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Uniting American Families Act
Palestinian Solidarity, Hate Crimes Symposium
Breaking Bread and Barriers in Texas
Wisconsin MFSA Advent Reflections now available
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Volume VI  Issue 20
  1 December 2010

I have very fond childhood memories of the season of Advent.  Sometime in early December, Mom would pull out the boxes of Christmas decorations from the basement, and the two of us would unpack them and take turns saying, "Oh!  I'd forgotten about this one!"  "Do you remember making this?"  Then I'd scurry off to put each item in its place before returning to uncover the next surprise.

Though I looked forward to Christmas morning like any child, I remember enjoying the whole month of December.  My favorite activity was retreating to my bedroom, where--by the light of the electric candle in my window--I would play with my angel collection on the windowsill.  I loved how the light of that candle transformed my room into a different place.  It made even the routine of falling asleep feel more special than any other time of year.  I was living--quite literally--in a different light. 

Though I do not plan on investing in electric candles for my DC home, I am reminded this first week of Advent of the call upon justice-seekers to live in a different light.  And it is always a privilege to share with you the many ways in which MFSA is doing just that.  In this season of giving, we hope you'll give generously to support the good work of progressive Methodists around the country.

Support MFSA
MFSA supports Uniting American Families Act
OnFire blog: Palestine Solidarity, Hate Crimes Symposium
Central Texas MFSA hosts Breaking Bread and Barriers gathering
Wisconsin MFSA daily Advent Reflections now available

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

As we enter the season of Advent, there is a sense of anxiety as well as hopefulness in the land, especially outside the windows of our MFSA national office.  While some are excited about the changing voices on Capitol Hill, many of us look on with great concern as to what this will mean for the people of our world.

Advent is a season of prophetic voices: the voice of one crying in the wilderness, the voice proclaiming that the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light, the voice of Mary's song reminding us that the powerful and rich will not have the last word.  Oh, how we need voices that turn despair into hope and uncertainty into certainty. 

For over 100 years, MFSA has been the prophetic and progressive voice to the United Methodist Church.  The voice of MFSA is strong and needed in our land, and your support continues to be so important.   Now is the right time to invest in connecting the voices of progressive United Methodists who will create a future of common good and justice. 

Please make your contribution today.  We are suggesting gifts in the amount of $100, $250, $500, or $1,000, but donations of any size are welcome.  You can give by making a secure online donation through our website, or by sending a check to the MFSA National office (address at bottom of email).
TakeActionTake Action

 Support the Uniting American Families Act
(response requested by Dec. 5)

Uniting American Families ActIn the last two editions of E-news, we've called on MFSA chapters to sign on to a letter of support for the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA).  Many thanks to the Oregon-Idaho and Virginia chapters for doing so.  Please circulate this call among your chapter leadership and report back to Jennifer by December 5.  We want to show strong MFSA support for this effort when the ecumenical group of supporters meets again in early December.  You can read the letter on our website.

The Uniting American Families Act would end the long-standing discrimination faced by lesbian and gay bi-national couples under current immigration law.  If passed, the law would allow nearly 36,000 families to be reunited. This bill would allow and require lesbian and gay bi-national couples to petition in the same way - and with the same rigorous process of documentation - as straight couples.  With some members of the faith community withholding support of UAFA, it is imperative that groups such as MFSA voice their strong support.  Sign on today! 

SparksSparks: OnFire in action
Young People reflect on Palestinian Solidarity, Hate Crimes Symposium

From Janessa Chastain: November 29 is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. [...] The Methodist Federation for Social Action supports the establishment of Palestine as an independent state in the hope that it would bring an end to the violence in Palestine and Israel. [...]  Dr. David Graybeal, a Drew professor, along with the MFSA, invited Drew students to come participate in this day.  Read more here.

From Shannon Sullivan and Kristi Soutar: 
On November 20, 2010, 150 people gathered at Grace United Methodist Church in New York City for a hate crimes symposium to confront what it means and what it would look like to commit ourselves to the work of ending hate violence. The symposium, called
My Brother's Keeper: People of faith confront hate crimes, was sponsored by multiple conference and independent groups, including the NY chapter of MFSA. Click here to read reflections on this event from young MFSA members.
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:  If you are interested in contributing to the OnFire blog, please contact Shannon Sullivan.
ChaptersChapters and Partners

Central Texas: Breaking Bread and Barriers
by Milton Jordan

Breaking Bread and BarriersOver 150 migrants and descendants of migrants gathered on Oct. 28, 2010, for Breaking Bread and Barriers. Friends from Mexico and Ireland, Germany and Honduras and others with ancestors from around the world ate and talked with one another about their common history and their differences. Varying languages were heard and the common languages of laughter and music were shared.  Read more here.
ProgPondProgressive Ponderings

Advent wreathThe 10th annual Advent Reflections offered by the Wisconsin United Methodist Federation for Social Action (WUMFSA) are now available.  Every year has had a different focus and writers. The Advent 2010 collection covers the first Sunday of Advent through the first Sunday after Christmas, and includes reflections on John Wesley's use of scriptural passages in his sermons.  Much appreciation goes out to chapter member Wesley White for this collection.  Click here to view the daily reflections.

You can also check out the weekly Advent devotional prepared by Churches for Middle East Peace by clicking here.