Michelle LaBorde

Defrocked United Methodist Minister Rev. Frank Schaefer to Preach at First United Methodist Church of Boulder on March 23rd

First United Methodist Church of Boulder (FUMC) is honored to have Rev. Frank Schaefer as their guest preacher on Sunday March 23rd. His sermon is titled “Of Sacred Worth and Human Dignity “ based on John 4:5-29. Schaefer is a former ordained minister of the United Methodist Church who was tried by a United Methodist court for officiating his son’s same-sex marriage in December 2013. He was defrocked after his refusal to uphold the Book of Discipline, which requires him to denounce gay marriage rights. Now a United Methodist lay person, speaker and activist, he continues to advocate for human rights across the country.

FUMC is a part of a network of congregations and pastors who have vowed a higher loyalty to “Biblical obedience” which mandates embracing the marginalized and affirming the value of all of God’s children rather than following discriminatory rules of the institutional church. While they began somewhat underground, many of these United Methodists, particularly in the western part of the United States, have become more and more emboldened to act as their consciences demand. FUMC Boulder pastors, Joe Agne and Pat Bruns, are leaders in this movement, organizing other progressives, stating clearly our congregation’s positions to the public and to our own Bishop, and taking actions such as inviting Rev. Frank Schaefer to preach from our pulpit and experience the support of our congregation and community.

“It is a special privilege to welcome Frank Schaefer and his spouse Brigette to First United Methodist Church of Boulder. Last December the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church withdrew Frank’s ordination. This happened right before Christmas, that special season where we celebrate God’s presence coming into the world in ways that embraces all people everywhere. Our denomination needs to work harder at understanding the story of God’s acceptance and love of everyone”, Bruns said about Schaefer’s visit.

Schaefer’s trial and the divide over gay marriage within the United Methodist Church made national headlines. Jean Hodges, a longtime member of FUMC and Regional Director for PFLAG made this comment about the controversy, “I actually am glad to see the media expose the hypocrisy of the UMC with the story of Schaefer, the pastor who presided at his gay son’s ceremony. Just as Jesus instructed his followers to non-violently but cleverly unmask the abusive actions of the power-holders of his day, this publicity may awaken more UM General Conference delegates to acknowledge how atrocious these policies are and how destructive they will be to the future growth of our denomination. Like the extremes of the political parties fighting endlessly in the United States or a family in conflict over differing values, conflict and struggle may be inevitable but speaking the truth to each other and acknowledging the pain we are inflicting is one necessary step if reconciliation is ever to occur.”

Rev. Schaefer will speak with FUMC’s Adult Forum at 9:00 am, preach during worship at 10:30am and lead an open conversation with area clergy and lay leaders in the afternoon from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm. A wine and cheese reception will be hosted by Out Boulder beginning at 5:00pm.

ABOUT FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH OF BOULDER
First United Methodist Church of Boulder is a welcoming and affirming faith community that compassionately advocates for social justice and equality for all. We joyfully welcome all people of any race, gender, sexual orientation, and faith traditions. Visit us online at fumcboulder.org and at Facebook.com/fumcboulder.

Local Pastors, Boulder Church Choose Love Over Church Law

Rev. Frank Schaefer - 2013

Rev. Frank Schaefer – 2013

Between us we have over 70 years of ordained ministry within the United Methodist Church. We have faced our share of challenges but have known still more joys within our congregations and communities. Our social justice involvements have been as near as sleeping outdoors in support of homeless youth next door, as far away as fighting apartheid in South Africa, and in many, many struggles for justice and liberation in places in between. During the recent floods in Colorado, we personally felt the concrete blessing of being part of a connectional church that reaches out to support one another and the community. We treasure the power of compassion when 12 million United Methodists worldwide unite to carry the love of God into the world.

At the same time nothing has saddened, embarrassed and angered us more than witnessing United Methodist institutional leaders fall horribly short of implementing Jesus’ call to radical inclusion and love when it comes to our LGBTQ sisters and the brothers. A story recently printed in the Daily Camera (“Church defrocks Methodist pastor for officiating gay son’s wedding” December 19, 2013) provided an accurate account of the painful decades long internal struggle that deeply divides our international church. We are on the side that affirms God loves us all and that we love God best by loving others. Along with hundreds of other clergy and congregations in the United States, we have worked in many ways to help our denomination recognize and correct the sin of its institutional bigotry. We will continue that internal denominational campaign to move from excluding some on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identification to cherishing each and every one of us as beloved children of God. This is the work of reconciliation. It is important.

To us, and the members and friends of First United Methodist Church of Boulder, what is even more important than the internal institutional struggles of our denomination, is our commitment to continue living in faithful obedience to the Biblical story of God’s unconditional love for all. Together with our congregation we will do this within the Boulder community and beyond.

This means, first and foremost, that we will continue declaring God’s acceptance of and delight in all of God’s children. It means we hope and expect that the most recent commitment service between two loving women that our congregation blessed this fall will continue in the line of many such celebrations. It means we will continue to open our doors and arms, our hearts and communion table to LGBTQ individuals in just the same way we do to all others. You can count on it.

Undeniably, this is a challenging time for the United Methodist institution. But for First United Methodist Church of Boulder, and for hundreds of clergy and congregations across the United States, we feel anchored in following the path of Jesus, which informs and dictates our actions. Our commitment to living out God’s love in the world blazes as strong as ever.

Rev. Pat Bruns and Rev. Joe Agne
First United Methodist Church of Boulder

End Hunger Now Boulder! Screens the Film “A Place at the Table”

Attention Homes (AH) and First United Methodist Church of Boulder (FUMC) to screen Participant Media’s A Place at the Table on August 18th as part of END HUNGER NOW BOULDER! event.

Why are almost 50 million Americans hungry, and why are more than 23.5 million kids and teenagers overweight or obese (and sometimes hungry, too)? What triggers and connects these trends? What systems and institutions perpetuate food insecurity, and what reforms will ensure that people get the healthy food they need? In an effort to engage Boulder and Colorado in a conversation about these questions, AH and FUMC along with several local organizations engaged in fighting hunger, invite local residents to take their place in the fight to end hunger and ensure that all children and families have access to healthy, affordable foods.

AH and FUMC along with Hunger Free Colorado, No Kid Hungry Colorado, EFAA, Community Food Share, Boulder Food Rescue, Harvest of Hope Pantry, Bridge House and Cooking Matters and in association with Participant Media and Active Voice, will host a community screening of A Place at the Table in Boulder on August 18th. The screening is part of Participant Media’s “Take Your Place” Social Action Campaign, which uses the acclaimed documentary to inspire community conversations about hunger and obesity and get people involved in efforts to address this systemic problem. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, communities across the country will be hosting such events throughout the summer and fall.

The critically acclaimed documentary A Place at the Table, directed by Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush, examines the crisis of food security, hunger, obesity and food access. The film will be screened at First United Methodist Church of Boulder at 1421 Spruce Street starting at 6:00 pm.  The screening will be immediately followed by a panel discussion featuring local experts working to alleviate hunger including Lee Wheeler-Berliner, Deputy Director at Hunger Free Colorado, Karla Maraccini, Director of Community Partnerships with the Office of Governor John W Hickenlooper, Frank Alexander, Director of Boulder County Department of Housing & Human Services, Audrey DeBroux, EFAA’s Basic Needs Casework Manager and Hana Dansky, Executive Director of Boulder Food Rescue.

“There are 39,000 people in Boulder County who are food insecure and 17% of the kids in our community lack access to enough food for a healthy life,” says Jim Rianoshek, Executive Director of Attention Homes, the only youth shelter in Boulder County. “We see youth struggling each day to find the resources to pay for a nutritious meal. As a health-conscious community, we can do better by those in need and sharing this important film will educate and hopefully inspire action.

FUMC Senior Pastor Pat Bruns adds that “The statistics of hunger and poverty are not simply numbers but rather they are people, living, breathing, struggling, suffering people.  They are people we see every day in Boulder, in Longmont, in Louisville, in Lafayette, in Niwot, in Superior, in Broomfield, in Nederland … in all our neighborhoods. As we begin to look at the issue of hunger in our communities may we also begin to look more closely at the faces of those that struggle with hunger every day.  We intend to work together with our community partners to make sure all of our neighbors have enough to eat.”

If you are interested in attending the screening, tickets will be available at the door and are available online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/421230 or contact us at 303.442.3770. Tickets are $5.00 and donations of healthy foods will be collected at the event.

ABOUT THE FILM

In Participant Media’s A Place at the Table, a Magnolia Pictures release, directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush examine the issue of hunger in America through the lens of three people struggling with food insecurity: Barbie, a single Philadelphia mother who grew up in poverty and is trying to provide a better life for her two kids; Rosie, a Colorado fifth-grader who often has to depend on friends and neighbors to feed her and has trouble concentrating in school; and Tremonica, a Mississippi second-grader whose asthma and health issues are exacerbated by the largely empty calories her hardworking mother can afford.

Ultimately, A Place at the Table shows us how hunger poses serious economic, social and cultural implications for our nation, and that it could be solved once and for all, if the American public decides — as they have in the past — that making healthy food available and affordable is in the best interest of us all.

ABOUT ATTENTION HOMES
Since 1966 Attention Homes has provided opportunities for youth in crisis to change their lives. We offer safe shelter, meals, community-based living and teaching of life skills necessary for an independent future. Attention Homes operates the only shelter for youth in Boulder County. Learn more at www.attentionhomes.org.

ABOUT FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH OF BOULDER
First United Methodist Church of Boulder is a welcoming and affirming faith community that compassionately advocates for social justice and equality for all. We joyfully welcome all people of any race, gender, sexual orientation, and faith traditions. Visit us online at www.fumcboulder.org and at facebook.com/fumcboulder.

So You Say You Want a Revolution?

Social Change Workshop is Modeled After Jesus’ Ministry

First United Methodist Church of Boulder (FUMC) is thrilled to welcome their newest Theologian-in-Residence, Dr. Dorothee Benz, who is offering two FREE workshops to the public on making social change on Saturday July 20th and 27th. The workshops, titled, Power, Protest, Progress: How to Change the World in Two Easy Lessons explore the characteristics of successful social movements and analyze what gives ordinary people the power to make real change happen. “Jesus was all about making social change happen, but following him can be a little daunting – few of us can walk on water or feed 5,000 people. In this class we’ll take a fresh look at Jesus’ ministry and uncover ways in which his most humble acts, like talking to the woman at the well or touching lepers, were more transformative than the flashy fish type miracles and how we can be agents of change in our world today in the same ways”, explains Benz.

Participants will gain an understanding of power based on the writings of scholar-activist Frances Fox Piven, and will draw on examples from the labor movement, the civil rights movement and the Bible.

Reverend Joe Agne, pastor at FUMC says “Benz will help all of us who want to move beyond charity to creating social change – she teaches ways that work. Persons working on fracking, hunger, racism, marriage equality, gun control etc. will find these workshops to be extremely beneficial to their work.”

Dr. Benz is a lifelong activist and organizer. Professionally, she has 25 years experience in social justice communications, and her work as a labor journalist has won numerous awards. She is currently the director of communications at the Center for Constitutional Rights. Benz has a Ph.D. from the City University of New York and her scholarly expertise is in social movements. She is a founding member and chair of Methodists in New Directions (MIND) and one of the architects of the current strategy to transcend the crisis caused by the United Methodist Church’s discrimination against LGBTQ people by organizing networks of clergy and laity to extend their ministries to all couples, gay and straight, on an equal basis in defiance of the rules. She is the winner of the 2012 Gwen and C. Dale White Award from the NY Chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action.

Visit fumcboulder.org for more details.

Celebrating Colorado Civil Unions!

First United Methodist Church of Boulder (FUMC) applauds Colorado’s new Civil Unions Act and alongside our longtime community partner, Out Boulder, will participate in the celebration, at midnight on May 1st. As part of the festivities, happening at the Boulder County Clerk’s office at 1750 33rd Street, FUMC will be offering blessings for interested couples and their families.

FUMC is a welcoming faith community dedicated to “honoring the sacred worth of every human being in a way that creates and sustains a Beloved Community.” Both the appointed pastors and the lay members of the congregation affirm that they are among the people following the path of Jesus and of Methodist founder John Wesley by welcoming everyone into their midst, stating that they are enriched, as individuals and as a community, when diversity is honored, welcomed and celebrated.

In the spring of 2012 Reverend Pat Bruns made news by declaring that he and the other pastors at First United Methodist Church of Boulder were prepared to offer church ceremonies for committed and consenting adult life partners, regardless of their gender. Referring to a broadly supported “Fuller Marriage Ministry” that offers ceremonies and holy unions for same-sex couples, the pastors and congregation notified their local Bishop of their intention to move forward in this ministry regardless of church policies to the contrary.

“I am simply delighted that our Colorado Legislature has approved Civil Unions,” say Bruns. “This is an important next step to full marriage equality in our beloved state. We have enough ways to kill, hurt and terrify people in our nation and in our world. Right now we need ways to love one another, to embrace each and every one of us as beloved children of God. All relationships anchored in love, loyalty and commitment need to be celebrated! Loving relationships are a gift to us all and to all creation.”

FUMC member, Melissa Preston Vaughn made this statement when asked what the new Civil Unions Act means to her and what it might mean to others:

“For the LGBT community, the idea of ‘marriage’ or anything that resembles a publicly and legally recognized affirmation of our love is something that is so foreign to us. Standing together, family and friends close by, hands held tightly, hearts pounding, lumps in the throat forming, and then signing both names to a piece of paper that will forever mark time and change lives is something we’ve only dreamed about. The emotion and experience will be nothing short of sacred. God, I’m sure, is pleased that we are finally figuring this out… that love is love.”

Boulder County couples are invited to contact FUMC Boulder prior to April 30th or simply introduce themselves during the festivities, if they feel inspired to have their union blessed.

Pastor Bruns is thrilled about the Out Boulder event saying, “I can hardly wait for midnight May 1st. The opportunity to bless Civil Unions and to consecrate these wonderful partnerships will be a marvelous privilege. I am certain that God smiles when we surround loving relationships with our own love, support, affirmation and welcome.”

LGBTQ Activitst, Author to Lead Workshop, Worship at FUMC Boulder

logo_methodist_rethink_churchFirst United Methodist Church of Boulder, with co-sponsors Boulder County PFLAG and Out Boulder, is thrilled to welcome Jay Michaelson, LGBTQ activist and author of God vs. Gay? The Case for Religious Equality for a workshop on Saturday, March 9th and as guest preacher for FUMC’s Reconciling Sunday service featuring Resonance Chorus on March 10th.

Jay Michaelson is the author of three books and numerous articles about the intersections of religion, sexuality, and law. A leading activist on behalf of LGBT people in faith communities, Michaelson and his work have been featured in the New York Times and on NPR and CNN. He is the founder of Nehirim, the leading national provider of community programming for LGBT Jews and their allies and lives in upstate New York. Michaelson draws on his Jewish tradition, his recent work on same-sex marriage campaigns in Maryland and Michigan, and the vast research he undertook in writing his book, to bring together all of the major taboo subjects – sex, politics and religion – in a way that enriches our understanding of equality on multiple levels.

The March 9th workshop will address many of the frustrations experienced by the LGBTQ community and their allies when engaged in conversations with people on the other side of the LGBTQ equality issue and who wish to move the discussion to a deeper level. With topics like, How to Have More Productive Conversations, Even With Mean People and What Does Sexual Diversity Teach Us About Spirituality, the workshop promises to stimulate minds and spirits in a way that equip participants to carry on the campaign for social justice.

Becca Tice, chair of FUMC Boulder’s Affirming and Welcoming committee, which has organized the weekend, says this about the workshop –  “With debate over civil unions in Colorado, a marriage equality case in the Supreme Court, public school policies for transgender individuals, and church doctrine within various denominations, opportunities have never been more ripe for LGBTQ justice. Whether we simply desire better communication with our own friends and family or we hope to speak up for wider social change, now is the time to invest in meaningful conversations. Who wouldn’t like to learn how to do that better?”

On Sunday March 10th at 10:30 am, Michaelson will speak on Why ‘Gay Rights’ is a Spiritual Opportunity for Straight People, Gay People and Everyone in Between. His talk will be accompanied by the inspiring sounds of the Resonance Chorus (led by director Sue Coffee). Before worship at 9:00 am, Michaelson will speak informally at FUMC Boulder’s Adult Forum. Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun, has commented, “Michaelson shows that ‘God versus gay’ is a myth and that the overwhelming majority of our shared religious values favor equality for LGBT people.”

All events are free and all are welcome. To find out more and register for the workshop, visit www.fumcboulder.org.

 

Historic Roosevelt Organ Undergoes Restoration

Boulder, Colorado – First United Methodist Church of Boulder (FUMC) is the proud home to a unique pipe organ, built in 1888 by Frank Roosevelt at the Roosevelt Organ Company in New York City. This year this special instrument, which is cited on the Organ Historical Society’s list, celebrates its 125th anniversary, and at the same time will undergo a major restoration and renovation that will take 18 months, beginning on Monday, February 25th.

The restoration work, which will be performed off site by Denver organ builders, Morel and Associates, includes cleaning and inspecting the 2114 pipes and replacing thousands of small leather and wooden parts and 1,860 pneumatic motors, requires disassembling the organ. Full renovation will take 18 months and is made possible by a generous gift from the Hoover family in honor of their mother Virginia Anderson.

The FUMC organ (Roosevelt‘s Opus 382) was originally built for Grace Methodist Episcopal Church in Denver. It was reinstalled in the First United Methodist Church of Boulder in 1960, having spent some years in storage. Grace’s was one of two Roosevelt organs installed in 1888, the other at Trinity United Methodist in Denver where it is still in use. Pre-electricity, the innovative Roosevelt design utilized electro-pneumatic action with a water wheel providing power to a generator connected to the console. Slightly different from a tracker organ design, when one presses a note on the Roosevelt keyboard, a wooden pin moves upward contacting a rocker arm which opens a valve allowing air to escape from a small pneumatic bellows which pulls open the valve under the pipe, allowing wind to enter and causing it to speak.  
Very few of Roosevelt’s instruments remain intact today, and almost none of those that survive are in original condition. The beautifully maintained Boulder Roosevelt still uses the original console and, besides updating to electric power, has had little other modernization. It even maintains its 19th-century pitch, just under modern day A=440 Hz, adding to its historic value but bringing challenges when accompanying brass or hand bells. It is a valuable example of American Victorian organ building: elegant, full-voiced, and constructed of the finest materials available. In choice of stops and overall tonal design, the organ is an assimilation of American, English, and French Romantic styles as well as more traditional, classic German influences. FUMC’s Roosevelt has 39 ranks, 34 stops, and 2114 pipes.

FUMC’s Director of Music, Evanne Browne, says, “Hearing this fabulous pipe organ played is an inspiring part of our weekly worship. It will be very missed for the next 18 months, but we will adjust to congregational singing accompanied by piano. Doing without the organ will only increase our appreciation of the instrument when it returns.”

The church is planning celebratory organ recitals when the work is completed. 

To learn more about the history of the Frank Roosevelt organ and see photos go to the FUMC website: http://fumcboulder.org/worship-and-music/music/organ.

First United Methodist Church of Boulder is an affirming and welcoming, vibrant church family that truly loves God by loving others. We affirm that the most profound life-changing realities are characterized by words like these: kindness, acceptance, justice, compassion, forgiveness, purpose, generosity and love. We joyfully welcome all people of any race, gender, sexual orientation, and faith traditions

What does it mean to ‘rethink church’? Come and see for yourself.

Giving Thanks for Woody Guthrie

FUMC Boulder Celebrates the Music and Theology of Woody Guthrie Sunday November 25th

On November 25, 2012, First United Methodist Church of Boulder will celebrate the music and theology of Woody Guthrie by singing his songs. Pastor Joe Agne, who will lead the service, is a devoted Guthrie fan and researcher. He explains that Guthrie’s music “lives on for so many people. A decade after Woody died John Lennon wrote this note to Marjorie, Woody’s wife, “’Dear Whoever, Woody lives, and I’m glad!’ Love, John Lennon.” Agne also points out that “Arlo Guthrie, Woody’s son, tells us of the three verses most people leave out of “This Land is Your Land.” When Arlo was 7, Woody came home from the hospital, and asked Arlo to write the words of these missing verses. The last one expresses the power of the resurrection in our lives:

 Nobody living can ever stop me, As I go walking that freedom highway;

Nobody living can make me turn back, This land was made for you and me.’ ”

The service will feature these Guthrie songs:  This Morning I am Born Again, The Sinking of the Reuben James, This Land is Your Land, Riding in My Car, Union Maid, The Jolly Banker, Jesus Christ and Pastures of Plent

The audience will be invited to sing along and participate in the celebration and recognition of this important American hero for peace and justice. Join us at 10:30 am on November 25th.

First United Methodist Church of Boulder is a welcoming and affirming place of inclusion and acceptance. We joyfully welcome all people of any race, gender, sexual orientation, and faith traditions. What does it mean to ‘rethink Church’?  Come and see for yourself

Local church forges ahead with LGBTQ marriage ceremonies

Boulder, Colorado – In spite of the rejection of revised policies regarding inclusion of LGBTQ individuals voted on last week by the international gathering of United Methodists in Tampa, Florida, a local congregation is vowing to move forward on its own path of inclusion and social justice.

 First United Methodist Church of Boulder is a welcoming faith community dedicated to “honoring the sacred worth of every human being in a way that creates and sustains a Beloved Community.”   Both the appointed pastors and the lay members of the congregation affirm that they are among the people following the path of Jesus and of Methodist founder John Wesley by welcoming everyone into their midst, stating that they are enriched, as individuals and as a community, when diversity is honored, welcomed and celebrated.

“It’s heart-breaking what happened – or more accurately, didn’t happen – in Tampa this week,” senior pastor Dr. Patrick Bruns stated following several votes which rejected efforts to open up institutional church policies to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in full acceptance and participation in the church.  “But I am reassuring our congregation and the Boulder community that those votes were far from the final word.  Our commitment to following Jesus’ Path has been called out even stronger and we plan even more energetically to pursue bold action, non-violent resistance, and courageous commitment to love, justice and peacemaking.”

Rev. Bruns made news recently by declaring that he and the other pastors at First United Methodist Church of Boulder were prepared to offer church ceremonies for committed and consenting adult life partners, regardless of their gender.  Referring to a broadly supported “Fuller Marriage Ministry” that offers ceremonies and holy unions for same-sex couples, the pastors and congregation recently notified their local Bishop of their intention to move forward in this ministry regardless of church policies to the contrary.

“It has been a unifying and energizing experience in our congregation to have leaders who are so committed to social justice and inclusivity,” noted Becca Tice, chairperson of the Affirming and Welcoming Committee which promotes the full inclusion of the LGBTQ community within the church.  “We won’t pretend that this week’s votes weren’t enormously disappointing but we don’t intend to be defined, defeated or deterred by those votes.”

United Methodists from around the globe gather every four years to consider changes to their Book of Discipline which serves as both “Constitution” and more specific, practical guidebook for how the church is to be run.  Policies detrimental and discriminatory to lesbian and gay individuals have been included in the Book of Discipline since the early 1970s but the actual implementation of policies, in practice, has varied from state to state and country to country.

Closer to home, United Methodists in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming (known as the Rocky Mountain Conference) will gather for their annual conference in Denver about six weeks from now.  Decisions made by the international conference likely will be fodder for both formal and informal discussion at that conference.  Many local individuals already are contemplating actions to express their grave disappointment and disapproval of the votes by the international body and considering ways to bring about future changes.

“We honor and respect the tremendous good work which the United Methodist Church has accomplished in so many ways since its beginning in the 18th century,” said Justin Livingston, Chair of Church Council. “We believe our world needs more instruments of God’s love, grace, and justice, not fewer, and that’s why we will continue to embrace everyone as welcomed participants in God’s family as we experience it at First United Methodist Church of Boulder.”

International Hero For Peace and Healing, Father Michael Lapsley, to Speak in Boulder

Boulder, Colorado – First United Methodist Church of Boulder, in partnership with the Mountain Forum for Peace and the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, is thrilled to present a public lecture by international hero for peace and healing, Father Michael Lapsley, on Friday, October 19th at 7:30pm. FUMC Boulder is also hosting an introductory workshop led by Father Lapsley on Saturday, October 20th.

Journey from Freedom Fighter to Healer

In 1990 Father Lapsley, an Anglican priest active in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, opened a letter bomb that nearly killed him. Father Lapsley’s life has taken him on an inspiring journey that led to the development of a process for healing from trauma of all kinds. His work at the Institute for Healing of Memories teaches victims how to let go of a painful past event and no longer give it the power to define them.

Joe Agne, pastor at FUMC Boulder, who has worked with, Father Lapsley made this comment about the event, “We live in such a violent world these days and even so-called redemptive violence is a huge part of our psyche. Mahatma Gandhi said ‘an eye for an eye ends up making the whole world blind’ and this is at the heart of Father Lapsley’s message. Healing is so important right now. We’ve all been impacted by violence, either as victim or perpetrator in some form, at some level. Father Lapsley teaches the importance of letting go of the power of the past so we can heal our world and ourselves. We need this to move away from vengeance and toward peace.”

In the context of a post-9/11 world, Father Lapsley will share his story and take questions and comments from the audience. A reception honoring Father Lapsley will follow immediately after the lecture.

Tickets are available online at fumcboulder.org

Healing of Memories: An Introductory Workshop

On Saturday October 20th a workshop will be held at First United Methodist Church of Boulder from 9:30am to 3:00pm, with an hour for lunch. The workshop introduces participants to the teachings of the Institute for the Healing of Memories, which facilitates the healing process of individuals, communities, and nations. Presented by founder Father Michael Lapsley and trained facilitators, this is an incredible opportunity for survivors, healers, therapists, victim’s advocates, law enforcement, veterans, and anyone in need of healing or longing to promote healing, to gain insight into the healing process as experienced and developed by Father Lapsley. “Today, my own work lies in the field of healing of memories – creating safe and sacred spaces where people can begin the journey of acknowledging and letting go of that which is destructive inside them and taking from the past that which is life-giving.”

Visit fumcboulder.org for more information and to sign up.

First United Methodist Church of Boulder is a welcoming and affirming place of inclusion and acceptance. We joyfully welcome all people of any race, gender, sexual orientation, and faith traditions.

 

Staying the course for marriage

Rethink Church - First United Methodist Church

Boulder, Colorado – In spite of the rejection of revised policies regarding inclusion of LGBTQ individuals voted on last week by the international gathering of United Methodists in Tampa, Florida, a local congregation is vowing to move forward on its own path of inclusion and social justice.

First United Methodist Church of Boulder is a welcoming faith community dedicated to “honoring the sacred worth of every human being in a way that creates and sustains a Beloved Community.”   Both the appointed pastors and the lay members of the congregation affirm that they are among the people following the path of Jesus and of Methodist founder John Wesley by welcoming everyone into their midst, stating that they are enriched, as individuals and as a community, when diversity is honored, welcomed and celebrated.

“It’s heart-breaking what happened – or more accurately, didn’t happen – in Tampa this week,” senior pastor Dr. Patrick Bruns stated following several votes which rejected efforts to open up institutional church policies to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in full acceptance and participation in the church.  “But I am reassuring our congregation and the Boulder community that those votes were far from the final word.  Our commitment to following Jesus’ Path has been called out even stronger and we plan even more energetically to pursue bold action, non-violent resistance, and courageous commitment to love, justice and peacemaking.”

Rev. Bruns made news recently by declaring that he and the other pastors at First United Methodist Church of Boulder were prepared to offer church ceremonies for committed and consenting adult life partners, regardless of their gender.  Referring to a broadly supported “Fuller Marriage Ministry” that offers ceremonies and holy unions for same-sex couples, the pastors and congregation recently notified their local Bishop of their intention to move forward in this ministry regardless of church policies to the contrary.

“It has been a unifying and energizing experience in our congregation to have leaders who are so committed to social justice and inclusivity,” noted Becca Tice, chairperson of the Affirming and Welcoming Committee which promotes the full inclusion of the LGBTQ community within the church.  “We won’t pretend that this week’s votes weren’t enormously disappointing but we don’t intend to be defined, defeated or deterred by those votes.”

United Methodists from around the globe gather every four years to consider changes to their Book of Discipline which serves as both “Constitution” and more specific, practical guidebook for how the church is to be run.  Policies detrimental and discriminatory to lesbian and gay individuals have been included in the Book of Discipline since the early 1970s but the actual implementation of policies, in practice, has varied from state to state and country to country.

Closer to home, United Methodists in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming (known as the Rocky Mountain Conference) will gather for their annual conference in Denver about six weeks from now.  Decisions made by the international conference likely will be fodder for both formal and informal discussion at that conference.  Many local individuals already are contemplating actions to express their grave disappointment and disapproval of the votes by the international body and considering ways to bring about future changes.

“We honor and respect the tremendous good work which the United Methodist Church has accomplished in so many ways since its beginning in the 18th century,” said Justin Livingston, Chair of Church Council. “We believe our world needs more instruments of God’s love, grace, and justice, not fewer, and that’s why we will continue to embrace everyone as welcomed participants in God’s family as we experience it at First United Methodist Church of Boulder.”

What does it mean to ‘rethink church’?  Come and see for yourself.

Astronomer to the Vatican to Speak in Boulder

Astronomer to the Vatican, Brother Guy Consolmagno, to speak on –God’s Mechanics: How Scientists and Engineers Make Sense of Religion

First United Methodist Church of Boulder invites the community to enjoy a presentation by Brother Guy Consolmagno, Wednesday February 29th at 7:30pm.  This event is free. Parking is free.

 Brother Guy Consolmagno believes in the need for science and religion to work alongside one another rather than as competing ideologies. In 2006, he said, “Religion needs science to keep it away from superstition and keep it close to reality, to protect it from creationism, which at the end of the day is a kind of paganism– it’s turning God into a nature God.”

Consolmagno was born in Detroit, Michigan. He earned undergraduate and masters’ degrees from MIT, and a Ph. D. in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona, was a researcher at Harvard and MIT, served in the US Peace Corps (Kenya), and taught university physics at Lafayette College, Pennsylvania, before entering the Jesuits in 1989.

At the Vatican Observatory since 1993, his research explores connections between meteorites, asteroids, and the evolution of small solar system bodies. He observes asteroids, moons, and Kuiper Belt comets with the Vatican’s 1.8 meter telescope in Arizona, and curates the Vatican meteorite collection in Castel Gandolfo. Along with more than 100 scientific publications, he is the author of a number of popular books including Turn Left at Orion (with Dan Davis), Worlds Apart (with Martha Schaefer), Brother Astronomer, and God’s Mechanics, and for the International Year of Astronomy he edited The Heavens Proclaim.

Dr. Consolmagno has served on the governing board of a number of international scientific organizations, including the International Astronomical Union, the Meteoritical Society and the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society. He served as chair of the DPS in 2006-2007, is past president of IAU Commission 16 (Planets and Satellites) and past secretary of IAU Division III (Planetary Systems Sciences) as currently serves on the IAU Working Group on Planetary System Nomenclature. He has held chairs as a visiting Jesuit scholar at St. Joseph’s University (Philadelphia), Fordham University (New York), and LeMoyne College (New York).

 First United Methodist Church of Boulder is a welcoming and affirming place of inclusion and acceptance. We joyfully welcome all people of any race, gender, sexual orientation, and faith tradition.  Pat Bruns and Joe Agne are the pastors of First United Methodist Church of Boulder.

 

Queer Theology Series

First United Methodist Church of Boulder invites the community to participate in a series of workshops, led by Sarah Bloesch, that will explore a number of thought provoking topics that are in dialogue with queer theory.
Ambiguously Yours, Christ and Neighbor –
February 8th: When a Body Meets a Body – Christ Outside the Church
February 15th: The Queer Space of Interfaith Dialogue
In a Queer Embrace: Christ, the Cross, and Resurrection People –
February 29: Who Do You Say That I Am? From a Gay Christ to a Queer Christ
March 7: In the Beginning Was the Word… At the River Jordan; or Why the Incarnation Isn’t Just for Christmas
March 14: This is My Body Broken for You: Theories of Atonement and Feminist/Disabilities Theory Critique
March 21: And the Temple Curtain Torn and the Sun Was Black: Queering Expectations of Time at the Cross
March 28: Mary, Who Are You Looking For? The Power, Ambiguity, and Privilege of Naming
April 4: The Ear Cannot Say to the Eye I have No Need of You; or Who Is My Family?

This series is part of First United Methodist Church of Boulder’s Wednesdays of Wonder (WOW). WOW offers participants an opportunity to connect mid-week and enjoy food, fellowship, and learning. Each meeting is held at the church and begins with a simple meal at 5:15 pm. The workshop begins at 6:00 pm and is free. All are invited and welcome! Free parking.

First United Methodist Church of Boulder is a welcoming and affirming place of inclusion and acceptance. We joyfully welcome all people of any race, gender, sexual orientation, and faith traditions. Pat Bruns and Joe Agne are the pastors of First United Methodist Church of Boulder.