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The Facilitators Guide to the Social Principles


'Love them or hate them, the Social Principles are where faith meets life.' Kenneth Kinard, ... Social Principles Quiz. Make copies of the quiz found in the guide. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Facilitators Guide to the Social Principles

The Facilitators Guide to the Social Principles
Four Sections
  • Introduction to the Social Principles
  • 2. The Social Creed
  • The Social Principles
  • 4. Additional Resources

Introduction What Jim Winkler says about the
Social Principles
Introduction What others say about the Social
  • Love them or hate them, the Social Principles
    are where faith meets life.
  • Kenneth Kinard,
  • pastor, First UMC Sterling City

The Social Principles give voice to Gods call
to us to further the Kingdom of God in this time
and place. Barbara Young, member of GBCS board
Unconditional love and justice in
action. Stephen Holliday, Member, Travis Park
Introduction Included in the Guide
  • The Social Creedwith history and exercises
  • Social Principle ActivitiesAgree/Disagree, Cross
    the Line, Politicsa Dirty Word, Biblical
    Foundations, Concentric Circles,Social Principle
  • Additional ResourcesHow to find more information

The Social Creed
Social CreedA Brief History
  • In 1907, a group of leaders developed the Social
    Creed, which was adopted in 1908. Since then, the
    Social Creed has been revised and expanded, and
    serves as a statement of Social Principles.
  • Today, the General Board of Church and Society is
    considered the trustee of the Social Principles.

Social Creed Important Dates
  • 1907 Methodist Episcopal Church leaders meet in
    Washingtons Ebbitt House to found a Methodist
    League for Social Service, leading to the
    formation of the Methodist Federation for Social
    Service (MFSS). The group is received by
    President Theodore Roosevelt.
  • 1908 MFSS is formally recognized and the first
    Social Creed is adopted.
  • 1909-1916 The United Brethren in Christ Church,
    The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and The
    Methodist Protestant Church adopt social creeds.
  • 1972 Following the 1968 union of the Methodist
    Church and the Evangelical United Brethren
    Church, the General Board of Church and Society
    is created and General Conference adopts Social

Social CreedWhy is it Important
  • Reflects the historical context of the time

Acts as a confessional statement, articulated by
the church in an attempt to interpret their faith
through an understanding of tradition, scripture,
reason, and experience
One can identify the familial, social, political,
and economic challenges which the United
Methodist Church faces.
The Social Creed (1908)
  • The Methodist Episcopal Church stands-
  • For equal rights and complete justice for all
    (people) in all stations of life.
  • For the principle of conciliation and
    arbitration in industrial discussions.
  • For the protection of the worker from dangerous
    machinery, occupational diseases, injuries and
  • For the abolition of child labor.
  • For such regulation of the conditions of labor
    for women as shall safe-guard the physical and
    moral health of the community.
  • For the suppression of the sweating system.
  • For the grateful and reasonable reduction of the
    hours of labor to the lowest practical point,
    with work for all and for that degree of leisure
    for all which is the condition of the highest
    human life.
  • For a release from employment one day in seven.
  • For a living wage in every industry.
  • For the highest wage that each industry can
    afford, and for the most equitable division of
    the products of industry that can ultimately be
  • For the recognition of the Golden Rule and the
    mind of Christ as the supreme law of society and
    the sure remedy of all social ills.

The Social Creed (1972-today)
  • We believe in God, Creator of the world and in
    Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of creation.
  • We believe in the Holy Spirit, through whom we
    acknowledge Gods gifts, and we repent of our sin
    in misusing these gifts to idolatrous ends.
  • We affirm the natural world as Gods handiwork
    and dedicate ourselves to its preservation,
    enhancement, and faithful use by humankind.
  • We joyfully receive for ourselves and others the
    blessings of community, sexuality, marriage, and
    the family.
  • We commit ourselves to the rights of men, women,
    children, youth, young adults, the aging, and
    people with disabilities to improvement of the
    equality of life and to the rights and dignity
    of all persons.
  • We believe in the right and duty of persons to
    work for the glory of God and the good of
    themselves and others and in the protection of
    their welfare in so doing in the rights to
    property as a trust from God, collective
    bargaining, and responsible consumption and in
    the elimination of economic and social distress.
  • We dedicate ourselves to peace throughout the
    world, to the rule of justice and law among
    nations, and to individual freedom for all people
    of the world.
  • We believe in the present and final triumph of
    Gods Word in human affairs and gladly accept our
    commission to manifest the life of the gospel in
    the world. Amen.

Social CreedComparing 1908 and Today
After reading both Social Creeds, apply some or
all of the following seven sections for
discussion with the group.
  • 1. Invite participants to read out loud both
    Social Creeds. What are particular concerns or
    affirmations found each Social Creed? What
    historical issues challenged the church and
    society during both times? Which groups of people
    are named? Which are absent? Which social,
    economic, political, cultural issues are named?
    Which are absent? Why are they absent?

2. Are these concerns still valid today? What
shape will they take in the 21st century? Which
concerns address a call for acts of mercy and a
call for acts of justice?
3. Post the Social Creeds on the wall. Have
participants cut out images from magazines and
newspapers and invite them to tape their image
next to the section each Social Creed addresses.
Invite the participants to explain why they chose
the images and their own connection to the
4. Ask participants to read the Social Creed
quietly and prayerfully, and to reflect around
their own life in the Creed. Where do they see
themselves in the creed? Where do they see their
congregation, community, nation, and world in the
Social Creed.? What are words of concern or
affirmation are missing for them in the Social
5. Ask participants to imagine 200 years in the
future. What language would they incorporate into
a global United Methodist Social Creed for the
23rd century? What would this Social Creed have
in common with the 1908 Social Creed? How would
it be different? What would It have in common
with ecumenical confessions of faith around
issues of justice?
6. Have participants compare the 1908 and current
Social Creed with the historic Nicene Creed and
Apostles Creed. What images are similar and
different in each Creed? What role did each Creed
play for the church in its day? What distinctive
voice of faith does the Social Creed contribute
to our ethical and theological development?
7. What images of creation and grace, sin and
salvation, Trinity and humanity, are reflected in
each of the Creeds? How does this influence our
ethical actions in and for the world?
The Social Principles
Social Principles They Are
  • A call to a prayerful, studied dialogue of faith
    and practice.

What the United Methodist Church says about
social issues.
A collection of six paragraphs or sections the
Natural World, the Nurturing Community, the
Social Community, the Economic Community, the
Political Community, and the World Community.
Social Principles Exercises
  • To help facilitate dialogue on the Social
    Principles, engage in some or all of the
    exercises that follow
  • Agree/Disagree
  • Cross the Line
  • Politicsa Dirty Word?
  • Biblical Foundations
  • Concentric Circles

Social Principles Agree/Disagree
Social Principles Agree/Disagree
Start with a polity crash-course of the United
Methodist Church.
  • Each of the approximately 41,000 local churches
    in Africa, Europe, the Philippines, and the U.S.
    sends delegates to annual conference. Each of
    these 117 annual conferences elects delegates to
    the General Conference that meets every four
    years. In total, there are 1,000 delegateshalf
    lay, half clergy. General Conference is the
    highest decision-making body of The United
    Methodist Church, and the only entity that can
    speak officially for the Church.

Social Principles Agree/Disagree
  • Any United Methodistindividual, local church,
    annual conference, agency, caucus, or groupmay
    propose changes to the Social Principles to
    General Conference. Petitions are written and
    submitted well in advance of the General
    Conference itself. There, delegates vote on each
    petition, and if supported, it becomes part of
    the Book of Discipline of The United Methodist

Social Principles Agree/Disagree
  • The Social Principles, though not church law, are
    part of the Book of Discipline. They are intended
    to be instructive and persuasive in the best of
    the prophetic spirit, according to the Preface
    of the Social Principles. They are a prayerful
    and thoughtful effort on part of the General
    Conference to speak to the human issues in the
    contemporary world from a sound biblical and
    theological foundation.

Social Principles Agree/Disagree
  • Ask participants to stand up (if they are able),
    and to clear the center of the room. Then explain
    that you are about to explore several stances
    taken by the General Conference and recorded in
    the Social Principles.
  • Read a brief statement. Participants may move to
    one side of the room if they agree, to the other
    side if they disagree, and stay in the middle if
    they are uncertain (or dont wish to make their
    feelings known).

Social Principles Agree/Disagree
  • Invite two or three people from the agree side to
    explain why they agree with the statement. Then
    ask the same question of two or three people on
    the disagree side, and two or three people in the
    middle. If a participants opinions change during
    the discussion, they may switch sides.
  • Suggested issuesFor adults capital punishment,
    abortion, homosexualityFor youth capital
    punishment, racial justice, rights of children
    and youth

Social Principles Agree/Disagree
  • Invite participants to take their seats and
    engage in a healthy discussion with the group.
  • Consider questions such as Since polls show a
    majority of U.S. citizens and United Methodists
    support the death penalty, why do you think our
    denomination, as well as other faith groups, have
    chosen to oppose it?
  • If you were a delegate to General Conference and
    were faced with making a decision on the churchs
    stance on the death penalty, would you make your
    choice based on your personal opinion or on the
    basis of what the church of Jesus Christ should

Social Principles Cross the Line
Social PrinciplesCross the Line
  • Ask participants to stand shoulder to shoulder
    (if they are able), and when they hear a
    statement with which they agree, take one step
  • Explain to the group that you will read a series
    of statements quickly. Say Please listen to
    each statement silently. Cross the line or
    refrain from doing so based on your gut reaction
    to the statement. Listen carefully and silently.
    Look around to see how others responded and then
    step back into line. We will go quickly.

Social PrinciplesCross the Line
Cross the line silently if you are/were
  • Notice who answered as you did and who did not.
    Notice how you feel. Step back.

an oldest child
a middle child
a youngest child
an only child
raised in a farming community
English was not your first language
worked to pay some or all of your education.
were raised believing that America is a land
of opportunity where anyone can make it if they
just try hard enough.
have experienced racial discrimination.
believe that prayers should be said at public
school assemblies
raised by people who were working class, did
manual labor or did unskilled service work to
make a living.
have ever lived outside of the United States
have ever been to a mosque or synagogue.
know anyone who abuses or has abused alcohol
Indicates statements to retain even with time
Social PrinciplesCross the Line
Cross the line silently if you are/were
  • Notice who answered as you did and who did not.
    Notice how you feel. Step back.

believe that affirmative action is necessary
to redress inequalities
know anyone who has died of a tobacco-related
know or have known someone with AIDS
know or have known someone with an organ
believe that abortions are sometimes necessary
believe that human activity is harming earths
personally know someone who is gay
have ever seen the media depict Arabs as
fanatical, crazed, or all Muslims
have ever seen the media depict women as weaker
or less intelligent than men
have a physical disability or impairment, even
if it is not apparent
support the right of employees to organize for
collective bargaining
Indicates statements to retain even with time
Social PrinciplesCross the Line
Cross the line silently if you are/were
  • Notice who answered as you did and who did not.
    Notice how you feel. Step back.

think gambling is harmful to society
support federal funding for stem cell research
think corporations should be held accountable
for harming people or the environment
have heard that big business cares only about
would support abolishing the death penalty in
favor of sentences of life without parole
know anyone who has gone to prison
believe that sometimes war is necessary
support conscientious objectors in opting for
alternative service
support those who serve in the armed forces
have ever been part of a picket line or protest
Indicates statements to retain even with time
Social PrinciplesCross the Line
  • Questions for reflection
  • What images and feelings came up during this
  • What surprised you about your own or others
  • How did it feel to be alone, or to be with
  • Did you learn something about someone in the
  • Do you have some thinking to do about your
    position on an issue?

Social Principles Politicsa Dirty Word?
Social Principles Politicsa Dirty Word?
  • This exercise focuses on the churchs concern for
    public policy in our society, and invites
    participants to think about what scripture and
    the Social Principles say about sin in our
    societys institutions.
  • Break into five groups and ask each to write in a
    sentence the United Methodist Churchs position
    on these subjects. Invite participants to use the
    Social Principles, and then to identify
    scriptural passages on these topics (this can be
    done in the large group).

Social Principles Politicsa Dirty Word?
  • Group 1The Function of GovernmentElectionsCapit
    al PunishmentSlavery

Group 2Citizen ParticipationSeparation of
Church and stateEthical influence of the church
Group 3Public schoolsPrayer in schoolsCivil
disobedience/obedienceRestorative Justice vs.
Retributive Justice
Group 4WarEnforced military service (the
draft)Conscientious objectorsMilitary service
Group 5United NationsUse of national
Social Principles Politicsa Dirty Word?
  • Questions for reflection
  • What do you think of when you hear the word
    politics or political? What does the
    dictionary say about the origins of the word?
  • Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit as an advocate
    or a spirit of truth that He was sending to
    humanity. What does it mean to you to be an
  • How is an advocate different from a lobbyist?
  • Are the political beliefs of most Christians you
    know pretty much the same as the rest of the
    community (or state or nation) or radically
    different? Why do you think that is the case?
    What do you think Jesus would say?

Social Principles Politicsa Dirty Word?
  • Closing Prayer
  • Help us to take the time and to have the courage
    to be responsible Christians, working through our
    democratic representative system. We understand
    that Jesus command to love our neighbor includes
    working for justice fo all, for the preservation
    of Gods creation, for healthy systems of
    community, for the elimination of the causes of
    poverty and violence., and for peace on earth
    In Christs name we pray. Amen.

Social Principles Biblical Foundations
Social PrinciplesBiblical Foundations
  • Provide each participant with a Bible, a copy of
    the Social Principles, paper and pen.
  • Walk through each section of the Social
    Principles following the guided questions and
    discussion materials.

Social PrinciplesBiblical Foundations
  • The Natural World
  • Name the six general topics.
  • What beliefs do you hold about God that might
    help you decide what you, as a Christian, should
    think and do about these topics?
  • What two major beliefs are stated about God in
    the introductory paragraph?
  • List the various things that the Social
    Principles support in upholding the Natural
    World. Do you agree or disagree?

Social PrinciplesBiblical Foundations
  • The Nurturing Community
  • Review the general topics.
  • Divide the group into two groupsGroup A Romans
    518-64 Group B Luke 639-42Revise each
    scripture passage in your own words and discuss
    how it relates to the Nurturing Community.
  • Discuss in the group statements with which you
    agree or disagree.
  • Which statements would you rewrite and why?

Social PrinciplesBiblical Foundations
  • The Social Community
  • Read Matthew 112-6 out loud.
  • Take a moment and journal about the meaning of
    this passage in the context of the Social
  • Relate to an issue on which your church is
    currently working.
  • The 2000 General Conference added sections on the
    Internet and AIDS. Can you think of other
    sections which should be added?

Social PrinciplesBiblical Foundations
  • The Economic Community
  • Divide the group into two groupsGroup A Deut.
    1017-18 Group B Amos 84-8
  • Discuss each scripture passage in light of the
    Economic Community.
  • If you took the Social Principles statement on
    that topic with utmost seriousness, what changes,
    if any, would you need to make in your economic

Social PrinciplesBiblical Foundations
  • The Political Community
  • What is the author of 1 Peter saying to us in 1
    Peter 217?
  • Discuss Political Responsibility meaning and
  • Give examples that illustrate appropriate civil

Social PrinciplesBiblical Foundations
  • The World Community
  • Apply scripture to the statements in the World
  • Compare Acts 1726 and 1 Peter 29.
  • What examples can you think of in which
    international cooperation by governments (or by
    non-governmental groups) has made a definite
    advance in improving the world community?

Social PrinciplesBiblical Foundations
  • Depending on time, groups may be formed to work
    on each section of the Social Principles.
    Afterwards, each group may report to the whole
    group their findings.

Social Principles Concentric Circles
Social PrinciplesConcentric Circles
  • Start by having the group form one large circle
    and count off 1 2 1 2
  • Ask those who are Ones to take a step into the
    circle and join hands, facing towards the Twos.
  • Ask the Twos to join hands and face the Ones.
  • Each participant should have a partner facing

Social PrinciplesConcentric Circles
  • Explain that to have dialogue means that there
    must be room among United Methodists for honest,
    respectful sharing of a variety of
    understandings. We will not all agree with each
    other on every statement. This is OK. The
    important thing is that we not avoid the
    difficult issues facing our world, but
    prayerfully consider these challenging issues and
    respectfully dialogue about how we believe we
    should respond to these issues as people of faith.

Social PrinciplesConcentric Circles
  • With partners facing each other, read one of the
  • The person on the inside will share their
    thoughts about the statement for 30 seconds. The
    partner will concentrate on listening. No
  • After the inside person shares for 30 seconds,
    call switch so the outside person can share for
    30 seconds, with listening from the partner.
  • After both partners have shared, call time and
    read the statement that reflect how the Social
    Principles and/or Social Creed address the issue.
  • The outside circle rotates one person to the
    right so that everyone is given a new partner.
  • When all statements are discussed, join hands in
    a large group, making eye contact with those with
    whom they shared.

Social PrinciplesConcentric Circles
Suggested Statements for Dialogue
  • Its been said No man is an island and, I
    think, no man is really complete until he finds a
    woman to share his life as a partner and friend
  • Social Principles We affirm the integrity of
    single persons, and we reject all social
    practices that discriminate or social attitudes
    that are prejudicial against persons because they
    are single. (161.II.E)
  • We especially reject the idea that God made
    individuals as incomplete fragments, made whole
    only in union with another. (161.II.F)

Social PrinciplesConcentric Circles
2. A little gambling for small amounts of
money is fun and should be allowed in our
churches, like bingo night. Social Principles
Gambling is menace to society, deadly to the
best interests of moral, social, economic, and
spiritual life, and destructive of good
government. (163.IV.G)
3. Corporations have one responsibility to
make a profit for their shareholders. Social
Principles Corporations are responsible not
only to their stockholders, but also to other
stakeholders their workers, suppliers, vendors,
customers, the communities in which they do
business and for the earth, which supports them.
Social PrinciplesConcentric Circles
4. The problem with capital punishment in the
United States is that it doesnt cover enough
crimes. That would make people think twice about
breaking them. Social Principles We oppose
capital punishment and urge its elimination from
all criminal codes. (163.IV.G)
5. I know that some poor people dont have
health insurance, but they have clinics they can
go to. We simply cannot afford for everyone in
the United States to have healthcare. Social
Principles Healthcare is a basic human right
It is unjust to construct or perpetuate barriers
to physical wholeness or full participation in
community. (162.III.T)
Social PrinciplesConcentric Circles
6. One way to prevent new wars and to promote
better lives for people around the world is to
establish basic laws that apply to all the
nations and then figure out a way to enforce
them, no exceptions. Social Principles We
dedicate ourselves to peace throughout the world,
to the rule of justice and law among the
nations. (166.VII)
7. A little smoke of tobacco never hurt
anybody. Smoking a pipe or cigar is certainly not
as bad as smoking cigarettes. Social Principles
Tobacco smoking and the use of smokeless
tobacco are hazardous to the health or persons of
all ages, we recommend total abstinence from the
use of tobacco. (162.III.M)
Social PrinciplesConcentric Circles
8. Migrant workers in the United States are
not being treated right. The deck is stacked
against them having a fair shake because everyone
knows that they cant go running to the police if
they arent treated fairly. Social Principles
We call upon governments and all employers to
ensure for migratory workers the same economic,
educational, and social benefits enjoyed by other
citizens. (163.IV.F)
9. Whats wrong with homosexuals serving in
the military? If they are willing to put their
lives on the line to defend our country, more
power to them. Social Principles Certain basic
human rights and civil liberties are due all
persons. We are committed to supporting those
rights and liberties for homosexual persons.
Social PrinciplesConcentric Circles
10. Violence, sex, and colorful language are
just the norm today on TV and the movies. Kids
today are more mature than they used to be. Its
no big deal. Social Principles Christians must
work to Encourage local congregations, parents,
and individuals to express their opposition to
the gratuitous portrayal of violent and sexually
indecent shows by writing to the stations that
air them and the companies that sponsor them.
Social PrinciplesConcentric Circles
11. Women can do very well in pastoral ministry
if given a fair chance. Many people just wont
give them a chance. Social Principles We
affirm with Scripture the common humanity of male
and female, both having equal worth in the eyes
of God. (161.II.F)
12. Organ transplants are un-Biblical. You dont
see any stories in the Bible of people giving up
their organs to be transplanted in somebody
elses body. Social Principles We recognize
the life-giving benefits of organ and other
tissue donation and encourage all people of faith
to become organ and tissue donors. (162.III.U)
Social PrinciplesConcentric Circles
13. Young people often make stupid decisions.
Its safer, wiser, and easier if responsible,
caring adults just make all their decisions for
them. Social Principles Our society is
characterized by a large population of young
people who frequently find full participation in
society difficult. Therefore, we urge development
of policies that encourage inclusion of young
people in decision-making processes (162.III.D)
14. The only fair way to get people to serve in
the military is to bring back the draft. Unless
we do that, were not going to have enough young
people to serve. Social Principles We reject
national policies of enforced military service as
incompatible with the gospel. (164.V.I)
Social Principles Social Principles Quiz
Social PrinciplesSocial Principles Quiz
  • Make copies of the quiz found in the guide.
  • Allow participants time to do the quiz.
  • Spend adequate time to go over the quiz with
    answers and allow time for discussion.

Additional Resources
Additional ResourcesFrom GBCS and Cokesbury
Resources are available from the GBCS Service
Department. Purchase online at call toll-free
1-800-967-0880for prices and ordering.
Visit Cokesbury online at or
call toll-free 1-800-672-1789.
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