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Volume VII  Issue 21             

22 December 2011




Marry Christmas.


It's not a typo. I really do mean "marry" Christmas. In honor of the Christ Child I intend to marry Christmas with:

  • my Wesleyan values - to do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God; to do all the good I can, in all the ways I can, for all that I can, for as long as I can; to earn all I can, save all I can and give all I can (actually, I'm much better at the giving part of this advice so I have lots of work to do!); to practice personal holiness and social holiness
  • my Sunday School teacher values - to speak truthfully about God's love of all - "no favorites!", to show love to all I teach, and learn all I can from students to deepen my relationship as a disciple of Christ
  • my personal values - to support locally owned growers and shops, boycott products and services that cause harm, be a contrarian to the broader culture of consumption, challenge the status quo, help everyone who asks, work hard and volunteer harder
  • my MFSA values - to work diligently for peace, for economic justice, people's rights, progressive issues and justice within the UMC

Where did I learn these values? Of course at home with my family of origin and through my connections in community, but also in the Methodist and United Methodist Churches in which I grew up, in the blue-collar city of Flint, Michigan (made infamous in Michael Moore's movie "Roger and Me") and in the tiny conservative village of Byron. I'm thankful to the church for helping shape me into a liberal, feminist, progressive social activist. And I want the church to be that safe and nurturing safe place for everyone to become who they will be, with God's help. So I intend to marry Christmas.


And I've already received the best gift for Christmas - the opportunity to serve as your newest Executive Director. Thank you for the gift. Thank you for giving. Thank you for your continued gifts.


Merry Christmas from your MFSA - marrying Christmas since 1907.


Jill A. Warren

Executive Director 


PS Marry Christmas with your own MFSA values by making an additional end-of-the-year gift to help us prepare for General Conference 2012 click here Thank you!


National CalltoActionAlternativeJesus' Story is Still Our Story 

As we approach the celebration of Christmas in our homes and congregations, we may hear the oft sung carol, "O Little Town of Bethlehem." Christmastime helps us remember the chaotic way of life still present in the Middle East. Likewise, we remember that Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were refugees for a time in their lives. - immigrants. May this be a time of education and action as we celebrate the coming of light and love. 


Justice in Palestine

One of the programs of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is a Boycott and Divestment Campaign. By leveraging financial support and public opinion, much like in South Africa during Apartheid, Major divestment campaigns focus on corporations, like Motorola and Caterpillar, whose products directly affect the lives of Palestinians whose homes have been demolished or olive groves have been confiscated.


To learn more about Boycott and Divestment Campaigns, click
here.Take action by:

  • learning where your investment dollars go
  • questioning your mobile phone choice
  • asking contractors about their equipment before you engage in your next building project


(One) War is Over     


Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, wrote in his weekly notes: "This week the United States withdrew its last troops from Iraq. What an enormous, tragic disaster the war was."


He goes on to say, " Our United Methodist Social Principles only find two things incompatible with the teaching and example of Christ: homosexuality and war. If our preachers dare to bless the union of two homosexuals, they run the risk of having their bishops hound them out of the clergy. If they bless war, they face no repercussions whatsoever.

There's something wrong with that picture."


Read all of Jim's statement about the war in Iraq. 



Jesus Was Undocumented


Scripture doesn't tell us if Joseph ever registered his family as part of the Roman census. But we do know that the family fled to Egypt to escape the decrees of Herod. In short, Jesus and his family were refugees - immigrants. And likely, they were undocumented.


The Interfaith Immigration Coalition is a partnership of faith-based organizations committed to enacting fair and humane immigration reform that reflects our mandate to welcome the stranger and treat all human beings with dignity and respect. 


Check our their resources:

Consider signing on to the Interfaith Platform for Immigration Reform, too! You can do so by emailing Jen Smyers at Church World Service. 



CoalitionLegislative Priority: 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 hold stock in companies which sustain that occupation.  It is time for the church to align its actions with its words.  The United Methodist Kairos Response uses divestment as a nonviolent moral action to change unjust practices.

A resolution from Kairos Response has been passed at a number of Annual Conferences and will be considered at General Conference in Tampa. Please read and consider signing on individually, as a congregation, or as an MFSA Chapter.  
SparksSparks: OnFire is blogging through Advent
OnFire has created online devotionals for each week during Advent. Please take a moment to center yourself and enter into this season of Advent.

Shalom Agtarap, pastor of First UMC in Ellensburg, WA, blogs for the First Week of Advent.

Joshua Clough, a third year student at The Theological School at Drew University, blogs for the Second Week of Advent.

Candie O'Dell, a graduate of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, blogs for the Third Week of Advent.

Jamie Michaels, a third year student at Pacific School of Religion, blogs for the Fourth Week of Advent.

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
FacebookSocial Media Corner

Twitter Hashtags

Are you a twitter newbie? Want to let similarly minded tweeters know what's on your mind? Use a hashtag! (Otherwise known as the # sign). Hashtags help social media mavens know what sort of trends are happening in Cyberspace - or even in real life!

Example: If you're talking about MFSA then use #MFSA. Or for LGBT rights, #lgbt. Or for the UMC, #umc. The lists can go on and on, too. And if you use more than one hashtag, you can see some connections developing.

So let's try it out. Log in to your twitter account and send this tweet: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. What happens in Tampa changes the church! #umc #lgbt #gc2012 #gc12love #mfsa





Facebook Question of the Week 


Where do you look for fairly traded items for Christmas gifts? 


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


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