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|Volume VII Issue 2|
19 January 2011
This week, in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., many of us held worship or days of service to commemorate this leader of a movement for rights, jobs, education, non-violence, and dignity.
But despite our best efforts, it remains impossible to capture the spirit of a movement in a single day. How do we "remember" the days of prison, the weeks of marching, the months of organizing, the years of slavery and segregation? How do we honor the many who still today commit their lives to these same causes, knowing that there is still a long way to go? How are we addressing the racism that still pervades our society, church, and communities? How do we take King's challenges to heart in a new way that inspires us for this journey?
MFSA might not have all the answers to those questions, but we do invite you into a movement that is striving to wrestle with them. Here are some ways you can engage this week:
Join us on Facebook to discuss the need for non-violent discourse.
Reflect with Rev. Gil Caldwell on the need to "fess up."
Remember the Freedom Rides with JustPeace in Mississippi.
Join the Faith Advocates for Jobs campaign.
Organize a Methodist coalition in your area.
And if that's not enough (and you're between the ages of 20 and 30), consider taking a couple of years to do full-time justice work with the US-2 and Mission Intern Programs (through Global Ministries).
Grace and peace,
MFSA Outreach and Communications Coordinator
"We Spin More than the Civil War"In December, Washington Post Op-Ed Columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. published a piece entitled "Don't spin the Civil War," criticizing attempts to downplay the role of racism in its causes.
by Rev. Gil Caldwell
Rev. Gil Caldwell, United Methodist pastor and Civil Rights Leader responded with his own commentary: "We spin more than the Civil War." Rev. Caldwell reflects on the human tendency to conveniently forget or gloss over our own complicity in prejudice and discrimination.
"I once through silence, sometimes as an accomplice, supported the denial of ordination of women in the Methodist Church. [...] There were times when I have avoided using the term sexist to describe what was once denominational policy that I at the time agreed with, because in retrospect, I now realize and accept the fact that the Church and I were wrong.
"But race and gender are not the only matters that provoke/evoke revision, denial and sanitization from us. The recent repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell by the Congress and by some Judges, and the growing acceptance of same-sex unions and marriages by society, are 'setting the table' when many are beginning to create 'stories' of why the years of anti-same gender loving language and legislation by The United Methodist Church are not as negative, contradictory, anti-Scriptural and at variance with Jesus as they actually are."
You can download Rev. Caldwell's full reflection here.
|Chapters and Partners|
Nearly half a century ago, in the spring of 1961, an incredibly courageous group of individuals left Washington, DC on a commercial bus to embark on a perilous journey to strike down Jim Crow segregation in the Deep South.
Remember the Freedom Rides with JustPeace this March in Mississippi
Now, fifty years after their historic journey, United Methodists have a unique opportunity to gather in Jackson, MS, to commemorate the golden anniversary of the Freedom Rides and continue the ongoing conversation of racial reconciliation and what it means for us today.
Come join in the 11th annual JustPeace Gathering - Journey Toward the Light. JustPeace, the Mississippi Annual Conference of the UMC, and the General Commission on Religion and Race of the UMC will co-sponsor the event from 5pm on March 6th to 12 noon on March 8th, at various locations in Jackson, Mississippi.
Click here for more information and to register.
Action: Your congregation can support unemployed workers.
Is your congregation helping unemployed workers? IWJ's new Faith Advocates for Jobs campaign plans to organize 1,000 local congregation-based or interfaith support committees to assist the unemployed and their families in communities across the country.
Civic and political advocacy for a national program to expand employment and job training is a core priority of the campaign. Social activists representing various faiths and interfaith groups met at the United Methodist Building in Washington, DC, for the launch of the campaign Dec. 2.
Want to get your congregation or group involved? Contact Rev. Paul Sherry, the campaign's coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-525-3055.
Coming to a Chapter Near You (if you ask)
MFSA Coalition Coordinator Steve Clunn has hit the ground running with visits to Northern Illinois, San Francisco, New England, Arkansas and more already scheduled. Steve's work involves strengthening the coalition of groups and individuals working for justice in the UMC, specifically in regards to the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in all levels of the church by focusing on Annual and General Conference-level action. If you are planning or would like to plan an event that involves coalition-building or conference strategizing, contact Steve
and the national office of MFSA. Both he and Jennifer Mihok
(Outreach and Communications Coordinator) are available to visit your group either during or before 2011 Annual Conferences. Give us a call!
|Sparks: OnFire in action|
What do you want to do with your life? People never tire of asking young people this question. Everyone has their own answer. Here is one more: become a US-2 or Mission Intern.
Wondering what to do with your life?
|Newly commissioned US-2 missionaries in October 12, 2010|
If you are between the ages of 20 and 30 and are committed to addressing the root causes of injustice so that the gospel is lived out alongside communities and organizations seeking peace and systemic transformation, consider applying to become a United Methodist US-2 or Mission Intern with the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries. US-2s serve in the United States for two years. Mission Interns serve for 16 months in an international setting, then 16 months in the US. For more information on the programs, click here.
The application deadline for programs beginning in the fall of 2011 is Feb, 15, 2011. Apply today! Forms are available on the GBGM website.
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