Justice & Reconcilation
At Boston Avenue UMC
Boston Avenue Affirms All People
Boston Avenue is an affirming and inclusive church community. We believe that EVERYONE is a beloved child of God and we joyfully and unconditionally welcome all people into membership, leadership, and participation in the life of the church.
We know that scripture has been used by Christians to exclude and condemn members of the LGBTQ+ community – we grieve how many people, God’s own children, have been hurt by church people and churches (including our official UMC denominational statements).
We seek to be a safe place to worship, where everyone can fully participate and experience spiritual growth and belonging within the faith community.
Initiatives at Boston Avenue
We believe in love in action at Boston Avenue – learn more about what we do and we welcome you to join us!
One of our core values is that Boston Avenue UMC nurtures our congregation to be ambassadors for reconciliation.
Through studies, missions, programs, and other ministry, we engage in reconciliation work because it aligns with the core teachings of Jesus Christ, promoting forgiveness, healing, and restoration.
By actively pursuing reconciliation, we can help mend broken relationships, foster unity, and embody the transformative power of love and grace, ultimately contributing to the building of a more just and peaceful society.
Pride Parade and Partnership with the Equality Center
Several years ago, the Oklahoma Equality Center selected 13th and Boston as the starting point for Pride Parade; since then, Boston Avenue has been thrilled to offer hospitality to the thousands of participants who gather around our building in preparation for the parade. We offer water, air-conditioning, restroom facilities, kind greeters, and a safe and loving space for those wondering if Christ and the Church loves them. Dozens of volunteers from our church community show up committed to offering love and hospitality.
In addition, Boston Avenue UMC marches each year in the Pride Parade, and distributes water bottles along the parade route.
During the course of the year, Boston Avenue also responds to needs from the Equality Center as they arise, including helping provide items for their Thanksgiving meal, and providing Christmas gifts through their Fairy Tree.
Partnership with Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church
Boston Avenue has partnered with historic Vernon AME Church (the only intact, standing, black-owned structure that remains from the Historic Black Wall Street era) on numerous reconciliation endeavors, including Holy Conversations, shared musical experiences, and missions opportunities.
Boston Avenue members regularly volunteer with Vernon’s “God Provides” ministry. This program emerged during the COVID pandemic, offering free hot meals to all who were in need. Our Maranatha Sunday School Class also helped purchased a new fridge for the program, and we’re honored to continue this partnership to foster deeper healing, reconciliation and connection.
Religion and Race
In 1968, General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) was established to hold the newly formed United Methodist Church accountable in its commitment to reject the sin of racism in every aspect of the life of the church.
Boston Avenue’s Religion and Race Committee puts the denominational efforts into practice on the local church level, and works to eliminate racial tension in Tulsa by participating in and sponsoring events that celebrate diversity and encourage thoughtful and respectful dialogue, discussion, and action.
In addition to citywide events that honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Tulsa’s own Dr. John Hope Franklin, the committee hosts additional events, such as “Movies Worth Talking About” and presentations from renowned guest speakers.
Smiles of Faith Mobile Dental Clinic
In 2019 a group of clergy and laity from five churches came together to form the Smiles of Faith Free Mobile Dental Clinic.
Smiles of Faith is an innovative project stewarded by Boston Avenue UMC, Metropolitan Baptist Church, Historic Vernon AME Church, Centenary UMC, and Morning Star Baptist Church. The mobile dental clinic, which contains two newly remodeled modern dental exam rooms, will provide services out of each local church’s parking lot, with volunteers, a waiting room, and restrooms offered from within the church. All preventative and basic dental services will be provided by a licensed dentist at no charge to the patients.
This program seeks to meet a need in our community for affordable adult dental care, especially for our neighbors in the downtown and North Tulsa community, where dental clinics are sparse. We’re excited to celebrate this program’s launch in 2023!
Initiative for Justice and Reconciliation
In 2021 (the year of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre), the Administrative Board of the Boston Avenue United Methodist Church created the Initiative for Justice and Reconciliation to focus on the historic and present day racial and ethnic inequities which may exist within and outside of the church.
The Initiative is called on to recommend and facilitate actions which foster racial reconciliation and bring forth justice and repair for any harm done by the church based on past or present deeds.
The Initiative aims to promote continuous growth toward becoming a more inclusive congregation by way of actionable objectives that evolve us, individually and collectively, toward discernment of what is meant by ambassadors for reconciliation in this body of Christ and, then, to practices which help us live out our core values.
“let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger” – James 1:19 NRSVUE
Boston Avenue’s Holy Conversations series are inspired by John Wesley’s idea of holy conferencing, a format which emphasizes listening, respecting those who disagree, and seeking first to understand before being understood.
These Holy Conversations help us explore challenging issues that impact our church and community today, particularly as relates to issues around inclusion, justice, and reconciliation.
Watch this space as we will be creating a playlist around these conversations and adding the link here to the website in the near future!
Environmental Advocacy Committee
Our United Methodist Social Principles encourage us to care for the environment. Boston Avenue’s Environmental Advocacy Committee leads our church in moving towards more sustainable practices. The Committee also created, sponsors and tends to the ongoing care of the monarch way stations, located in our west parking lot.
The committee explores and implements practical ways our members can be good stewards of the earth God has given us and recommends both small and big steps we might take to improve our individual and collective environmental footprints.
If you are interested in helping sustain our environment, we welcome your involvement!
Want to get involved?
You can change the world – one person can be all it takes. Come and see how you can get involved at Boston Avenue and make a difference.