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Volume VI Issue 15
|| 22 September 2010
Over the past few weeks we've received numerous emails concerning Park 51, the planned Quran burning and the general islamophobia that seems to permeate public opinion--or at least that being put forth by the media. The voice for peace is not entirely lost, but has certainly been sidelined as more sensational, fear-based rhetoric takes the spotlight.
But rather than struggle for a few moments of air time, peace-loving people all over the country have spoken with their hands and feet. In this issue of E-news, you'll see how MFSAers are living out the call to peacemaking. We've compiled a list of actions and resources responding to the proposed Quran burnings and Park 51 controversy.
Ace Parsi, a new OnFire blogger, shares his experience of the DC 9/11 Unity Walk
. Local MFSA chapters are preparing to participate in the One Nation Working Together March on Washington
, and they encourage you to join them in DC, or in your home community. Rev. Gil Caldwell
reflects on the racism at play in the hype concerning President Obama's faith.
As we celebrate the International Day of Peace
, let's reflect on what steps we can be taking to show the world that peace is possible.
Grace and peace,
MFSA Outreach and Communications Coordinator
A map of 9/11 Peace Actions and Resources
As news of the planned Quran burnings heated up the media in the days preceding September 11th, many MFSA members and friends contacted MFSA's Washington, DC office, sharing their concern and planned responses. Check out our website to find a map of peace actions that occurred (or will be occurring) to promote interfaith peace and understanding. You'll also find resources, articles and actions concerning islamophobia and the Park 51 controversy. If we missed your event, it's not too late to let us know! Email Jennifer with a brief summary of your rally, prayer service or action, and you'll be added to the map!
|Sparks: OnFire in action|
Building Peace by Serving Each Other
This week on the OnFire blog: Ace Parsi debuts with a post about his experience in the annual 9/11 Unity Walk in Washington, DC:
This weekend I experienced something pretty wonderful: a broken narrative. The narrative the last few months has been one of religious conflict between Christianity and Judaism against Islam. [...] It could be seen at a time when the notion of an Islamic center in the neighborhood of the World Trade Center brings such national anger and a leader of a church could actually call for burning the Muslim holy book...
If you are interested in contributing to the OnFire blog, please contact Shannon Sullivan.
Who is OnFire? We are United Methodist young adults reclaiming our Wesleyan heritage of
spiritual and social transformation. We are empowering young adults to
impact our church and our world. OnFire organizes as the young adult
chapter of MFSA.
|Chapters and Partners|
One Nation Working Together
On Saturday, October 2, 2010, hundreds of thousands of Americans from across the country will gather at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, to demonstrate re-commitment to change. The One Nation March will feature human and civil rights leaders, labor leaders, environmental and peace activists, faith leaders, celebrities and sports figures - all marching together to help Put America Back to Work and to Pull America Back Together.
There has been some interest in having an MFSA presence at this march. If you are interested, please contact Hunter Mabry of the Virginia Chapter. And if you can't make it to DC, local actions are happening around the country. Click here to find an action near you, or consider organizing your own.
"The Elephant in the Room Is Race"
and other thoughts by Rev. Gil Caldwell
In light of the recent public tumult concerning President Obama's religious beliefs, Rev. Gil Caldwell wrote a reflection entitled "The Elephant in the Room Is Race," pointing to a Ramsi Kassem article which suggests that the islamophobia surrounding the president's faith was displaced racism. Rev. Caldwell's article was signed by over 75 clergy persons and faith leaders, most of them United Methodist. The action was picked up by the United Methodist News Service and received subsequent criticism. Rev. Caldwell also shared with us his response to this criticism. More recently, Rev. Caldwell wrote a reflection about the 2010 primary elections, which is also available on the MFSA website.Rev. Gilbert Caldwell is a retired United Methodist minister who participated
in the "Mississippi Freedom Summer" of 1964, the Selma to Montgomery
March in 1965, and the March on Washington in 1963.
World Peace Day
Yesterday, September 21, was World Peace Day. Established by the UN in 1981, the day is meant to be one of nonviolence and cease-fire. But we know that peace is more than the absence of violence. It takes a conscious, continued effort to bring about the change we wish to see in the world. Throughout this issue of E-news, you've seen MFSA members driven by faith and leading by example.
Want to be a part? It starts with one, but takes a community. Host a Connecting Voices
house party or meet-up with others from your church and town. You'll find all the material you need on our website
to lead a discussion about how progressive Christian faith compels us to action. We want to fill our map
with groups throughout the country. Join the movement!