Social and Political Activism at the First United Methodist Church of Germantown

The First United Methodist Church of Germantown (FUMCOG) has a long history of political and social activism and has continued a variety of programs. These programs include The Haiti Project, the Anti-Death Penalty Group, the After School Program, the Religion and Race Committee, Northwest Interfaith Hospitality Network, and the Welfare to Work Task Force.

The After-School Program for high school students is under the direction of Melody C. Porter, who is currently pursuing ordination as a Deacon in Full Connection with the United Methodist Church. In THE CONGREGATION Melody is seen leading Spiritual Nurture, a group that focuses on ways to develop and support participants growth in the life of faith.

Information on these programs can be found at

During the filming period of THE CONGREGATION, members of the church were seen actively working on the following programs:

In THE CONGREGATION FUMCOG members faced building tensions in the Middle East and the subsequent war in Iraq. In response numerous FUMCOG members attended the Martin Luther King Day Pray & Act for Peace and Justice war march to the White House on January 20, 2003. The event began with a prayer service at the National Cathedral and concluded with a procession to the White House and candlelight prayer vigil.

Religious leaders from across the country gathered at the Washington National Cathedral for a prayer service that focused on the impact of war on the nation’s poor. Dr. Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, invoked the words of Dr. Martin Luther King:

"We are challenged to rid our nation and the world of poverty ...We must find an alternative to war and bloodshed ... It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence, ... and the alternative to strengthening the United Nations and thereby disarming the whole world may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation..."

Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, Christians for Justice and Peace, spoke that day at the National Cathedral. In his meditation he called for President Bush to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Iraq:

“From this National Cathedral and then in our candlelight vigil at the White House we appeal today to President George W. Bush not in anger but in hope to a fellow brother in Christ to heed the words of our prophet, the words of our brother Martin Luther King Jr., the words of Jesus, our Prince of Peace, to win this battle without war. Mr. President, the hour is late. We stand at a midnight in history and what we need from you is a Faith-Based Initiative.”

For further information please visit the following sites:

  • Sojourner’s — a Christian ministry whose mission is to proclaim and practice the biblical call to integrate spiritual renewal and social justice.
  • National Council of Churches of Christ USA — the NCCC encourages cooperation among the various Christian denominations and has been vocal in their opposition to the War in Iraq.
  • Episcopal Diocese of Washington — the host of the "Pray & Act" event.
  • Call to Renewal is a national network of churches, faith-based organizations, and individuals working to overcome poverty in America.


Reverend Beth Stroud has primary responsibility for Christian Education Programs, including the Senior High Youth Group. The Senior Youth Group consists of high-school age church members and meets on Sunday mornings for informal fellowship and reflection. The group also gathers about once a month for special activities and events including educational trips, parties, cultural events and retreats. The group takes an annual summer trip to expose the young people to new experiences that help them develop a deeper faith. Trips focus on service, learning, or spiritual development: in 2000 the group visited FUMCOG's sister community in Fondwa, Haiti, to learn about life and faith in a developing country; in 2002, THE CONGREGATION film included the Senior Youth Group’s participation in home repair projects in West Virginia and Tennessee with the Appalachia Service Project. In 2003 they visited Taize, a monastic community in France with a special outreach to young people from all over the world.

Rev. Stroud also leads the junior-high age church members in the Confirmation Class. Eighth graders and older students may choose to reaffirm their baptism through confirmation or to be baptized. During the year preceding their confirmation, these young church members are invited to explore a deeper commitment to the church through a focused, two-year program including classes, trips, retreats, community service, and worship.

Appalachia Service Project

Members of the Youth Group from the First United Methodist Church of Germantown (FUMCOG) participated in the Summer Ministry Program of the Appalachia Service Project (ASP). Every summer, thousands of volunteers repair and build homes for low-income families in rural Central Appalachia. The ASP, which is affiliated with the Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church, utilizes the assistance of nearly 15,000 volunteers of all ages, offering year-round service opportunities at their Housing Services Centers.

The Appalachia Service Project was the brainchild of United Methodist Minister and former missionary Glenn “Tex” Evans. While serving as director of the Henderson Settlement in Frakes, Kentucky, Rev. Evans saw the economically depressed region’s dire need for housing. Evans created ASP in 1969 with the goals of alleviating poverty while encouraging growth in Christian faith and stewardship. In their inaugural summer, ASP organized 50 volunteers to repair four homes in Barbourville, Kentucky. Today ASP serves Central Appalachian counties in Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. All of these counties have poverty rates well above the national average, and many are classified as "distressed" by the Appalachian Regional Commission.

For more information on the Appalachia Service Project please visit:


Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgender Persons in the United Methodist Church

Under the leadership of Rev. Ted Loder, the First United Methodist Church of Germantown (FUMCOG) voted to become a Reconciling Congregation in 1990, affirming the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered persons in the life of the church. The FUMCOG congregation is now an active participant in the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), a growing movement of over 200 congregations worldwide working for full inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the United Methodist Church.

The Reconciling Ministries Network grew out of the organization Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian/Gay Concerns in Boston. At a meeting of the group in 1982, discussions centered on the need for “reconciliation” between the United Methodist Church and lesbians and gay men and inspired the term “Reconciling Churches.” Thus began the movement to recruit churches into a network that accepts lesbians and gays into their community. Since then churches around the world have joined the RMN. The RMN encompasses 192 Reconciling Congregations, 26 Reconciling Campus Ministries, and 19 other Reconciling Communities and Ministries. There are over 17,000 Reconciling United Methodists.

In recent years FUMCOG formed its own Religion and Sexuality Committee to discuss issues of being a Reconciling Congregation. After Associate Pastor Beth Stroud delivered her sermon “Walking in the Light” announcing her sexual orientation she received full support from the congregation. A church committee continues to provide her with both legal and financial aid.

For further information on the Reconciling Ministries Network and the subject of gays and lesbians in the United Methodist Church, please visit the following sites:

  • The Reconciling Ministries Network is a national grassroots organization that exists to enable full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the life of the United Methodist Church, both in policy and practice. On this site you can find a directory of United Methodist congregations participating in the RMN and further reading on the subject.
  • Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Concerns is another organization working for full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in all areas of the United Methodist Church.
  • G.U.M. Research ­ Jamie Stroud’s dissertation “Why Lay and Clergy Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered United Methodists Remain Loyal To and/or Affiliated With the United Methodist Church”

Sites Pertaining to Gays and Lesbians in other Church Denominations:

Other Christian Sites:

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