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Welcome Summer Interns
Annual Conference Reports
MFSA on the Road!
Divestment: Fossil Free UMC
Progressive Ponderings:News and Job Openings
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Volume IX
Issue 10                                 

11 June 2014 

 

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Welcome Summer Interns!
One of the wonderful things about having our office in Washington, DC is that we have the ability to engage young adults with vocational discernment through internship opportunities. This summer we welcome three interns to our office!

Sereana Banuve comes to us through the Ethnic Young Adult internship program with the General Board of Church and Society. Originally from Fiji, Sereana is currently majoring in International Business at the Santa Rosa Junior College in California. She is also a part of the Fijian congregation at the First United Methodist Church in Santa Rosa, CA. Searana will be working as part of MFSA's advocacy for the passage of an updated Voting Rights Act in Congress.

Ian Collier is an undergraduate student at Georgetown University majoring in Theology and Philosophy. Upon graduation, he plans to attend seminary and work towards ordination within the United Methodist Church. Ian is a member of the Hudson Falls United Methodist Church in the Upper New York Conference. Ian will be working on communications and social media outreach. 


Jackie Spang is a recent graduate of Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, MD. A member of North Bethedsa United Methodist Church, her interests include music, theatre, soccer, politics, community service, and of course church, where she worked to help them become a Reconciling congregation. Jackie will engage in outreach to advocate for the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Action in Congress. 

Annual Conference Reports

DETROIT ANNUAL CONFERENCE: Two standing votes were taken, both involved matters of sexual orientation and both passed with a 3-vote margin. The first action regarded five questions for candidates running for state office. The five questions were affirmed dealt with 1) gun violence; 2) comprehensive immigration reform; 3) free and fair elections; 4) funding for public schools; and 5) equal rights for all and stance on marriage equality. The second standing vote approved a resolution calling for grace and love available to all persons. On the following day a motion was passed that asked Bishop Kiesey to rule whether the action taken is in accordance with the Discipline. This is to be done within 30 days and her decision will then be reviewed by Judicial Council. Bishop Kiesey's response has been issued here

 

 

BALTIMORE-WASHINGTON ANNUAL CONFERENCE:

During the session, 15 resolutions were considered. Those dealing with clarifying conference rules all passed, as did resolutions on the minimum wage and working toward a living wage, and studying the denomination's policies and practices with mentally ill clergy. Opting for additional study, members affirmed the dangers of fossil fuels but postponed a response to companies using them. A task force will be formed to explore the potential impact of divestment. A resolution on three corporations that benefit from the Israel/Palestine conflict was deferred indefinitely. Conference members suspended the rules that called for debate and participated in "circles of grace," using holy conferencing in small groups to explore five resolutions on human sexuality. These resolutions: ask that the Baltimore-Washington Conference be an inclusive conference, call for the church to agree to disagree on polity affecting LGBT people, encourage the banning of clergy trials for same-gender weddings, encourage removing discriminatory language from the Book of Discipline and speak out against laws discriminating against gays and lesbians in West Virginia. All of these resolutions passed and await a Bishop's rule of law. At the MFSA/BWARM dinner, Maynard Moore received the "God's Foolish One Award" and the group heard from keynote speaker, Rev. Frank Schaefer.

 

EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA ANNUAL CONFERENCE:

Six resolutions on how the conference should view and address challenges to the denomination's rules disallowing same-sex marriage ceremonies and LGBT ordained clergy were referred to the Cabinet. Those resolutions will be considered in dialogues the bishop and cabinet members will hold with clergy and laity in each district in the fall.

 

GREATER NEW JERSEY ANNUAL CONFERENCE:  Annual Conference participated in an Act of Repentance for Native Americans in our conference. Native American elements were woven into the programming throughout the conference and included a Native American celebration during opening worship, a smudging ceremony on the beach, and the distribution of prayer bundles. This is part of a commitment that all Annual Conferences participate in an Act of Repentance for actions against native Americans between now and 2015.  


 

UPPER NEW YORK ANNUAL CONFERENCE: Resolutions approved included a pair of resolutions offered by the Rev. Steven Clunn, Coalition Coordinator for the Love Your Neighbor Coalition. The first seeks a declaratory decision from the Judicial Council on the constitutionality and validity of 101 of the 2012 Book of Discipline, and the second seeks clarification from the denomination's General Council on Finance and Administration, the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries and the United Methodist Board of Church and Society on "the ambiguity of 806.9 and whether United Methodists working with LGBT asylum seekers would be considered a violation of this paragraph."These resolutions will require a response from the bishop. There were also two resolutions submitted by young adult lay member, Stephanie Henry. The first asked that hydraulic fracking be studied before ever being allowed on conference land. The second asked that there be an individual responsible for looking at environmental sustainability at annual conference on the Sessions committee. Both passed.  


 

Don't see your Annual Conference report? Send reports to chett@mfsaweb.org and photos to photos@mfsaweb.org 

MFSA On The Road!
MFSA staff will be present at the following Annual Conferences, so make sure you meet them and say "Hello!"

West Michigan Annual Conference, June 11-14
     Staff: JD Gore
Great Plains Annual Conference, June 11
     Staff: Chett Pritchett
North Carolina Annual Conference, June 11-14
     Staff: Rev. Steve Clunn
Wisconsin Annual Conference, June 20-23
     Staff: Chett Pritchett

After Annual Conference season, look for MFSA staff at "on-the-road" in July.

July 6: Dumbarton UMC, Washington, DC
     Chett Pritchett, Executive Director, preaching
July 15: Cheat Lake UMC, Morgantown, WV
     Chett Pritchett, Executive Director, preaching

Divestment: Fossil Free UMC
Fossil Free UMC is a movement to urge the General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits of The United Methodist Church to add fossil fuels to its investment screens and to invest in renewable energy. The Board's current investments in fossil fuel companies undermine the ministries of the church. When the church invests in fossil fuel companies, its financial success depends on the acceleration of climate change. But climate change exacerbates hunger, poverty and public health--core missional concerns of the church. Fossil Free UMC is working with ecumenical and interfaith partners to invite people of faith to take a moral stand against faith communities profiting from climate change.

One example of divestment success outside The United Methodist Church is the recent decision of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York to become the first theological school to divest from fossil fuels.
Progressive Ponderings
Methodist Federation for Social Action
212 East Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20003
202.546.8806