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Volume VII  Issue 6                

14 March 2012




Some days I think I've confused Lent and Advent. Lent is a time for self-examination, prayer, and fasting; Advent is a time of preparation. At MFSA, we're doing a lot of preparation - for General Conference and beyond! But we're also engaging in the Lenten disciplines - walking in the wilderness, filled with emotion, and practicing a way that leads from death to life. It's odd to be engaged in both seasons at once, and yet, it's an experience that gives a wider perspective of the work we do.

Around the office we have two phrases we use often - BGC and AGC - Before General Conference and After General Conference. As we make our to-do lists, we recognize that the work of MFSA extends far beyond General Conference and that there's Lenten work to do (self-examination, prayer, and fasting) in the midst of the Advent times of preparation.

In this e-News, we explore what it means to draw a wider circle so that our MFSA movement can build capacity for greater justice in our Church and world. You can help us do that right now. Forward this e-News to 10 people you know and ask them to sign up to receive the e-News and/or donate to MFSA. It's simple and it draws us into a wider circle.

Chett Pritchett
Development and Communications Associate

National CalltoActionAlternativeA Growing Movement  

The Love Your Neighbor/Common Witness Coalition is Growing!


The Methodist Federation for Social Action, United Methodists of Color for a Fully Inclusive Church, Affirmation and Reconciling Ministries Network would like to announce our two newest coalition partners!


On Thursday, March 1, BMCR (Black Methodists for Church Renewal) "voted to support the Love Our Neighbor proposal" and "committed to partner with those organizations on General Conference strategies."


The National Federation of Asian American United Methodists (NFAAUM) which represents 10 ethnic groups in the church, including Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Formosan, Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Lao, South Asian and Vietnamese United Methodists decided to become a full coalition partner on Friday, March 9th.

We are proud to welcome our new coalition partners! We look forward to working together as we strive for a more diverse, inclusive, just and welcoming United Methodist Church!

Widening the Circle: A Memo from Co-President, Tara Thronson

There is great goodness and justice happening through some of our existing and new chapters, but as a system and the overarching movement, we are not reaching our full potential. For example, we value and lift as a priority inclusion of young adults and ethnic diversity, yet the make-up of our membership does not reflect our desires.  Generally, the younger generation shares our values of inclusion, equity and peace, yet our organization's structure contains unintentional barriers to enter, not allowing easy access for folks to engage.

The structure for MFSA membership was instituted to align with a different age of society.  Today's culture and mechanisms for communications are vastly different from when our structure was put in place.  In fact, they have changed dramatically in the last decade!  Yet, our structure is centered on a church governance structure and geographic boundaries, which doesn't make sense to those not already "in the circle."   


It is time to draw the circle wider, with different lines and colors.  In fact, let's remove the lines!  Let's open our arms and remove the barriers (which might be hard for those of us "in the circle" to see) and develop the next generation of Methodists for social action. 

You can read Tara's full statement here.
Tara Thronson is MFSA's Board of Directors Co-chair. She helped to start the Southwest Texas Chapter and currently resides in Sacramento, California.
CoalitionLegislative Priority: General Church Ethics  

Public scandals in the nonprofit sector have drawn attention to the need for an increased level of transparency and accountability. Religious organizations are not immune to these kinds of problems and numerous examples of cases of financial improprieties, waste, mismanagement and improprieties within churches and religious organizations exist. 


This is especially important as  the Church tries to ensure all decisions are made with the best interests and sacred fiduciary duties to which the Church is entrusted, and not for the benefit of any individual's personal interests. Although a code of ethics by itself cannot prevent wrongdoing, it conveys a strong message, both internally and externally, about the culture and values of the organization

To learn more about a resolution calling for greater transparency and ethical practices within the United Methodist Church,
Sparks: Young United Methodists Speak
A new blog, Who's/Whose Calling?, highlights the lack of input from young United Methodists in the Call to Action proposal. Visit the blog and hear the diverse voices of young United Methodists.

From the Chair of the Africa UM Student Movement:Change may threaten vibrancy of the Church and silence our youth

From a seminary student and candidate in the South Carolina Conference: We need to be willing to die that we may have new life

From the Division on Ministry with Young People:Official response for the Division on Ministries with Young People about the Call to Action

Chapter Happenings
SOUTHWEST TEXAS: Saturday, March 3, the Southwest Texas Chapter of MFSA sponsored a BOPA (Batteries, Oil, Paint, and Antifreeze) Recycling event in the parking lot of Trinity UMC in Austin.  Fifteen members representing four Austin UMCs collected 2 trailers of household hazard waste items from neighbors. (Photo credit/Janice Curry)



Does your Chapter have information to share? An upcoming event or participation in an action or campaign? Email and we'll try and get it in the next E-News! 

ProgressivePonderingsProgressive Ponderings
FacebookSocial Media Corner

Would you like to blog for MFSA? 


We're looking for individuals who would like to blog for MFSA around our five areas of focus (peace, poverty, people's rights, progressive issues, and justice in the UMC).

Looking for a way to be involved in General Conference but can't travel to Tampa? Blogging is an easy way to assist!

If you're interested, please contact Jen Tyler, Associate for Movement Building, at


Methodist Federation for Social Action
212 East Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20003