, easy access to firearms and our violent, hate-filled culture.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like Disarming the Culture of Hate and Violence on Facebook

Freedom Is as Freedom Does

By Bishop Gary E. Muller on Jul 05, 2022 05:36 pm
Freedom is an inalienable right woven into the very fabric of creation by God. Ultimately, God has created human beings to be free and to exercise freedom. Of course, this can be a risky venture because people can choose to use freedom for harm.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like Freedom Is as Freedom Does on Facebook

State of the Church Report Stresses UMC's Identity in Christ

By UMCom Office of Public Information on Jul 05, 2022 05:36 pm
Connectional Table chair Bishop Christian Alsted says the report “has sought to better define" the UMC's missional and theological identity in a time of tremendous change.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like State of the Church Report Stresses UMC's Identity in Christ on Facebook

‘If They Come for Me in the Night, They’ll Come for You in the Morning’

By Susan M. Shaw on Jul 05, 2022 05:36 pm
Now the hard-fought rights and protections we’ve won for our relationships — are vulnerable to a conservative Supreme Court majority with a strongly religious agenda.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like ‘If They Come for Me in the Night, They’ll Come for You in the Morning’ on Facebook

A Radical Court on the Move

By Stan Hastey on Jul 05, 2022 05:36 pm
In one of the most consequential terms in the 233-year history of the U.S. Supreme Court, an aggressive and radicalized supermajority of justices has begun a comprehensive reshaping of the nation's legal landscape with threatening consequences.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like A Radical Court on the Move on Facebook

Along the Way: The Hard Work of Hope

By Steve Harper on Jul 01, 2022 12:36 pm
The hard work of hope is done through resolve, energy, courage, and imagination. Each of the words brings the light of God to bear upon the challenges we face, writes Dr. Steve Harper.
Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like Along the Way: The Hard Work of Hope on Facebook




Copyright © 2022 United Methodist Insight, All rights reserved.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list