Justice Statements

Statement on Divestment from Sudan

The United Methodist Student Association and AU United Methodist/Protestant Community stand in support of targeted divestment from Sudan. As Christians and people of God we affirm the actions of the General Board of Church and Society and United Methodists around the world to call all people into action against the Genocide in Sudan. As people of the Wesleyan tradition who believe that there is no holiness but social holiness we believe that action must be taken to end the racism, discrimination, violence, and injustices that are occurring in the Darfur region of Sudan. As worshipers of God and disciples of Jesus, we believe we are all part of one body and spirit and that calls us into a ministry of peace, love, and justice. Our university is a United Methodist-affiliated institution and is called to uphold the social principles of the United Methodist Church and should act to ensure that all its actions, including financial investment, should be done with spiritual and moral direction. We are in spiritual solidarity with the Interfaith community and other university students in calling for expedient targeted divestment from Sudan.

Statement regarding Coca Cola Boycott

We the Students of the UMSA and UM/Protestant Community in our Christian tradition agree to boycott Coca-Cola and encourage American University to cut its contract with Coca-Cola until the company allows an independent third party investigation into the allegations made in Columbia and India. If allegations are proven, we expect Coca-Cola to make amends for these actions before ending the boycott. Finally, we give permission to the Justice Committee under the guidance of Chaplain and Social Justice Coordinator to take action on this issue and to write a formal resolution to the Board of Trustees expressing the community’s concerns.

Coca-Cola is a company that represents America to the world and that representation should not be one of violence and environmental degradation.

Reconciling Statement

The AU United Methodist-Protestant Community is a reconciling campus ministry, committed to be in ministry with people of all ages, races, sexes, abilities, gender identities, sexual orientations, national origins, and religious backgrounds. Read the full statement of our commitment to be a reconciling congregation.

Statement Regarding Church Trials

November 20, 2013

To the members of the American University Community,

Image of Shepherd of Hope Award
The “Shepherd of Hope” Award given to the AU Methodists by MoSAIC (Methodist Students for an All-Inclusive Church)

By now you may have heard news about the verdict in a church trial in Pennsylvania concerning a pastor who was convicted for having performed the same-sex marriage of his son. The Rev. Frank Schaefer (no relation, except as a brother in Christ) was convicted of having violated the church’s Book of Discipline in conducting his son’s wedding six years ago. He has been given thirty days to consider whether he will be able to affirm the Book of Discipline’s prohibition on performing such ceremonies, and if he is unable to do so, he must surrender his credentials of ordination. For those in the church who care deeply about equality issues and about the inclusion of all people, this news is troubling and disheartening, and to them it represents the triumph of rule-based religion over the call of grace-filled faith. And for many it feels like a step backward in a denomination and in a nation that has been steadily recognizing the inherent equality of all to share in the blessings of God and the fruits of society.

There’s much I could say about the broader issues involved. There’s much I could say about the legal issues raised, about the responsibility of church leaders to one another, and about the underlying assumptions that govern this debate. However, I wish to speak more to the point of the nature of United Methodist community here at American University.

The United Methodist community at American University is a reconciling campus ministry, a community committed to the full inclusion of all people in the life of the church without distinction. That will not change. So long as I am privileged to serve as campus minister to this community at American University, it is my pledge that it will always remain a community committed to the full inclusion of all people in the life of the church regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, age, ability, or any other factor.  It’s something I commit to, even if it should mean my career.

We are a Christian community and we believe in the saving power of God as known to us through Jesus Christ. And we believe that Jesus came for the sake of all people, not merely for some. We believe that the love of God knows no qualifiers, knows no preconditions, no restrictions. For any among you in our treasured AU community, feeling hurt and alienated, torn between identity and faith, wondering if there is still a place for you, know this: you still have a home with the AU United Methodist community and always will.


Rev. Mark A. Schaefer
United Methodist Chaplain