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Volume VII  Issue 17            

  27 October 2011




September and October have been a time of great transition in the MFSA National Office. In September, we welcomed two interns from Wesley Theological Seminary. Jen Southworth and Heather Kramer will be with us for the next two years as they complete their field education. Both Jen and Heather bring a passion for social justice as well as an interest in ministry beyond the walls of a church building. We're excited for their presence in our movement!

On September 30, we gave a fond farewell to our Office Manager, Rob Walty. For the past 5 years, Rob kept the National Office running. Many of us will miss Rob's humor, insight, diligence, and assistance.

Following in Rob's footsteps, our new Office Manager started on October 17 and has been learning the ropes! Chett Pritchett is no stranger to MFSA. Before coming to MFSA, he was a manager for Cokesbury, but volunteered time with MFSA, Reconciling Ministries Network, and Methodist Students for an All-Inclusive Church (MoSAIC). You can read about Chett's first introduction to MFSA here - and his passion for justice continues!

As these "really new folks" step into their new roles in the National Office, Jill Warren, Jen Tyler, and Rev. Steve Clunn continue to develop relationships and guide the Methodist Federation for Social Action in numerous ways.

While we sing "this is a day of new beginnings," we continue to work on issues of peace, poverty, people's rights, Progressive initiatives, and justice within The United Methodist Church. Thank you for being with us on this journey.

Grace and peace,
MFSA National Office Staff    

NationalNationalOccupy Wall Street and Beyond 

What We're Reading


Author, pKBolitical commentator, and former White House staffer, Keith Boykin gives his view on Occupy Wall Street by dispelling some myths of the movement in regards to class, race, politics, and organized labor. Check out his list of myths and photos on the Huffington Post.    


Catherine Keller  

What does it mean to do theology in an occupied space? Does our theology need occupying?
 Check out the thoughts of Ca
therine Keller, Professor of Constructive Theology at The Theological School, Drew University, as she offers a brief yet impressive theological reflection on the Occupy Wall Street movement at the Theology Salon.  




What We're Doing


IOWA: The MFSA Chapter in Iowa has set up a tent at Occupy Des Moines as an act of hospitality. Read more about this action at the Des Moines Register blog.

NEW YORK: The MFSA Chapter in New York gathered this past Sunday afternoon across from Zuccotti Park(the centralized location of the #OccupyWallStreet movement). Worship was led by clergy and members of Church in the Village UMC, St. Paul and St. Andrew UMC, and New Day UMC.

ON-FIRE: On Monday, October 10, a group of Harvard students, including Zach Kerzee, met by the famous "Statue of Three Lies" to march collectively to Boston Common. There they would meet hundreds of other students from colleges in Boston to join voices with the Occupy Boston protesters who were camped out in tents in Boston's financial district. Read more here.



How to Take Action

Join with Interfaith Worker Justice to learn more about their Wage Theft Days of Action. IFWJ's campaign explains many of the emotions behind the #OWS movement. Consider how your congregation or  MFSA Chapter might raise awareness of this issue. IFWJ logo 

Consider becoming a Protest Chaplain. Be a spiritual presence for those who need someone to journey with them through prayer, meditation, a meal. Witness that people of faith stand with those on the margin. Check out this website for more information on what's happening in your area - or how to start a Chaplaincy at your local #Occupy gathering.


Our Coalition Coordinator, Rev. Steve Clunn, recently attended a gathering of the Network of Spiritual Progressives in the Washington, DC area to learn more about what people of faith can do in the #Occupy movement.Here are the 4 things that people of faith, congregations, and others can do:

1) Spiritual Support - Think about being a Protest Chaplain (see article above).

2) Material Support - As winter approaches, houses of worship nearby would be great places for warming stations and shower facilities. Also, there is need for supplies, food, etc - but always coordinate with local leadership!
3) Communication - Many groups are developing websites, blogs, facebook pages and/or twitter accounts to get the word out about actions. Occupy Cafe is a good overall website for linking the movement - - as media outlets choose to share only parts of the story, please share and spread the word.
4) On-site group participation - Faith groups are signing statements/petitions to support the #Occupy efforts, getting people "on the ground" if encampments are feeling pressured by officials, planning days when different groups will show up as a sign of solidarity to dispel the notion that supporters are all "homeless, dirty, and indigent." Maybe even the development of "Occupy Worship" materials for on-site worship or congregational "Solidarity Sabbath."

The most important thing is to coordinate, coordinate, coordinate. As a People's movement, please be sure to be in conversation with on-site leadership about needs, support, and strategy. 

CoalitionCoalition Update

A Word from the Common Witness Coalition


The Common Witness Coalition is comprised of the Methodist Federation for Social Action, the Reconciling Ministries Network, and Affirmation. This Coalition has been officially working together since 1996, then known as "AMAR." Renamed the Common Witness Coalition while working together at the 2004 General Conference, this coalition has continued to grow over the past several years.


The Love Your Neighbor campaign for General Conference 2012 was kicked off at Sing A New Song with our For Love of God & Neighbor Common Witness Coalition Statement. It is a threshold document that gives our coalition a starting place of core principles and commitments to guide our work together.


We invite you to join us and sign on to the statement here!


SparksSparks: OnFire in action
 We the Generation
by Ty Trapps  


We the younger people of the 99 percent, of a generation that was raised on technology, media consumption and an uncertain future, in order to form a more perfect existence, establish a true sense of justice and equality, in a country we have loved since birth, love to the extent that we are willing to peacefully gather and fight for her people. All of her people. As we stand on the cusp of adulthood and childhood, we also stand on the cusp of indifference and action. Admist a culture inundated with Xbox, Jersey Shore and the latest and greatest toys, we choose to stand for justice, liberty and to uphold the ideals outlined in the Constitution for the United States of America.  Read more here. 

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.
ProgressivePonderingsProgressive Ponderings

Mississippi's Personhood Amendment


On November 8 the people of Mississippi will be asked to vote on Initiative 26, also known as the 'Personhood Amendment,' which would drastically limit access to birth control, abortion and other needed reproductive health care services by establishing that "personhood" begins "from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the equivalent thereof."

Rev. Todd Watson of Wells Memorial UMC in Jackson, Mississippi offers his thoughts from a faith perspective on the ways in which the 'Personhood Amendment' fails to respect and value human dignity for ALL.

Read his statement here. 
FacebookSocial Media Corner

Good Search 


Did you know there's a search engine that can help MFSA raise money... simply by using it!? They've even made it as easy as possible: you can install a GoodSearch toolbar! Simply click on the image to the right and type in "Methodist Federation for Social Action" in the box that asks, "Who do you GoodSearch for?" That's it! Just let the pennies add up... MFSA will average a donation of $.01 every time you search!


Facebook Question of the Week 


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Want to make the conversation PERSONAL?  Host a Connecting Voices meet-up in your area.