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General Conference 2012: Things to Know
Legislative Priority: Academic Freedom
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Volume VII  Issue 18             

  9 November 2011




It's difficult to believe that General Conference is less than 7 months away. MFSA Staff and Members have been working tirelessly to prepare for our time together in Tampa.

Social issues of Immigration, Divestment, and LGBT equality are central to the work we're doing. Connected this work is the response to the Call to Action report and restructuring of General Boards and Agencies. As part of the Love Your Neighbor Coalition, MFSA (along with Reconciling Ministries Network and Affirmation), has developed alternative legislation with input from a broad cross-section of The United Methodist Church. You can read the alternative legislation here and other progressive legislative pieces here.

In this edition of E-News, we hope you'll find a wealth of information about how you can take action before General Conference begins and how to make a difference in Tampa during General Conference!

National CalltoActionAlternativeGeneral Conference 2012: Things to Know  

 A "Call to Action" Alternative


On November 1st, the National Office of MFSA released the following press release:


United Methodists React to 15 People Overseeing the Agencies of a 12 Million Member Church

Methodist Caucus Proposes Reorganization Alternative


One of the largest mainline denominations in the United States is warming up for a major power struggle at its United Methodist General Conference in the Spring of 2012.


Leaders from the Methodist Federation for Social Action responded to the official "Call to Action" plan because of its radical restructuring of the church. The Call to Action proposal would distil nine of the thirteen church-wide agencies into one, replacing more than 500 volunteer board members with a single board comprised of fifteen people to oversee the agencies of a twelve-million member denomination on five continents.

In response to this extreme proposal, the Methodist Federation for Social Action is holding a telephone press conference to launch an alternative restructure approach. MFSA's plan reduces the number of agencies from thirteen to nine and establishes four program 'Centers' each with a thirty-three member board.  Read more...


We are asking our chapters to please share this information and invitation with your members, Annual Conference delegates to General Conference 2012, and then join in the conversation on our website about these proposals at   



What You Can Do: Pre-General Conference 


REVIEW LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES: Learn about a variety of Legislative Priorities for the Love Your Neighbor Coalition. Enter into prayerful consideration of how you might have a conversation about the importance of these petitions in the life of The United Methodist Church. Write letters, blog, tweet, call/meet/write your delegates, or (if you are a delegate) talk about these issues in delegation meetings. Learn more about these Legislative Priorities here.

Read the "Love Your Neighbor" Statement and consider signing on! Over 450 faithful United Methodists, both laity and clergy, have added their names. Sign here!

As part of the "Love Your Neighbor" Coalition, we commit to engage in Holy Conferencing by telling our stories and building relationships with United Methodists from every walk of life and theological position.Together, MFSA Chapters and Reconciling Ministries Annual Conference Teams in 54 Annual Conferences will recruit, support, and coach campaign volunteers who will learn to tell their stories and build relationships with General and Jurisdictional Conference delegates. Look here to see if there is a training near you!

DONATE: Support the work of MFSA and the Love Your Neighbor coalition through your financial support. Donate here. Online donations are safe and secure. Please make sure to note your donation is for General Conference 2012.

What You Can Do: At General Conference  


VOLUNTEER!! If you are able to volunteer for two weeks, one week, or even just a few days, please consider completing the Volunteer Survey. There are many, many ways for you to assist at General Conference - from legislation monitoring to hospitality to communications. Your gift of time can make a considerable difference at General Conference. Think of it as a Mission Trip to Tampa!

CoalitionLegislative Priority: Academic Freedom 
As we move towards General Conference, one topic of interest for many is the academic freedom of students and faculty at our 13 United Methodist-related theological schools. Proposed portions of the Call to Action call for increased requirements in United Methodist courses and that those courses, content, and instructors be approved by a new Commission on Theological Education.

Read blogger Jeremy Smith's report on this proposal and his commentary on his blog, Hacking Christianity

Also check out Brian McLaren's blog on why Seminaries are poised to lead a new movement in the Church.
SparksSparks: OnFire in action
Our Associate for Movement Building, Jen Tyler, will be at Exploration 2011 Friday, November 11 through Sunday, November 13 in Saint Louis, Missouri. Exploration is an event which provides the chance to explore the call to ordained ministry through worship, prayer, workshops, networking, and small groups. Sponsored by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Exploration 2011 is for young adults ages 18 to 26.

Know a young adult who is attending? Are you a workshop leader at Exploration or know someone who is? Get connected with Jen at Exploration! You can email her to get connected while there - or tweet to  @UMOnFire while at #explo2011
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

Praying for a Faithful Budget  


A "Super Vigil" of prayer for a fair federal budget will be conducted Sunday, Nov. 20, in Lafayette Park across from the White House. The 3 p.m. vigil is part of the interreligious faithful budget campaign to convince the U.S. Congress and the Obama administration not to place an undue burden on the poor while shielding the wealthiest from any additional sacrifice. Read more from the General Board of Church and Society

The Staff of the MFSA National Office invites you to join them on November 20th for the Super Vigil. Meet at 2:45 in the Northeast corner of Lafayette Park (next to the McPherson Square Metro). We will then join the interfaith group for the vigil at 3pm. Look for the MFSA Banner! If you cannot come to DC, consider holding your own prayer vigil or follow our tweets (@MFSAVoices) and pray
with us.

Cost of War

Speaking of faithful and balanced budgets, take a look at the Cost of War website. Thanks to the work of the National Priorities Project, you can see how tax dollars from your Congressional District are being spent on war and violence.  
FacebookSocial Media Corner

Do You Tweet? 


No matter your answer to this question take a quick look at Twitter 101. Here are some basic tips:

  • Use the @ symbol to reply directly to other Tweeters. (Remember though, other people can see this!). Example: @MFSAVoices you are amazing! 
  • Use the # symbol so that you can see what other Tweeters are saying about the same topic or event. Example: Wasn't that hymn amazing? #unitedmethodist
  • Utilize both in order to connect with others at a large gathering. @MFSAVoices I'll meet you on the floor of General Conference at 11am. #umcgc12  

Facebook Question of the Week 


Have you looked at MFSA's alternative legistlation ( Have you commented on it?


Log in to Facebook, "Like" our page, and share your story. 


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