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MFSA Program Council and Board of Directors Meet
UMC Bishop Blesses Same-Sex Wedding Ceremony
East Ohio Event on Israel-Palestine
A Country With No Militia
Progressive Ponderings:News and Job Openings
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Volume VIII Issue 19                           

30 October 2013




Growing up my mother was a seamstress. Wedding dresses, prom gowns, play clothes, and, of course, the best halloween costumes. From a black cat to Merlin the Magician, I always knew the costumes my mother made would bring a prize at the Children's parade.

What I didn't realize in my childhood was that my mother had the time and money to spend on my costume- something not everyone's parents had the ability to do. As I've grown older, I've learned that sometimes the most creative costumes happen when you have neither time nor money.

That's a challenge facing many leaders in ministry. Resources are dwindling, burn out is the new normal, and so often, we "fly by the seat of our pants." I continue to believe the Methodist Federation for Social Action can play a role in helping leaders continue to be creative and be uplifted for the work of being transformed by the Spirit and transforming the Church and world.

One way is by signing up for our Social Justice Prayer Network. Send an email to and we'll add you to our once a month prayer list. We must continue to "unite the pair so long disjoined: knowledge and vital piety."

Our Wesleyan heritage makes it clear that prayer without justice-seeking makes our hallelujahs ring hollow - and that's one spooky sound!

Grace and peace,  
Chett Pritchett 
Executive Director 
MFSA Program Council and Board of Directors Meet
MFSA's Program Council and Board of Directors met October 24-26 at St. Mark United Methodist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. The Program Council connects grassroots leaders of MFSA in order to resource Chapters and topic-based programs. Each Chapter may have a representative present, grassroots reports were shared, and affirmation of the work of the MFSA Office was provided. Specific attention was given to how Chapters, Office, and Board of Directors can work in deepening their work together. The Program Council has been part of MFSA's structure since 2009 and serves in an advisory capacity.

At the Board of Director's meeting, budgetary directives were set, staff were commended for their work throughout the executive leadership transition process, and the work of the Program Council was affirmed. The Board spent time reviewing MFSA's Vision, Mission, and Values statements as a way to begin considering a new strategic plan. New Board members were selected (or affirmed if their position is connected to the Program Council). New members beginning in 2014 will be: Kuusela Hilo (Western Jurisdiction Representative); Joey Lopez (North Central Jurisdiction Representative); Laddie Perez-Galang (Program Council Co-Convener); Rev. Michelle Shrader (At-Large Member); and Darlene DiDomineck, Home Missioner (At-Large).
MFSA's Board of Directors: (l to r): Betty Kobata; Jan Nelson; Rowland Curry; Julie Fuschak; Rev. Laurie Hays Coffman; Chris Reynolds; Rev. Vicki Woods; Rev. JungSun Oh; Kevin Nelson, Home Missioner; Rev. Diane Christianson; Ginny Lapham; Rev. Christina Wright.

Also during the meeting, two statements were issued surrounding the actions of the Council of Bishops Executive Committee in regards to Bishop Mel Talbert's officiating at the blessing of marriage of Bobby Pince and Joe Openshaw in Birmingham, Alabama.
UMC Bishop Blesses Same-Sex Wedding Ceremony
On Saturday, October 26, Bishop Melvin Talbert blessed the marriage of Joe Openshaw and Bobby Prince in Birmingham, Alabama. Joe and Bobby were legally married in Maryland in September, but wanted to have a religious ceremony to affirm the bonds of faith in their lives and to celebrate with friends and family.

Bishop Talbert entered conversation with Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett of the North Alabama Conference and was urged not to officiate the ceremony. The United Methodist Council of Bishops Executive Committee made comment supporting Bishop Wallace-Padgett's request. Executive Committee member Bishop Mary Ann Swenson (retired) offered her dissent from the rest of the committee through this blog with the Reconciling Ministries Network.

MFSA's Board of Directors offered this statement to the Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops and this open letter of gratitude and support to Bishop Swenson.

MFSA seeks justice in The United Methodist Church. Many of our Episcopal leaders are seeking self-preservation, not justice. Such self-preservation is harmful not only to LGBTQ persons and their families and friends, but to the souls who are named and claimed by God.
Bishop Talbert officiates the union of Joe Openshaw and Bobby Prince. Photo credit: Reconciling Ministries Network
We celebrate Joe and Bobby's marriage. We celebrate those who gathered in Birmingham and affirmed an "I do." We long for the day when the Church can stop doing spiritual and psychological harm to those who seek to love God and neighbor.

East Ohio Event on Israel-Palestine
Because It Matters: The Israeli-Palestine Conflict  
An enriching and challenging event for Lay and Clergy of East Ohio who seek to find ways to implement the totality of Jesus' message and ministry

Saturday, November 2
Key Note Speakers: 
Dr. Martha Banks and Rev. Stephanie Lee

Uniontown United Methodist Church 
13370 Cleveland Avenue NW 
Uniontown, Ohio 44685

Dr. Martha Banks and Rev. Stephanie Lee will present a program on their trip to Palestine via Interfaith Peace Builders.  Their program from their studies and trip would include: information on the Israeli-Palestine
conflict; the United States political, military and economic roles; faith community involvements and roles (UMC and others;) photographs; personal insights and experiences from their trip. There will be follow up discussion and Resolution Actions that the group can do as well as individuals.       


A Country With No Militia

Over 60 years ago, Costa Rica became one of the only nations in the world to disband their military and to redirect national resources towards education, health, and the environment. Since then, Costa Rica has earned the number one spot in the Happy Planet Index, a ranking of countries based on measures of environmental protection and the happiness and health of its citizens.  And the World Database of Happiness, with data on 149 nations compiled by a Dutch sociologist, lists Costa Rica as number one in self-reported happiness and number one in happy life years.

A Bold Peace juxtaposes the national policy of demilitarization (since 1948-49) with their investment in education, health, and the environment. Pointed parallels and contrasts are made with recent U.S. debates over the national debt, healthcare, the environment and the escalating cost of U.S. militarism. The film features former presidents, officials and scholars from the UN University for Peace, the University of Costa Rica, Costa Rican government officials and ambassadors, leaders of major national co-operatives, as well as journalists and citizens of Costa Rica. Unfortunately, the Costa Rican example has received very little international attention. This documentary film will bring attention to Costa Rica's inspirational national project, answering why happiness, health, and human rights occupy a relatively prominent place in this Central American country.


To learn more, watch the film trailer below. You can also support this documentary through their Kickstarter campaign.  

Official Teaser Trailer: A BOLD PEACE Documentary 2014
Official Teaser Trailer: A BOLD PEACE Documentary 2014
ProgressivePonderingsProgressive Ponderings
Social Media Corner

We all know about Black Friday. And now there's Cyber Monday. But have you heard about Giving Tuesday??!!

Last year MFSA participated in the inaugural Giving Tuesday event - designed to increase online giving to good causes all on one day. Think of the impact you could make if you and 5 of your closest friends all donated to MFSA on the same day, shared it with your social media networks, and other people decided to give, too! Generosity is infectious!

So, mark your calendars now! And plan ahead to participate in Giving Tuesday with MFSA! 
Methodist Federation for Social Action
212 East Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20003