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St. Francis UMC of Tucson:  Strange Theology Unrecognizable to Most Christian UMs

Saint Francis in the Foothills UMC
4625 East River Road
Tucson, AZ  85718
Phone: (520) 299-9063
Fax: (520) 299-9099

Reverend P. David Wilkinson

"I believe the Christian Church, in general, and the United Methodist Church, specifically is on the threshold of moving into a larger understanding of what it means to be IN CHRIST, and what it means to be THE CHURCH.  I believe that "movement" is dependent upon our willingness to recognize our oneness with each other (male, female, gay, lesbian, straight, Jew, Buddhist, agnostic, atheist) and with all creation.  I also believe this recognition is inevitable.  My ministry was, is and shall be focused on such inclusiveness.

I was brought up to believe that we are saved not because we are Christian, but because we are God's children ... all of us.  My ministry, therefore, is not devoted to enlarging the Christian family, but to awakening the human family to our innate and Divine Oneness."

Saint Francis in the Foothills United Methodist Church is a Reconciling Congregation, intent on building a community which takes seriously the effort to wed the deepest intention of our Faith with the widest dimension of our world.  We are reconciling in our intention of welcoming all people of all walks of life:  women, men, gay, straight, and people of all colors.  We are also committed to overcoming the church-initiated obstacles that prevent homosexuals from marriage and ordination.

By loving and accepting each other we are being faithful to what is highest and best in human endeavor and obediently responding to what God is.  Made in God's image, as persons, loved by God, we are called to fully accept ourselves, our sexuality and each other.

We believe that Jesus of Nazareth was a human being who awakened to what it means to be fully human.  He calls us, through his life and teaching, to awaken to our own divinity (the fully human).  Jesus awakened to his own Christ nature.  We are called to do the same -- to awaken to that which unites us with all of creation.

We believe that God is that "Force" that constantly goes before us -- leading us through all "wilderness" experiences into the promise of what we were created to be.  Though we attempt no definition of God, thereby limiting what cannot be limited, we do like Brother David Stendl-Rast's description of God as "SURPRISE!"  We strive to be open to those surprises as we explore new expressions of sacred scripture as they are revealed to us through the Bible, through others, and through our sacred Earth (trees, animals, plants and rocks).

We believe that none are saved until all are saved:  none are free until all are free.  This means that salvation is not a solely Christian phenomenon, but is a free gift to all.  That, after all, is what the atonement was about.

We believe that the Bible is not the end of the revealed Word of God.  The Word continues to be made flesh in the activities of our day.  We are committed to developing a vision that reveals this sacred Word.

One of our responsibilities as a Church (The Body of Christ) is to address the widespread acts of harassment, intimidation and violence against lesbian and gay people, people of color, women, and people who are economically deprived.

We believe there are solutions to world hunger, homelessness and war, and we are intent on bringing about the Christian invitation of "peace on Earth and goodwill to all creation."

We believe that all people have a right to respect and justice.  Living lives of wholeness, love and oneness requires that we act so that no one should suffer from prejudice against their basic human rights:  life, liberty, happiness.  Saint Francis in the Foothills will continue to educate its own members about the evil of such violence and discrimination, both physical and psychological.  It is an essential step in recognizing our "kinship with all of life."

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