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United Methodist Bishops Hold Another Closed Meeting
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Volume VIII Issue 7                          

11 April 2013



I'll come right out and say it. This past week has not gone well. A bombing at the Boston Marathon. An explosion at an unregulated fertilizer plant in Texas. An earthquake in Afghanistan. Military unrest in Nigeria. And just this afternoon, the collapse of a clothing factory in Bangladesh.

Praying for these places of hurt and violence is important. But it's important, too, to see the connections between such pain and our own human action and inaction. Children of war see violence as their only answer; unsafe working conditions left unchecked create unimaginable disasters; those who are most impoverished in this world are the most affected in the wake of natural disasters.

We live in an interconnected world. Justice demands we look at the web of life, not just one issue at a time. I invite you to join me in considering the ways in which your life affects others around the world. Maybe you can engage in Meatless Monday. Maybe you can go "green" and give up bottled water. These things sound simple - but small acts can multiply. And sometimes when we're engaged in small acts, we are convicted to act in larger ways.

So, friends, won't you join me in prayer? Wont' you join me in making choices with the whole world in mind? As Margaret Mead once said, "Never doubt that a group of small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."





Chett Pritchett

Interim Executive Director 


2013 Duke Divinity School Summer Institute

presented by the Duke Divinity School Center for Reconciliation

May 27 - June 1, 2013

Deepen your practical faith.  Expand your Christian network.  Refresh your spirit.


Rooted in a Christian vision and hosted by the Duke Divinity School Center for Reconciliation, this one-of-a-kind, five-day intensive Institute serves to nourish, renew, and deepen the capacities of Christian leaders in the ministry of reconciliation, justice, and peace-building through creating a diverse learning community that engages the best in theological engagement and practical wisdom for ministry.  This year's faculty includes Andrew Marin, Ellen Davis, John Perkins, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Cheryl Sanders, Curtiss DeYoung, and Mary Nelson.


In addition to morning plenary sessions providing a common practical and theological framework for Christian reconciliation, every participant chooses one week-long afternoon seminar cohort.  This year's seminars include:


·Introduction to Reconciliation with Edgardo Colón-Emeric·Everyday Practices for Reconciliation Where You Are with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove


·Building Beloved Communities of Justice and Advocacy with the Poor with Mary Nelson

·Shaping Congregations for Faithfulness across Divides with Curtiss DeYoung and Cheryl Sanders

·Living in the Tension: Human Sexuality in the Time between the Times with Andrew Marin and Tracy Merrick (former MFSA Board member)

·Transforming Academic Institutions for Reconciliation with Peter Cha

·Pursuing Reconciliation Institutionally with Chris Rice and Abi Riak

·Listening Together: Muslims and Christians Reading Scripture with Ellen Davis and Abdullah Antepli

When: Monday, May 27 (beginning with dinner) - Saturday, June 1 (ending with lunch)
Where: Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC
Cost: $950 per person. Significant scholarship funding is available.Apply online at by April 30, 2013

Duke University, a United Methodist-related institution of higher education, has now joined the growing list of universities and colleges that offer health insurance coverage for gender confirmation surgery for transgender students.
Administrators signed a new contract with the university's health insurance provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, that will include up to $50,000 to cover gender confirmation surgery, and all pivotal aspects of transgender health care such as counseling, hormone therapy and surgery will be included in the coverage.
MFSA celebrates this important step for providing equal access to healthcare for transgender students. Click here to learn more about Duke's inclusion of trans* students in their health insurance policies. 
United Methodist Bishops Hold Another Closed Meeting

In the late fall of 2012, the United Methodist Council of Bishops held a closed meeting at in Georgia. The closure was to ensure the meeting to be a "spiritual retreat" and a time for new Bishops to acquaint themselves with the work of the Council. It was announced this week that the next Council of Bishops meeting, scheduled for May 2013 in San Diego, will also be closed.


The restrictive nature of this meeting has caused great concern across the United Methodist Church. Rev. Steve Clunn and Bishop Joe Pennell (Retired) have both commented on why the Bishops should not hold entire meetings in private. Concern for this has even hit social media with a Twitter hashtag: #closedbishop. 


We pray for our Episcopal leaders, but we also want them to know that the Church is watching. If this is of concern to you, please contact your Bishop and let her/him know. 

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Be picture perfect! Sometimes it's difficult to get your photo and thumbnail to fit perfectly - we've had trouble with that at MFSA before, too!


If you don't use the proper image size for your cover image and profile picture, the quality usually will look bad. Make the first impression count and pick good quality graphics! 


Cover image size: 851×315 pixels

Profile Picture size: 180×180 pixels (displays at 160×160)


Save your photo on your desktop and then you can play with image sizes. You may get a higher quality result by using a PNG file. Take time to explore!

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