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|Volume VII Issue 11 ||
20 May 2011
This Annual Conference season has been a busy time for MFSAers around the country. As always, we'd love to share your stories and pictures on our blog, website, and social media pages. Send updates to firstname.lastname@example.org. Amidst many important national updates below, I would especially like to draw your prayerful attention to the trial of Rev. Amy DeLong, which begins tomorrow.
Rev. Amy DeLong trial update
The Challenges of Learning a New Song (SANS update)
Reflections on Student Forum
Iowa Annual Conference Updates
UM Clergy Same-sex Marriage Initiatives
1000 Facebook likes by Sing a New Song!
Grace and peace,
Outreach and Communications Coordinator
Rev. Amy DeLong Trial Update
If you've been following closely
, you already know that Rev. Amy DeLong's trial begins tomorrow in Kaukauna, Wisconsin.
Rev. Amy DeLong is being charged with being a "self-avowed practicing homosexual" and with performing a union ceremony for a lesbian couple; she is the first United Methodist ordained clergy to be tried for both what she has done and who she is. Amy is a long-time MFSA member who has acted boldly and creatively for the causes of justice and peace. You can read more about Amy and the trial in this story featured by National Public Radio
After months of deliberation and several changed dates, Amy's trial is now set for June 21-23. Bishop Clay F. Lee will preside over the proceedings which will take place at Peace United Methodist Church in Kaukauna, WI. Your presence, prayers and support are greatly appreciated. You can find a detailed trial schedule here
. Want to help with the trial? Fill out this survey
. Planning to attend? Let Amy's support team know.
For consistent, up-to-date information on the trial's proceedings, be sure to follow along at loveontrial.org
|Sing a New Song|
The Challenges of Learning a New Song
This week on the MFSA blog, check out Judith Unger's post on the challenges of learning a new song, and why coming to Sing a New Song is so important:
I have sung in a church choir most of my life - except during those times when I felt a higher calling to sit with my young children during worship! I have loved singing all those anthems that spanned the many facets of worship, from praise to penitence to prayer. And I have loved holding the copies of music in my hands - some crisp, some tattered - and thinking about the faith represented there of those who composed and those who have sung before me. Read more...
Important notice on housing for Sing a New Song:
There are still rooms available at Sawmill Creek Resort! We have heard from many that there have been complications reserving rooms at Sawmill Creek. If you are having trouble, please contact Sawmill Creek directly by phone (800) 729-6455 and say that you are a part of the Sing a New Song conference. If you have not yet reserved housing for SANS, now would be a good time to do so.
|Sparks: OnFire in action|
|Student Forum Update
|Students gather in a circle outside of |
worship to share the light of Christ.
Throughout United Methodist Student Forum, held Memorial Day weekend at the University of Evansville, IN, OnFire leader Sara Bayles was tweeting updates for all to see. As promised, she has also written further reflections on her experience there:
"When I left my home in Arkansas in the wee morning hours of Thursday May 26th, I had not the slightest idea of what to expect at United Methodist Student Forum. When I arrived at the University of Evansville later that evening, my heart rejoiced to be surrounded by so many United Methodist college students striving towards justice. At the opening worship of Student Forum, the United Methodist Student Movement Steering Committee presented participants with the theme song for the 2011 conference. About two hundred United Methodist Students sang with much gusto the refrain of the 2011 Student Forum theme song which called the students to 'Overcome divisions and darkness by lighting Christ's way.'"
You can continue reading Sara's reflection on the OnFire blog.
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|
Iowa Annual Conference Highlights
by Eloise Cranke
It was great to meet Jen Tyler (from MFSA National) and have her here for our Annual Conference. Many folks were able to meet her as she assisted and participated in all manner of annual conference activities.
Our banquet went very well with over 210 in attendance. Our speaker was Mark Braverman, an excellent spokesperson on Palestine/Israel issues. Unfortunately, our petition on divestment got lost in some bureaucratic shuffle and didn't come to the conference floor.
Our March for Peace and Social Justice also went well, despite record heat. We had well over 150 people walk with us. Bishop Trimble spoke, and there were prayers on human traficking, militarism, full inclusion and Africa.
RMN was unable to get a display space, but had one table in MFSA's space, and it was a good collaboration. They brought lots of rainbow stoles, which went very quickly. We could have given out a lot more. All of the Conference Choir wore them for the Ordination Service, a beautiful sight.
We supported the seven petitions sent by Iowa's four Reconciling Congregations. The Bishop and others in charge used a very thoughtful, prayerful process for dealing with them. They allowed no amendments, and 30 minutes for discussion. One microphone was designated for those in favor, one for those opposed, and one for persons unsure, or just wanting to offer prayers. Each person had one minute to speak. The line of those opposed was long, but the line in favor was very long, perhaps twice as long. Many of us in that line didn't get to speak, but the visible witness was powerful. All votes were very close. The first two (deletion of incompatibility, par. 161, and removal of exclusion of LGBT clergy, par. 304) were approved. The other five were not, one by only two votes. So, progress is being made, if ever so slowly.
|Middle East Spotlight|
Update on divestment
For many years, United Methodist resolutions have urged an end to Israel's occupation of Palestinian land and a sharing of the city of Jerusalem, which is holy to three faiths. Yet United Methodist boards and agencies still hold stock in companies which sustain that occupation. This year, the recently-formed United Methodist Kairos Response has crafted legislation that specifically calls for divestment from three companies with whom the UMC has been engaged for years. Many annual conferences, often with the help of MFSA chapters, have brought the resolution to a vote on the conference floor. To date, the following annual conferences have passed this resolution: Baltimore-Washington, Minnesota, West Ohio, Northern Illinois, New England, New York, and California-Pacific. If your annual conference has passed a divestment petition, please notify UMKR at email@example.com.
Individuals can also endorse the resolution on UMKR's website. Also available is a separate petition for those with pensions or health plans from the UM General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits.
United Methodist Kairos Response (UMKR) is an international movement in the United Methodist Church responding to the "Kairos Palestine Document," an urgent plea from Christians in the Holy Land for decisive action supporting a just peace in Israel/Palestine.
Clergy take a stand for marriage equality
It's making headlines: United Methodist clergy from around the connection are standing up for marriage equality. During its annual conference in St. Cloud, 40 Minnesota clergy announced that they would no longer abide by the denomination's discriminatory policy. In the weeks that followed the number has grown to over 100. Similar marriage initiatives have blossomed (or were already underway) in other annual conferences as well. We are currently aware of marriage initiatives underway in the following conferences: Minnesota, New England, New York, Northern Illinois, Oregon-Idaho, and Upper New York. This week, we invite you to prayerfully consider involving yourself in an existing initiative or to start one in your own area.
If your annual conference is planning a marriage initiative that is not listed here, please let us know. There is also a Facebook group for UM clergy who have a signed a marriage initiative in their annual conference (you must sign in to view the page).
by Roger Wosley
Christianity receives a lot of attention in the media, but the most frequently discussed version represents a type of Christianity that sometimes turns people away from the church. Kissing Fish, a new book by "spiritual but not religious" UM pastor, Roger W. Wosley, presents a postmodern systematic theology of progressive Christianity--a growing movement that reclaims the radical message of the Gospel. This informative, contemplative, and entertaining book will guide you through the beliefs that inspire us to love one another in the transformative way that Jesus proclaimed, including practices that will take your faith to a new level.
Visit www.progressivechristianitybook.com for more information. Kissing Fish is also available from Amazon.com.
|Social Media Corner|
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