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MFSA Responds to School Violence
Calling for a Divested Option
Iowa Chapter Calls to Move from War to Meeting Human Needs
RMN Names Interim Executive Director
Progressive Ponderings:News and Job Openings
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Volume VII  Issue 21                      

19 December 2012




I don't know if my heart could get any heavier than it is now. Last Friday's tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut still begs the questions of "why?" and "how?" Across the world, we have joined in prayers of healing and hope for families and friends most affected by the loss of life. Some of our own United Methodist family have lost loved ones; others are counseling, ministering, and attending to the needs of a community.  


Yesterday, United States Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) passed away.

Named after the Methodist pastor who operated an orphanage where his mother had been raised during part of her childhood, Senator Inouye distinguished himself as a trailblazer for persons of Japanese ancestry in the national arena as the first Japanese American member of Congress. Senator Inouye was an advocate of cooperation with The Philippines and Filipino-Americans.  As an advocate for LGBT rights, he voted against the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, endorsed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and was instrumental in the repeal of the "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy of the United States military. Inouye was an advocate for the underrepresented and marginalized persons of society who took seriously his United Methodist faith. He was a supporter of the Susannah Wesley Community Center, a mission agency of  the United Methodist Church, in Honolulu, HI and maintained a relationship with Harris United Methodist Church.   


And so, today we celebrate the lives of those who have served the Church and world, like Senator Inouye, the teachers of Sandy Hook School, and the first respondents, clergy, and counselors of Newtown, Connecticut. And we lament the loss of lives who never were able to put their faith into action 

Like so many of you, I cry out, "How long, O God?" I also know that laments are often transformed into a sense of new orientation towards God and the world. As the conversation about violence begins to change in the United States, I offer that the Methodist Federation for Social Action is a member of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. We also encourage the resources of JustPeace, Communities of Shalom, and Creating a Culture of Peace as ways to begin having a conversation about non-violence and healthy communication in congregations and communities.


In this Advent season, may we more fully experience the presence of the Incarnate One with us in our hearts, heavy though they may be.  


Grace and peace,     

Interim Executive Director,
Methodist Federation for Social Action

National CalltoActionAlternativeMFSA Responds to School Violence   

The Methodist Federation for Social Action's board, staff, and members continue to grieve the loss of life in Newtown, Connecticut this past Friday. "We stand firmly in our belief that violence, in all its forms, is anathema to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We encourage all people of faith to work for a world in which such violence is no longer commonplace," stated Chett Pritchett, Interim Executive Director

MFSA encourages United Methodists to put into action General Conference Resolution 3426 (2008, 2012 Book of Resolutions) which encourages communities and congregations to address the issues of gun violence in schools and among children.  


"Advocating for stronger accountability in regards to gun ownership and greater access to mental health care are two ways to pro-actively work so that an event of this magnitude will not happen again," stated Pritchett "But beyond advocating for public policy changes, we must also change the way we address, or don't address, these issues throughout our Church."

Calling for a Divested Option
On Friday, December 7, MFSA staffers Chett Pritchett and Rev. Steve Clunn presented at a public forum of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, encouraging the board to create a pension option that is divested from the occupation of Palestine by Israeli settlers.

Read Chett's comments and Steve's comments. Both presentations were referred to the Social Principles Committee of the Board and they expect responses within the next 30 days.

Keep alert in the new year for ways to join MFSA in calling for this socially responsible option!  
Iowa Chapter Joins the Call to Move from War to Meeting Human Needs
The Iowa Chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action was a strong advocate for Des Moines (IA) City Council passing a resolution calling for an end to the war in Afghanistan and re-focusing funding on unmet human needs. The petition was advanced by the Catholic Peace Ministry, but represented a coalition of faith, labor and community groups. It also included local Catholic, United Methodist, and Episcopal Bishops and Des Moines Catholic Sister organizations. 

The resolution passed by the Council called on Congress to "fund the safe and orderly withdrawal of US soldiers from Afghanistan, cut non-essential Pentagon budget appropriations, and redirect savings towards domestic priorities."

Carmen Lampe-Zeitler, Executive Director of Children and Family Urban Ministries cited increasing human needs in Des Moines and the lack of resources available to meet them. "It's time to stop the destruction of warring," she said, "and invest in the resurrection of our city."
RMN Names Interim Director
Reconciling Ministries Network is pleased to announce that it has hired Dr. Randall (Randy) Miller to serve as its Interim Executive Director, starting in January 2013. Randy will work on a part-time, contractual basis until the new Executive Director arrives.

Randy is currently Assistant Professor of United Methodist Studies, Ethics and Leadership and the Director of the Leadership Institute at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley California.  Randy is not only a gifted leader and administrator, having previously been the executive director of a $3.5 M national HIV/AIDS organization, he is also very familiar with RMN and the United Methodist Church.


Randy is the immediate past Chair of the Commission on the United Methodist General Conference and has served on the boards of several general agencies of the United Methodist Church.  A long-time supporter of the reconciling movement, he was also an RMN Board for four years.

"I am excited and honored to serve in this capacity and to work together with the RMN Board and its wonderful staff to ensure a smooth and seamless transition," said Dr. Miller.


Because he will be telecommuting for the bulk of the interim period, Randy will be working closely with Reverend Bonnie Beckonchrist, current chair of the RMN Board, who will be in the office on a weekly basis to further ensure the smooth functioning of the organization.

The RMN Transition and Search Team continues its efforts to find and hire a new full-time Executive Director.  The Team hopes to commence first round interviews during the first week of February, interview finalists at the next RMN Board Meeting, and announce the new executive director by no later than March 1.

ProgressivePonderingsProgressive Ponderings
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Do you ever have this problem?

Who hasn't banged his or her head on the desk while trying to dig out a runaway phone cord?  


Well, this solves the problem of cords falling off your desk, and ensures that whatever adapters and plugs you need are right on hand.




The picture's pretty self-explanatory: slap some basic binder clips on the edge of your desk, and run your detached cords and cables through them.  


Bada-bing, bada-boom, you're no longer digging under or behind your desk for your power cord.


Some days changing the world has to start with cleaning up your desk!

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