New resource: Creating Change Together
As United Methodists, we recognize “our commitment to become faithful witnesses to the gospel, not alone to the ends of the earth, but also to the depths of our common life and work.” (Social Principles, Preamble)
Amid the brokenness of today’s world, God calls us to be instruments of healing – transforming relationships and systems to pursue justice and peace among people, communities and nations.
What is Civic Engagement?
Civic engagement is the process by which an individual or group addresses public concerns. This can happen at many levels, from local issues up to national and global topics as well as engagement with corporations.
Strategies and tactics to influence change are varied. Many options for engagement are unpacked in Creating Change Together: A Toolkit for Faithful Civic Engagement.
Civic Engagement and the Church
In the face of ongoing conflict, exploitation and oppression, we know that we cannot turn inward and silent. Instead, we must engage our neighbors, proclaim our faith values, and pursue justice in our communities.
In the United States, churches, pastors and other people of faith might be wary of engaging in the electoral process because of a church or organization’s tax exempt status. Faith leaders and religious organizations can legally safeguard the right to vote, educate communities on issues and candidates, and encourage participation in the electoral process without running afoul of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Our United Methodist Book of Resolutions state, “The attempt to influence the information and execution of public policy at all levels of government is often the most effective means available to churches to keep before humanity the ideal of a society in which power and order are made to serve the ends of justice and freedom for all people.” (Book of Resolutions, 5012)
Using This Toolkit
Within these pages, you will find the biblical and United Methodist grounding for civic engagement as well as strategies and tactics that you can do as an individual or group to pursue the common good.
Creating Change Together will equip you with essential tools to address public concerns. Topics include: claiming our story, connecting with decision makers (with tips for advocating through visiting, public witness, calling, writing and social media), and engaging in the electoral process.
The how-to documents below are available for download and accompany the toolkit as practical guides for advocacy tactics.
Formulating Your Story provides prompts that will assist you in communicating how your faith, story, and hope for a better future.
Visiting Decision Makers names step-by-step instructions on how to schedule and conduct a meeting with your decision makers as you advocate for justice.
Planning a Prayer Vigil is a checklist and timeline that will help you execute a well-planned prayer vigil for your concerns.
Calling Decision Makers supplies a sample script and steps for you to register your perspective on an issue.
Writing to Decision Makers presents you with helpful tips for writing your decision maker and an example letter from a concerned United Methodist.
You can buy a hard copy of Creating Change Together our store or for free by download below.