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Intersections of Discrimination
Season of Love
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Progressive Ponderings:News and Job Openings
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Volume IX
Issue 7                              

16 April 2014 


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On Monday night, I sat around a table in the home of a friend's parents, a guest for their Seder meal. As I looked around the table there were 2 liberal Protestants and a lapsed Catholic. 5 of us were "young adults," and 4 of us identified as gay. Most had been attending Seders their entire life; this was my first. It was an evening filled with ritual (but nothing too rigid), conversation, and laughter. Eventually conversation turned to the Sunday shootings at the Jewish Community Center in Kansas. I gave thanks that a college friend who usually goes to the gym at that particular JCC had decided to forgo her typical Sunday routine. And together we lamented a world where fear of difference becomes so palpable that one feels compelled to violent action. Imagine my surprise when a right-wing, religious "renewal" organization posted a blog today suggesting that religious diversity and freedom were causes of secularism and that secularism was the cause of violence. Around that Seder meal, it was clear to me that our diversity was our strength and that life and laughter and joy were central to that diversity.

Life. Laughter. Joy. These aren't typically things that Christians think about during Holy Week. Oftentimes we become focused on pain, death, crucifixion. But we know how the story ends. Death does not have dominion. Love does. Fear does not overcome us. Love wins. In life, death, and life beyond death, God is with us.

May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, be with you in the coming days.

Grace and peace,  
Chett Pritchett 
Executive Director 
Intersections of Discrimination
Rev. Gil Caldwell provides the keynote address. Photo by Neill Caldwell.
Last weekend, the Virginia Chapter of MFSA held an event at Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church, adjacent to the campus of Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA. Entitled Following Jesus, Overcoming Discrimination - Conversations on the Intersections of Heterosexism, Racism, and Religion, the day-long event heard from keynote speaker, Rev. Gil Caldwell, a panel of Virginia Conference clergy and laity, and a program with community organizer, Joe Szakos, rounded out the day.
Rev. Youtha Hardman-Cromwell speaks in the panel discussion. Photo by Neill Caldwell.

The event was co-sponsored by Altar for All Virginia, Virginia Reconciling United Methodists, and the Virginia Chapter of Black Methodists for Church Renewal.
Season of Love: A Time for Change
Despite the United Methodist Church's policies against gays and lesbians, people of faith from all over California and neighboring states will be celebrating a "Season of Love" this coming May-a call for acts of love and support for full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people in The United Methodist Church.

Nikki and Kira, two United Methodist women, will be married on May 17 at Wesley United Methodist Church in San Jose by their United Methodist pastor -even though their denomination forbids it. Hundreds of supporters plan to gather outside the church to hold a "Circle of Love" for the brides, for The United Methodist Church and for all UMC pastors who wish to preside over same sex weddings in The United Methodist Church. "We will stand, sing, and pray as a cloud of witnesses in solidarity with congregations desiring to open their church to all loving couples, and in support of all United Methodist pastors who simply want to fulfill their pastoral duties to all of their parishioners," said Rev. Judy Shook, the organizer of the Circle of Love.

Nikki, a third generation Filipina-Chinese American woman, and Kira, a Filipina-Palestinian American met and grew in their relationship through their work for justice in the church. "It is important for us to be married by our own pastor who has supported and mentored us in The United Methodist Church," said Nikki. "It is also important that we be married in front of our families, who have been an unbelievable support system throughout our lives. We have a kasama love, which in Tagalog means 'my partner in struggle.' If we weren't involved in justice work we would still love each other, but this has deepened our faith and love. And it is important to us that this is shared with our community."

Beginning with Nikki and Kira's wedding on May 17, United Methodist supporters are asked to post their weddings and other actions supporting full LGBTQ inclusion on the Season of Love website and stand on the side of love until The United Methodist Church stops discriminating against its members and pastors. To learn how to support Kira , Nikki and their United Methodist pastor on their wedding day, May 17th, go to the Season of Love website.
Upcoming Events
August 7-8: Walk with Palestinian Christians for Holy Justice and Peace; Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church, Tipp City, OH. More information here.

August 8-9: Turning the Page: United Methodist Kairos Response Summit; Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church, Tipp City, OH. More information here.

August 29-September 1: Stepping Out in Faith: Western Methodist Justice Movement Retreat; Zephyr Point Conference Center, Lake Tahoe, NV. Registration opens soon. More information here.

Saturday, May 10: Chett Pritchett, Executive Director, California-Pacific MFSA Chapter Gathering

Tuesday, May 13-15: Chett Pritchett, Executive Director, California-Nevada gatherings, exact date and location TBA

Saturday, May 17: Chett Pritchett, Executive Director, Circle of Love, Wesley United Methodist Church, San Jose, CA

Annual Conference season plans are being made. Look for more information soon!
Progressive Ponderings
Give OUT Day - May 15
MFSA is proud to be a member of the Love Your Neighbor Coalition, working to end discrimination in The United Methodist Church. In October, MFSA's Board of Directors approved for the Coalition Coordinator position, currently filled by Rev. Steve Clunn, to be funded through MFSA's Operating Budget for the first six months of 2014 (grant funding pending for the second half of the year).

Already this year, the Love Your Neighbor Coalition has: 
*secured hotel space in Portland for General Conference 2016 
*expanded the number of coalition partners - 10!! 
*worked with grassroots groups in support of marriage equality 
*developed a relationship with the LGBT-Faith Asylum Network

Won't you help MFSA continue to seek justice for LGBTQ people in the UMC and across the world?

Giving is easy - in fact you don't even have to mark your calendar - you can schedule your donation right now.

On Give OUT Day, you can spread the word - wouldn't it be great to see MFSA on the leader board for most monetary donations or most individual donors?! (PS If MFSA is one of the top three in those categories, you donation could go even further!) 

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