God’s Love in Action
At Paradise Valley United Methodist Church, we recognize that to follow the gospel of Jesus Christ, we must be concerned with real human issues in our church and community. The Church and Society Ministry Team assumes a leading role in identifying and taking steps to address common social justice concerns of the congregation while representing the church as a member of the Valley Interfaith Project (VIP). VIP is a group of local churches, synagogues, and mosques who work across lines of religion, race, and culture to form a community organization for social justice in Metro Phoenix. Anyone interested in becoming a voice in the community would be a welcome member of the team. Please contact our clergy/staff liaison or the ministry team chair for more information.
As one of the larger churches within VIP, we also host many of VIP’s “civic academies,” nonpartisan informational meetings and forums held for VIP membership churches and the community at large. In the recent past, our guest speakers have included Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, the Phoenix Police and Glendale Police chiefs, and numerous state legislative and business leaders. Issues have included Medicaid expansion, K-12 education, human trafficking, the Affordable Care Act, and immigration reform. In election years, we also hold ballot initiative discussions and bring prospective local and statewide candidates together to respond to issues. Legislators listen and respond, and our influence can be a deciding factor in how they vote.
We also are a part of Salaam-Chai-Paradise, a Tri-Faith discussion group that holds panel discussions on various topics in the fall and spring.
Within the church, we organize periodic small group meetings to help identify concerns specific to the congregation. Past meetings have surfaced issues such as medical care, elder care, mental health services, work force retraining, neighborhood safety, and K-12 education. Using a combination of mentoring programs, research actions led by knowledgeable speakers, group discussions and large public actions engaging elected officials, we have been able to address these problems and take further action. Join us and help become a positive voice for the community and make a difference in the lives of many.