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|Volume VII Issue 11 ||
25 May 2011
As clergy and active lay leaders of The United Methodist Church, we often associate late May and June with Annual Conference, and this year is no exception. With some Annual Conferences already concluded and others that don't start for nearly a month, we are now in the heart of what we have come to call "Annual Conference Season." MFSA is right there with you, and we want to hear all about how your conferences are going! We've included here a short report from the Detroit Annual Conference and invite you to share your own stories as your conferences come and go.
While we prepare for Annual Conference, preparations for Sing a New Song continue. In this issue you'll hear from one of our workshop leaders about addressing Environmental Racism. We've also got important updates about how to keep up and follow along with young adults attending Student Forum, so be sure not to miss it!
Also in this issue:
Move Over AIPAC
Changes in the Presbyterian Church (USA)
Stop Mountaintop Removal!
Connect with MFSA through Social Media
Grace and peace,
Associate for Movement Building
|Sing a New Song|
Singing for Eco-Justice
Going to the lake to enjoy the water, scenery, the cool air and beauty of God's creation is a great reason to attend Sing A New Song. On the shore of Lake Erie you can kayak, fish, take a cruise, or enjoy the marina and Sheldon Marsh Nature Preserve. Participants will be blessed with relaxation and the calming force of the nature. Yet this resort's pristine beauty might lead us to forget that there are those who do not have access to clean water, safe air to breathe, or parks to play in.
I am coming to Sing A New Song to talk about Environmental Racism, a reality in which communities of color, or communities of lower economic income, disproportionately experience the effect of environmental degradation and hazards. My workshop will help people identify ways they can join campaigns or communities to end the disparity of environmental quality in our world.
One current campaign is to protect the Bristol Bay in Alaska. Anglo American, one of the world's largest mining corporations, has proposed the world's largest open-pit gold and copper mine at the headwaters of Bristol Bay.... (click here to keep reading...)
Annual Conference Season is Upon Us
That time of year has arrived once again: Annual Conferences! Are you prepared?
Don't worry: if you need last-minute legislation to submit, MFSA has outlined our Legislative Priorities
and accompanying legislation, which are posted on our website for your use.
Already done with your Annual Conference? We'd love to hear from you! What better way for chapters to keep up with what other chapters are doing than by sharing your conference reports with one another!? (Detroit has already submitted their report, which can be found on our website here
!) MFSA would love to feature YOUR chapter's Annual Conference reports and stories on our blog. We love pictures, too! Please send your Annual Conference feedback to Jen Tyler at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Sparks: OnFire in action|
|Time for Student Forum!
Student Forum, the annual gathering of The United Methodist Student Movement, begins this week! Taking place from May 26-29 at the University of Evansville in Evansville, IN, this year's theme will be, "God is Calling... Will You Answer?"
The forum will focus on worship and social justice advocacy, leadership training for campus ministry, networking and developing legislation for General Conference 2012.
Throughout the event, OnFire leader Sara Bayles will be keeping everyone in the loop through twitter. Be sure you are following @UMOnFire to get the latest updates! Then keep an eye out next week for an OnFire blog update about Student Forum that didn't fit in 140 characters!
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
|Chapters and Partners|
Detroit Annual Conference Highlights
Following the Detroit Annual Conference, which ran from May 19-22, Rev. Rich Peacock has submitted the following summary:
Our MFSA mini-retreat and banquet were highlighted by information and inspiration from Rev. Steve Clunn, Coalition Coordinator. The Bishop Jesse and Annamary DeWitt Peace with Justice Awards went to Rev. Melanie Carey and Jeannette Bartz. Melanie is fluent in English and Spanish and has been a pioneer in ministry with immigrants including Justice for Our Neighbors and the creation of a new UMC film on a family from Guatemala. Jeannette has concentrated on labor rights and hospitality for people of all sexual orientations.
Almost all of the delegates to General Conference were supported by us. The conference endorsed a petition to General Conference to strike "the incompatible" sentence from paragraph 161.f and to add sentences recognizing that "the church is not of one mind about the practice of homosexuality" and affirming "the call to inclusiveness."
Finally, the conference also endorsed petitions to create a new resolution to expedite the end of the war in Afghanistan, to end funding of hate-based rhetoric in paragraphs 613 and 806.9, as well as to add a subsection upholding the rights of migrants to paragraph 162. Unfortunately, time constraints were dealt with by tabling a number of other petitions on inclusiveness.
|Middle East Spotlight|
Move Over AIPAC:
Building a New US Middle East Policy
CODEPINK: Women for Peace, Global Exchange, Interfaith Peace-builders, and the Fellowship of Reconciliation, together with over 100 peace and justice groups organized a gathering in Washington DC from May 21-24, 2011, called "Move Over AIPAC: Building a New US Middle East Policy."
Timed to coincide with the annual policy meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), activists and concerned citizens from around the country gathered to learn about the extraordinary influence AIPAC has on U.S. policy and how to strengthen an alternative that respects the rights of all people in the region.
Protests, education sessions, dialogue and even a flash mob were all a part of this 4-day event. To learn more, visit the Move Over AIPAC website, or visit this page for recent press releases.
Stop Mountaintop Removal
"The land is mine; with me you are but aliens and tenants." Lev 25:23
God's Creation is a gift and one that we are called to protect and to serve as tenants - not as owners. And yet we treat Creation as if it's ours, altering it to meet our needs. In no place is this more apparent than in Appalachia, where Mountaintop Removal mining - the practice of blowing off mountaintops to extract coal - is destroying both Creation and communities.
The new documentary Dirty Business sheds light on the energy industry particularly the unsustainable and unjust nature of energy production and consumption.
The National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program is offering 15 free copies of Dirty Business to the congregations or study groups that have the best plans for public viewings. Please submit your plan here no later than next Friday, May 27th. And be sure to download our study guide and their Mountaintop Removal worship resource here.
Big Changes in the
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Commentary by Rev. Steve Clunn, Coalition Coordinator
Well it's official: "After 33 years of debate, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has voted to change its constitution and allow openly gay people in same-sex relationships to be ordained as ministers, elders and deacons (Presbyterians Approve Ordination of Gay People by LAURIE GOODSTEIN, May 10, 2011, New York Times)." My heartfelt and sincerest thanks go out to the PC USA for coming to the realization that God's love and call cannot and should not be limited by human prejudice and fears. Sadly, it will take us United Methodists a few years longer - seven to be exact; if we change our policies of condemnation and discrimination at our next General Conference in April, 2012. That's right, 40 years of wandering in the wilderness of hypocrisy, hurtfulness, and lost gifts and graces.
Ever since the incompatibility language went in to the United Methodist Book of Discipline in 1972, we have been losing many gifted and talented clergy people from the UMC.
How do we get out of this wilderness? Together and hand-in-hand! ...to You can read Rev. Steve Clunn's full article on MFSA's website here.
|Social Media Corner|
Want to make the conversation PERSONAL? Host a Connecting Voices meet-up in your area, and don't forget to tell us about it!