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Volume VI  Issue 17  21 October 2010
Greetings!

MFSA is very happy to announce a Coalition Coordinator job opening with the National Office in Washington, DC.  But this isn't the only place where your help is needed.  In addition to opportunities to volunteer with MFSA during two major events, Sing a New Song and General Conference, there is a constant need for us as Methodists committed to justice and full inclusion to "Believe Out Loud Together!"  Yesterday was Spirit Day and many people wore purple to raise awareness around LGBT-bullying.  In addition to this collective action, present and former victims of gay bullying were encouraged to write personal letters to current high school principals, describing their experiences and calling for change.  This week, take some time to share your story with someone new, and consider sharing it with the online community as well.  With many young people not feeling safe in and leaving the church, we need to reach out daily--dispelling violent rhetoric and welcoming others into the beloved community.

Grace and peace,
Jennifer Mihok
MFSA Outreach and Communications Coordinator
NatUpNational Update

MFSA hiring Coalition Coordinator

MFSA is now seeking a full-time coalition organizer to work on social justice issues including justice for persons who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender. Though coordinated through MFSA national, the position will work in close coalition with the Reconciling Ministries Network, Affirmation and other caucuses and groups affiliated with the United Methodist Church.  This is a one-year position funded by the Arcus Foundation and is expected to be renewed for a second year.  The position will focus initially on preparing for Annual Conferences 2011 and will involve travel. The second focus will be on organizing for General Conference 2012.  Click here for the official job posting.
ChaptersPartnersChapters and Partners

MFSA volunteers needed for Sing a New Song

Sing a New SongOn August 25-28, 2011, MFSA and the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) will co-host a national gathering entitled, "Sing a New Song," bringing our groups together in a powerful weekend of worship, learning and organizing for General Conference 2012.  MFSA is excited for this opportunity to present workshops on multiple justice issues while continuing to work with RMN for the full inclusion of LGBT persons.  Mark your calendars now.  We want to have a great MFSA turnout.

MFSA is still looking for volunteers to join its planning committee, especially those from Ohio and the North Central Jurisdiction.  Also needed are individuals with experience or interest in outreach, fundraising, and workshop coordination.  For more information or to volunteer, contact MFSA Board member Melissa Calvillo
SparksSparks: OnFire in action
Early call for young
General Conference volunteers


MFSA General Conference organizing efforts are already underway.  Critical in this effort is the involvement of young leaders.  At GC 2008, OnFire and MoSAIC (Movement of Students and young people for an All-Inclusive Church) organized a young adult rally (see video) as well as a witness to water as a human right.  In addition to planning these and other events, young people are needed  to take on leadership in MFSA legislative efforts.  If you or someone you know is interested in participating, please contact Jennifer at the national office.

   Young Adult Rally
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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.  Check out our blog at: www.umonfire.blogspot.com.  If you are interested in contributing to the OnFire blog, please contact Shannon Sullivan.
TakeActionTake Action

Share your story with United Methodist News

The last issue of MFSA Enews featured stories and resources responding to the tragic string of suicides of LGBT youth.  On Monday (October 18, 2010), the United Methodist News Service published a piece entitled, "Voice of faith crucial to young gays," which highlights the "Coming Out Party" hosted by the Urban Village (United Methodist) Church in Chicago and calls for compassion toward gay youth. 

In the article, parts of the church's conflicting positions on LGBT persons are outlined, though the reference to the now infamous vote on the minority report at GC 2008 is a bit misleading.  Both the United Methodist News Service and its Facebook page offer the opportunity for comment on the articles.  Rather than enter into debate with other commenters, consider using the space to share stories of hope and healing experienced in reconciling groups and other safe spaces within the UMC.

Also released this week is a letter from the Board of Reconciling Ministries Network to the United Methodist Council of Bishops, calling upon them to take a stand against intolerance, violence and hate in the form of bullying.  Read the statement here.


ProgPondProgressive Ponderings

LA Times opinion: "Walking away from church"

In an opinion piece published in Sunday's edition of the Los Angeles Times, Robert D. Putnum and David E. Campbell review changes in religious affiliations of young people over the past twenty years and posit that the conservative politicization of religion has driven young people away from the church in droves.  Though 25% of people in their twenties claim no religious affiliation, many of them possess "conventional views about God and theology," according to the article.  How is your congregation or chapter seeking to speak a language that young people who consider themselves "spiritual, but not religious" can relate to?  Share your thoughts with us on Facebook.