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The wall we want to build in Arizona
Fall meeting & Believe Out Loud
Young progressives blog out loud
Last call for chapter reports!
Another war in need of prevention
What's wrong with "rights?"
 Connecting Voices
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Volume VI  Issue 13   25 August 2010

Recently, I've heard a lot of people asking, "What is MFSA up to these days?"  My response is always, "Quite a bit!  You should subscribe to E-News."  It's true, it has been a summer of transition for the national office, but there are many new and exciting ways to get involved with MFSA.  In addition to the actions below, don't forget to check out our Connecting Voices page.  Consider hosting a gathering of progressives in your area!

Grace and peace,
Jennifer Mihok
MFSA Outreach and Communications Coordinator
GCTake Action

The wall we want to build in Arizona

US-Mexico WallThis fall, the University of Arizona No More Deaths group will be constructing a large fence that will cut through the university campus, effectively bisecting some of the busiest areas.  One side of the fence will be decorated to represent the US-Mexico border wall, with fact sheets, pictures, graphics, and belongings left behind by migrants, all fastened to the fence with zip-ties.  The opposite side of the fence will be decorated similarly to represent the US-Israeli apartheid wall that cuts through the Palestinian West Bank.  The purpose of this "Concrete Connection," as they're calling it, is to intentionally disrupt the freedom of movement on campus in order to dramatize both crises.    

Israel-Palestine wallThe campus group needs help collecting news stories, pictures and objects to cover the wall.  Personal reflections or artistic pieces are also encouraged.  MFSA has a long history of working for justice in both of these issues, and the AU No More Deaths Group would love to have us participate in this effort.  If you have pieces that you would like to contribute--articles, photos, reflections, prayers, poems, thoughts or other creations--please forward them to the national office either electronically, or via snail mail (212 E. Capitol St., NE  Washington, DC  20003).  We'll compile the pieces and send them to Arizona where they will be displayed for 2-3 weeks in late October.  Please send submissions to Washington, DC, by September 30, 2010.
NatUpNational Update

Fall meeting & Believe Out Loud Power Summit

MFSA Board and Program Council Meeting
AmosThe MFSA Board and Program Council will be meeting from October 28-30, 2010 in Des Plaines, IL.  Registration for this event is now open.  Each MFSA chapter and chapter-in-formation should send one voting delegate to the gathering.  Chapters are encouraged to send multiple representatives to this meeting, where MFSA members from around the country can gather to share their experiences.  This is especially important as we move closer to General Conference 2012.

Board members as well as last year's Program Council representatives should have received this information last week.  If you are a new Program Council representative and have not received this information, please contact Melissa Calvillo.

Believe Out Loud Power Summit
BOL Power SummitThe Believe Out Loud Power Summit will convene a group of 500 ecumenical organizers from October 8-11, 2010, in Orlando, FL, for a weekend of worship, connection and high level organizer training offered by the staff of the Gay and Lesbian Task Force. The Reconciling Ministries Network will be sending 100 organizers representing 59 United Methodist Annual Conference Teams to the power summit to kick off the 4th year of Called to Witness.  20-30 spots are still available.  Participants are especially needed from the following annual conferences: Iowa, Desert Southwest, Nebraska, Alabama-West Florida, Missouri, and Susquehanna.  RMN is covering the costs of the hotel and training for the 100 organizers.  Participants from across the country are asked to cover their travel and food. Contact Rachel Harvey for more information and to register.  773-736-5526 or
SparksSparks: OnFire in action
Progressive young people blog out loud

BorderlandsWho says August is a slow news time?  OnFire continues to follow closely the situation on the US-Mexico border with a guest post from Christian Peacemaker Teams Borderlands member Rosemarie Milazo.  OnFire blogger Shannon Sullivan draws attention to France's deportation of Roma peoples, which made the New York Times this week.  And we welcome new contributor Whitney Pierce, a second-year student at Candler School of Theology, who reflects on the Park 51 Community Center in light of Romans 12:21.  Many thanks to our writers for their reflections! 

If you are interested in becoming a contributor, please contact Shannon Sullivan.
ChaptersPartnersChapters and Partners

Absolute last call for chapter reports!
At-large reflections sought as well!

March for Peace and Social Justice during Iowa Annual Conference
The MFSA website has been updated with all received chapter reports from annual conference.  If you are not sure whether your chapter has sent a report, you can check by clicking on your state on our chapter map.  Please send reports to Jennifer by Monday, August 30, 2010.

We are also looking for reports from our at-large members.  If you consider yourself an MFSA member, but do not associate directly with a chapter, we would love to hear your reflections on annual conference, or simply on what it's like to be a progressive in your area.  Please email your thoughts to Jennifer Mihok, MFSA Outreach and Communications Coordinator.
Middle East Update
Another War in Need of Prevention

Stirred by an article in the September 2010 issue of The Atlantic, "Israel, Iran and the Bomb," the media has been discussing the merits of an Israeli attack on Iran in response to their new nuclear power facility and a possible US response supporting Israel that would involve Israel Iranus in another war. Some anti-war groups have warned that an Israeli attack is imminent. While the issue is not new, our UM missionary in Bethlehem writes, "the jets are flying again. This is never a good sign. It means the Israeli military is gearing up for something. (Last time it was Gaza again.) There have been articles recently about the possibility of Israel attacking Iran.  Now that would really be foolish! No matter where they strike next, it will only mean more death and destruction. There is never any 'winner' in a war."

MFSA actively opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and along with the UMC has long advocated "for a peaceful settlement of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians through negotiation and diplomacy rather than through methods of violence and coercion." (The Book of Resolutions of the UMC, p. 6076, 2008.)  Members are urged to monitor the situation with Israel and Iran and be prepared to protest any movement by the US to go to war. For more information, see the Institute for Policy Studies.
ProgPondProgressive Ponderings

What's wrong with "rights?"
Politico: Moving the middle on marriage

Marriage RightsAs MFSA moves forward with its strategic plan, we have been reminded time and time again about the need to reframe the conversation when discussing progressive values.  "Rights" is a buzzword of the movements of the 50s and 60s; what is it that speaks to folks today?  Last week, Politico put out an interesting response in regards to the reversal of Prop 8.  Just how do we move the middle on marriage, and how might people of faith in particular be invaluable in this reframing?  Click here to read the article.  Feel free to share your responses with other MFSAers by emailing Jennifer at MFSA national.