Felten to Receive “Voice in the Wilderness” Award from Reconciling Ministries Network

rmnwebPastor David is being recognized with a national honor, the 2015 Voice in the Wilderness Award for “persons or groups who, despite their isolation in wilderness situations, take risks to proclaim the rightness of inclusion of all persons in the community of the church.”

The Reconciling Ministries Network, a national advocacy group for the rights of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, will present the award at its national convocation in San Antonio, Texas on August 8th, 2015.

This is not only a proud moment for Pastor Felten, but for the whole congregation at The Fountains. A Reconciling Congregation since 2013 and a host of regular PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) meetings since 2011, the Fountains has been the lone theological leader in Fountain Hills speaking for the rights of LGBTQ individuals. In 2014, Nelda Majors and Karen Bailey, members of The Fountains, were the first couple to receive a same-sex marriage license in Arizona.

In the wake of Pastor Felten’s support of a nondiscrimination ordinance in Fountain Hills and for his advocacy of Progressive Christianity, eight fundamentalist churches in Fountain Hills joined together in the summer of 2015 for a six-week sermon series attempting to discredit Progressive Christianity. They also took out large ads in the local paper and hung banners in front of their churches calling into question the legitimacy of Progressive Christianity in general and, by extension, Rev. Felten and his progressive Biblical teaching (which includes the popular “Living the Questions” DVD curriculum series for Progressive Christians).

In the face of this criticism, Rev. Felten has remained determined and is gratified that the publicity surrounding the local theological bullying has served to further promote the values of progressive theology to a national audience and beyond. With a strong commitment to his local congregation, he continues to speak out on issues of justice beyond the walls of the church. He notes that, “Despite recent victories for Marriage Equality, there’s still much work to be done in dismantling the discriminatory practices enshrined in our churches, the law, and our culture.” Pastor Felten is no stranger to resistance for his taking a prophetic stance: he is also a founding member of “No Longer Silent: Clergy for Justice,” an outspoken voice working for LGBTQ rights both in the church and in the community at large for nearly twenty years.

For continuing to support LGBTQ rights while enduring fierce opposition from fellow clergy in and around the Phoenix area, Rev. David Felten is presented with the Reconciling Ministry Network’s “Voice in the Wilderness” award for 2015.

David is particularly thankful to the people of The Fountains for their support and encouragement of the work in which he has been involved, adding, “This award is a recognition of the faithful witness of the entire Fountains faith community.”

WATCH HERE FOR THE FOUNTAINS UMC RESPONSE TO COVID-19Information changes frequently, so be sure to check back often

The Fountains UMC is creating a plan for its response to COVID-19, with the goal of maintaining social distance to keep everyone safe. Sharing information and maintaining contact with members and the community is critical, and to that end we have several actions in process. Watch here for updates, and come back often to check on new information!

  • All in-person meetings and group gatherings on campus are supended through the end of April.
  • The Fountains UMC Office will be open by appointment only until further notice.
  • Sunday morning Celebrations are Live-Streamed at 9:30am only, no face-to-face gatherings.
  • Meals at JUSTA and Halle Centers are suspended until further notice.
  • April 24-26 Mingus Mountain All Church Camp is cancelled
Sunday Morning Celebrations

Sunday morning Celebrations will be held at 9:30 online only, via Livestream, You Tube and Facebook. Follow one of these links to tune in on Sunday mornings: