Scripture reminds us that Jesus came to bring good news to the poor, to liberate the oppressed, and to release the captives. We can be a part of actively changing the larger systems that are hurting people by putting our faith into action. We practice justice through policy change as a way to live out this call.
State Legislative Advocacy Ministry
Many of you all have been a part of countless antiracism and social justice studies, lectures, and conversations. Others of you serve on boards, give food donations, and give generously financially to make a difference. We have continued to discern that an ongoing focus of the practice of justice is our next faithful step here at St. Paul’s. This means getting to the root of the powers that contribute to inequity. God calls us to bring good news to the poor and to liberate the oppressed. We are going to answer this call through advocacy around policy change in the Kansas state legislature.
Why should we as Christians be talking about elections? Let’s talk about that and the upcoming August primary.
Choose one of the two sessions being offered – July 10 or July 17. Both will share the same information, however on July 10 an OBGYN physician will be with us to speak and answer questions about the reproductive rights/constitutional amendment.
Are you registered? Have you moved? What’s on your ballot? Where can you vote early? Would you like to get a mail-in ballot? Where will the drop-boxes be located? What’s this about a constitutional amendment? Can someone registered as an Independent vote on the amendment?
Faith Voices for Medicaid Expansion
Faith Voices for Medicaid Expansion’s mission is to “join with others across the state to inform individuals and faith communities about the vital health and economic benefits of expanded Medicaid. We will promote the well being and health care delivery system of all Kansans by advocating the passage of Medicaid Expansion in the Kansas Legislature.” Visit the Faith Voices for Medicaid Expansion Facebook page to learn more.
Here’s an introduction to a couple of the partners we have in this work:
Alliance for a Healthy Kansas
The Alliance for a Healthy Kansas is a statewide coalition working throughout Kansas, encouraging people and organizations to promote policies that ensure everyone has the opportunity to attain their highest level of health. Their membership is wide-ranging and includes business leaders, doctors and hospitals, social service and safety-net organizations, faith communities, chambers of commerce, advocates for health care consumers, and many more. They believe by unifying our voices we won’t be ignored. Check out their video for a look at some of the work the Alliance is doing; you can also find more on their website and Facebook page.
Kansas Interfaith Action
Kansas Interfaith Action is a statewide, multi–faith issue–advocacy organization that “puts faith into action” by educating, engaging and advocating on behalf of people of faith and the public regarding critical social, economic, and climate justice issues. KIFA (pronounced “KEE–fa”) supporters are shaped by the values of our diverse faiths, which connect us to an age–old concern for justice, peace, and human dignity. Rooted in faith, we join hands across difference to work for moral public policy in Kansas.
Part of living out our faith is a strong commitment to racial equity. St. Paul’s is committed to a holistic approach to antiracism. We are in it for the long haul. We are learning, listening, neighboring, and advocating through policy change to live into the truth of our welcome statement to celebrate the worth, dignity, and gifts of every person as a child of God. Here are some ways to practice racial justice as part of your faith journey.
Get involved with MORE2
While we are not an official congregation member, we are actively partnering with MORE2 – the Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity.
In 2020, we partnered with them to do Voter Engagement phone banking. Through the Clergy Caucus and monthly Issues2Action gatherings, we are working on local policy change. We are now looking at Medicaid Expansion, Safe & Welcoming Wyandotte, and Criminal Justice reform.
If you’d like to be an active participant in monthly Issues2Action gatherings, contact Pastor Lora for more information.
St. Paul’s celebrates LGBTQ+ people at all levels of leadership in our congregation. We are actively engaged in policy change work within the denomination, as well as working for full inclusion locally in our communities. Members of St. Paul’s were part of organizing and advocating for Non-Discrimination Ordinances in Johnson County, KS to pass in the fall of 2019.
Pastor Lora co-leads the Great Plains UMCNext movement with these four commitments:
We believe these commitments are essential to a hope-filled future for the global Methodist movement as we make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
1. We long to be passionate followers of Jesus Christ, committed to a Wesleyan vision of Christianity, anchored in scripture and informed by tradition, experience and reason as we live a life of personal piety and social holiness.
2. We commit to resist evil, injustice and oppression in all forms and toward all people and build a church which affirms the full participation of all ages, nations, races, classes, cultures, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities.
3. We reject the Traditional Plan approved at General Conference 2019 as inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ and will resist its implementation.
4. We will work to eliminate discriminatory language and the restrictions and penalties in the Discipline regarding LGBTQ persons. We affirm the sacred worth of LGBTQ persons, celebrate their gifts, and commit to being in ministry together.