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|Volume VII Issue 7 ||
30 March 2011
MFSA honors Dr. David Graybeal
For more than half a century, Dr. David Graybeal has taught and inspired thousands of students at Drew University
. Since 1959, those in the Theological School
and Caspersen School for Graduate Studies
have taken the journey with him in his "Search for the Good Community," a course that was designed to help students find and participate in the goodness of their own communities while helping them to discover the possibilities of the Good Community that is yet to come. During his tenure at Drew, Dr. Graybeal produced a number of videos probing the complexity of many social issues, from the work of the UN and NGOs, to struggles in Puerto Rico, Central America and between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. He was also responsible for developing classes that took his students to Puerto Rico, United Methodist General Conference gatherings, and to the United Nations.
On March 23-24, 2011, many current and former students, colleagues and friends gathered to celebrate Dr. Graybeal's scholarship and dedication to the Drew Theological School. At the conclusion of Thursday's chapel service, which was sponsored by Reconciling Ministries Network students, MFSA presented Dr. Graybeal with "The Good Community Award," created in his honor. The award read, "Presented to Dr. David Graybeal for inspiring so many to search, work and help lay the foundation for the Good Community."
|This week on Facebook...|
Where have you experienced the good community?
Want to keep the conversation going? Host a Connecting Voices meet-up in your area, and don't forget to tell us about it!
There's still time! Sign on to support the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA)
Immigration Equality, an advocacy group that has pushed for immigration reform, and specifically the Uniting American Families Act, which would grant equal citizenship status for the undocumented partners of U.S. citizens who are gay or lesbian, is compiling a list of signers--religious leaders, organizations, and denominations--to a letter in support the legislation. The Uniting American Families Act is likely to be introduced in Congress in April, and there is still time for your chapter to sign on. Last year, MFSA National as well as the Virginia, Southwest Texas and Oregon-Idaho chapters signed on to the letter, which has now been signed by over 400 faith leaders. Email Jennifer at MFSA National if your chapter is interested in becoming a signer. You can read the full text of the letter on the MFSA website.
For more information on the Uniting American Families Act, check out Sarah Posner's post at Religion Dispatches, "Religious Leaders for Immigration Equality for Gay and Lesbian Couples."
|Chapters and Partners|
Apply for Mission: Reconciliation
United Methodist Women (UMW) is an organization whose purpose is to know God, experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ and to expand concepts of mission. In keeping with those long-held traditions, the UMW hosts a National Seminar in social justice leadership development every four years. The 2011 National Seminar will be about enriching our understanding of the ministry of reconciliation.
The National Seminar will engage participants in Bible study and spiritual reflection; dialogue about current social, political and economic realities of our time; critical analysis of the domestic and global issues that affect women, children and youth; celebration of the extraordinary work that God is accomplishing through the witness of United Methodist Women; equipping themselves for the many works of justice-service, advocacy, caring and hospitality; and developing new tools to strengthen the witness of UMW conferences, districts, local units and other groups.
The National Seminar will be held August 13-18, 2011 at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel in Birmingham, Alabama.
This year, for the first time, the UMW is conducting an open application for 25 women. For more details on qualification and application, visit the OnFire blog. Space is limited and the application deadline is April 1, 2011. The application is available online here.
Earth Sunday Resources Available
The National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Programs has once again made resources available for celebrating Earth Sunday. Earth Day falls on Good Friday this year, but Earth Sunday may be celebrated on any Sunday. If your church is planning an Earth Sunday worship service, please share your plans with Cassandra Carmicheal in the NCC Eco-Justice office. Resources are available for download here.
|Sparks: OnFire in action|
|International, ecumenical summer camps for young people in Prali, Italy
Agape International Ecumenical Centre is a place to experience community in beautiful natural surroundings. For the past 50 years, Agape has been a place of education and development, theological exploration, political engagement, and acceptance. Every year many people from various religious, cultural, and political backgrounds come to Agape for one week to discuss and to be challenged, to get to know themselves and each other and to exchange experiences around a particular theme.
The three international camps scheduled for the summer of 2011 are the Political Camp (July 31 - August 7), Theological Camp (August 7-14) and Work Camp (August 15-20). Information pertaining to registration and scholarships for the 2011 summer camps is now available. You can find more information on the OnFire blog, or on Agape's website.
The World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) is encouraging broad participation in the political and theological camps. Scholarships are also available for those looking to become more involved in the North American Region of the WSCF. Those interested in such funding should apply with Agape and also notify Luciano Kovacs in the WSCF office.
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
|Middle East Spotlight|
|MFSA endorses Move Over AIPAC Conference-- can you attend?
MFSA is encouraging Middle East activists to participate in "Move Over AIPAC: Building a New US Middle East Policy" from May 21-24, 2011, in Washington, DC. Timed to coincide with the annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the event will bring together concerned citizens from around the country to learn about the extraordinary influence AIPAC has on U.S. policy and strengthen an alternative that respects the rights of all people in the region.
As an endorsing organization, we would like to have at least two people attend on behalf of MFSA. If you are planning to attend, please inform Jennifer at the national MFSA office. We may be able to assist in locating housing for conference attendees.
For more information, visit http://www.moveoveraipac.org/. You can also download a flier or poster (color or black & white) for distribution in your chapter or congregation.