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Three Commitments to Combating Racism
Justice Journey: Palestine
What's Happening with the Church?
Progressive Ponderings:News and Job Openings
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Volume IX Issue 1                             

6 January 2014 



My heart is heavy. Today I learned of the passing of Rev. Tim Tennant-Jayne. For many years, Tim served as the Co-Spokesperson for Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns. Tim's leadership helped deepen an understanding of ministry on the margins, even among LGBTQ persons in the Church. Tim mentored young leaders, challenged notions of inclusiveness beyond a simple welcome. He was an evangelist for God's grace. I give thanks for Tim's life, witness, and ministry.

As I celebrate Tim's life, I am also aware that another saint in The United Methodist Church is in need of our prayers. Gayle Felton is known by many as a witness to God's love and grace to LGBT United Methodists in North Carolina. Often a lone voice, Gayle's spirit has sustained and nurtured many gay Christians. Gayle served on the board of the Reconciling Congregations Program, now Reconciling Ministries Network. Others know Gayle because she was a teacher to future leaders of the Church at Duke Divinity School. But her reach goes far beyond the walls of Duke. Many United Methodist seminarians and clergy have read and inwardly digested Gayle's work as she was the lead author of
By Water and the Spirit and This Holy Mystery, seminal works on United Methodist understandings of baptism and holy communion. Gayle has entered hospice care, and we join our prayers with her, her family, and her friends.

Tim and Gayle gave of their time, talent, and treasure to MFSA and to the wider church. Their lives are a testament to servant leadership, lives of personal and social holiness, and genuine care for all of God's children. May peace be theirs now and always.

Grace and peace,  
Chett Pritchett 
Executive Director 
Three Commitments to Combating Racism
In this new year, have you considered what commitments you'll make to combating racism in 2014?

Mychal Denzel Smith, a blogger for
The Nation, makes three succinct points surrounding his commitment to combating racism. First, he suggests reclaiming the notion that racism is more than name-calling - it is a system of oppression.

Second, Smith suggests putting 'respectability politics' on the shelf. He states, "Children were being shot dead in the streets, and we were debating whether their pants sagged too low. Their schools were being closed, and we talked about whether they had good father figures in their home. They were stopped, frisked and beaten by police, and we somehow managed to chastise them for littering."

Finally, Smith states, "We must make every politician say the words 'mass incarceration.'" Following up on MFSA's Fall Panel Discussion on the Criminalization of Race, this is central to developing a deeper understanding on the insidiousness of racism in the American prison system.

Read Smith's three commitments here, then reflect on your own commitments. If you'd like to share your commitments you can contact one of our staff and we'd be glad to incorporate your commitment in our blog or social media posts.
Justice Journey: Palestine

A new program of MFSA, "Justice Journeys," presents an opportunity that combines the experience of a Volunteers in Mission trip with advocacy opportunities to live out expressions of personal and social holiness.

This summer we are planning to launch Justice Journey: Palestine. Our goal is to encourage young adult clergy to join us on this inaugural sojourn to the Middle East. Upon return, participants can advocate for justice in Palestine by sharing their experiences with congregations and Annual Conferences; blogging; or advocating for justice to corporations and government who profit from injustices.

Share this flyer far and wide! Our hope is to have a team of 8-12 sojourners in place by Easter - help us reach that goal, and spread the word!
What's Happening with the Church?
There's been a lot of discussion lately about the sustainability of The United Methodist Church - especially in light of trials (recent and impending) of clergy who have engaged in acts of Biblical Obedience by celebrating same-sex marriage ceremonies.

Blogger Jeremy Smith suggests Methodism 2.0 - an upgrade that includes LGBT persons of faith. Bishop Ken Carter of the Florida Annual Conference writes about the difficulties of leadership in a post-denominational world. Many within the structure of The United Methodist Church have approached the topic of change from a position of fear; others approach the topic not only with hope, but with clarity.

In the wake of the defrocking of Rev. Frank Schaefer,Bishop Minerva Carcaņo of the California-Pacific Conference has extended welcome to Frank to be in ministry in her Conference.

All of these questions create a larger conversation about what it means to be United Methodist, indeed what it means for a denomination to keep individuals from living out their baptismal calling to "resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves."
Progressive Ponderings
Methodist Federation for Social Action
212 East Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20003