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Poverty in America: Nashville's Response
Biblical Obedience Updates
Upcoming Events
Progressive Ponderings:News and Job Openings
Have a Heart for Justice
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Volume IX
Issue 3                            

14 February 2014 



This week I was honored to be a guest of a friend at a concert featuring Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. The bluesy, soulful sounds of Sharon and her band were mesmerizing. From the moment she hit the stage, the theater became electric. People were dancing in the aisles. Sharon brought audience members up on stage. Most of us stood, sang, danced, and clapped throughout the entire show. It was simply amazing!

What I learned about the church that night, however, had nothing to do with the glitz and glamor of the show. It had to do with Sharon's story and the passion for her art which she showed on the stage. You see, Sharon's a cancer survivor. This was her second show since her last round of chemotherapy for stage two pancreatic cancer. Her tenacity, thankfulness, and zeal for life were the real stars of that stage.

It was a lesson for me about leadership in the Church - and beyond. When we share our strength (which can also involve sharing our vulnerability); when we give thanks for those who support and nurture us; when we share our passion - that is when we live with purpose so that others can dance and sing and shout.

How are ministries of peacemaking and justice-seeking creating space for others to sing and dance and shout?

Where are faithful leaders sharing their passion or being vulnerable?

Grace and peace,  
Chett Pritchett 
Executive Director 
Poverty in America: Nashville's Response
In May 2010, Nashville, TN experienced a major flood. Nashville's unhoused population struggled as many of the places where they lived - underpasses, riverbanks, caves - were destroyed in the rush of water. Open Table was formed as a response to the serving their unhoused friends around Nashville. Over time, the folks at Open Table applied an approach to disrupting homelessness that engaged community and religious leaders in ways so that resources could be redistributed to help neighbors and strengthen the community together. This past year they participated in the nationwide 100,000 Homes program by housing more than 350 in three months last summer.

Nashville's approach to providing overcoming poverty was chronicled on 60 Minutes this past week. Anderson Cooper journeyed with United Methodist, Ingrid McIntyre, and her team in Nashville as they engaged community efforts to disrupt the cycle of homelessness.

100,000 Homes: Housing the homeless can save money?
100,000 Homes: Housing the homeless can save money?

Biblical Obedience Updates
Ogletree Trial Postponed: The trial of retired Yale Divinity School dean, Rev. Thomas Ogletree, scheduled to begin on March 10, has been postponed. According to a release from Religion News Service, all sides have agreed to pursue "just resolution" before moving to a trial.

A Different Approach in the Pacific Northwest: Two clergy in the Pacific Northwest Conference under complaint for performing same-sex weddings received a 24-hour suspension as part of a "just resolution" process.

Rev. Cheryl A. Fear and Rev. Gordy Hutchins both acknowledged officiating the ceremonies, and Rev. David Orendorff. consel for the Church carried out a resolution of the 2013 Pacific Northwest Annual Conference that the penalty for those who officiate at same-sex weddings shall be a 24-hour suspension.   


Both of these announcements come with both celebration and concern. Postponement or avoidance of trials do not change the fact that our Book of Discipline is still a document that does harm to LGBTQ persons and their allies. As Dorothee Benz of MIND-NY reminds us, "trials are not the problem here, merely the symptom."

Upcoming Events
February 28: "Living Into Scripture as an Inclusive Church" Sponsored by Western PA Reconciling Ministries, featuring Bishop Grant Hagiya and Rev. Dr. Steven Tuell. More information can be found in this brochure.

March 21-24:Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Arlington, Virginia- "Resisting Violence, Living Peace" MFSA staff will be present during these days of skills building and capacity building for a more peaceful world.

April 3-6: Student Christian Movement-USA National Leadership Training Program in Chevy Chase, MD

Sunday, March 2: Rev. Vicki Woods, Board Co-President preaching at Dumbarton United Methodist Church in Washington, DC

Thursday, March 20: Rev. Steve Clunn, Coalition Coordinator, preaching at Drew Theological School

Sunday, March 23: Chett Pritchett, Executive Director, preaching at Sudbury United Methodist Church in Sudbury, MA
Progressive Ponderings
Have a Heart for Justice 


On this Valentine's Day, won't you join us MFSA in having a heart for justice? Having a heart doesn't take much - you can donate $5, $10, or $15 with ease; you can repost this heart on your facebook page and encourage others to do the same; or you can tweet your hope for a better church and world using the hashtag: #haveaheart4justice

Won't you have a heart?
Methodist Federation for Social Action
212 East Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20003