Eastern Pennsylvania Conference United Methodist Church
Church and Society Work Team
Workshops and Seminars for the Local
The Church and Society Work Team offers several workshops which address issues of
Pennsylvania United Methodists. Please contact us for additional
workshops and resource materials described below. We may also be able to help identify
resources or workshop
leaders for other topics which relate to United Methodist Social Principles and community
Scheduling: It is recommended that presentations be scheduled at least two months in
advance, especially for
the extended workshops of two hours or more. There are modest costs associated with some of
these workshops, such
as duplication of worksheets or video rentals, but most workshops are presented by volunteers,
and financial assistance
for workshop expenses can usually be arranged if needed.
| Introduction |
Mental Illness |
UM Witness |
Affluenza / Economic Issues |
Violence / Criminal Justice |
State-sponsored gambling and professional gaming operations have increased rapidly throughout
the U.S. in recent
years, with an accompanying increase in gambling addiction, crime, and related problems.
United Methodists in
Pennsylvania are taking a major role in opposing gambling expansion. Learn about the
consequences of legalized
gambling and how your congregation can be involved in challenging the gambling industry.
(3 hrs. minimum is recommended for full workshop; shorter presentations may be arranged
Among those who suffer from severe mental illness are people of all different occupations and
professions. What are
the various forms of mental illness? What treatments are effective? How can churches be
supportive of people with
mental illness and their families?
A United Methodist Witness in
Witness is the effective voice for United Methodist political advocacy in the
Pennsylvania state government.
In March, 1999, a major piece of gambling legislation was defeated in the Pennsylvania Senate,
due in part to the
efforts of United Methodists, including Bishop Peter Weaver. United Methodist Witness
staff members are
available to speak with groups about the legislative process in Pennsylvania and how United
participate in effect political advocacy on issues that are reflected in our Social Principles.
The following workshops look at contemporary economic issues from the perspective of
Wesleyan theology and our
Biblical tradition. The workshops use a variety of group exercises, as well as lecture-discussion
sometimes short video presentations. The minimum recommend workshop time is given in
reading can be provided for most workshops, if desired. A two-hour workshop can usually be
translated to a series of
three one-hour sessions. (Shorter presentations on some of these topics may also be
arranged--but in lecture or
sermon format, rather than a workshop.)
The Church and Working People (2 hrs)
John Wesley began his ministry among working class people for whom the Church of England
had little regard.
What does our faith tradition have to say about the church and working people? How should
the church relate
to workers and labor organizations today?
Curing Affluenza (at least 6 one-hour sessions or
"Affluenza" is the American epidemic of shopping, over-work, debt, and the pursuit of more
money. The cure
begins with a critical examination of individual and community lifestyle choices. The Bible
provides a lens for
the self-examination of our habits and thinking about lifestyle, money, time, and possessions.
The Growing Divide (2 hrs)
This is an introductory workshop on basic economic issues in America, including examination
of the rapidly growing
concentration of wealth among a small number of Americans, and the influence of big money on
public policy. The
context for this workshop is the extensive Biblical discussion of economic issues in both Old
and New Testaments.
The Global Economy for Beginners (2 hrs)
Global trade and investment policies that spell out the rights of coporations and investors often
appear to ignore the rights
of workers, communities, and the environment. What are the GATT, the MAI, the IMF, and the
WTO, and how do they
affect us and our communities? (The Growing Divide workshop is recommended as a
Corporations in our Lives (2 hrs)
Major coporations are often accused of environmental polution, producing unsafe products, and
buying political influence,
but corporations also provide jobs and contribute to community programs and services. What is
the appropriate role for
corporations in a democratic society? (The Growing Divide workshop is recommended as a
U.S. Tax Policy -- What's Fair? (2 hrs)
There are many proposals for changes in U.S. tax system--including Flat Tax, Simplified
Progressive Tax, National Sales
Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Estate Tax, and No Taxes. What are these various proposals, and whom
do they benefit? How
are decisions about taxes related to our faith tradition?
Jubilee 2000 (1-2 hr)
United Methodist agencies are among the many organizations calling for celebration of the
Jubilee prescribed in Old
Testament law and proclaimed at the outset of Jesus' ministry (Luke 4:19). This workshop
explores the Biblical tradition
and its contemporary interpretation, including a call for the forgivenes of Third World debt.
The 1.8 million people in U.S. prisions (one of every 145 people in the U.S.) is expected to
exceed the incarceration rate
of every other nation in the world by year's end, and requires enormous public expense. Why is
our prison population so
large, and what are the alternatives? Restorative justice is based on the Biblical concept of
Breaking the Cycle of Violence in America
What do Iraq and Yugoslavia have in common with American schools and the School of the
Americas? Is it surprising that violence inevitably breeds more violence? This workshop
explores how and why active non-violence is necessary to break the cycle of violence.
You may contact the Church and Society Work Team by phone, mail, or E-mail:
826 Tioga Avenue, Bethlehem, PA 18018
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Last Updated: 5/9/99