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Presbyterians Divest!
Schaefer Re-Frocked!
Reproductive Justice Updaate
Progressive Ponderings:News and Job Openings
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Volume IX
Issue 11 

28 June 2014 


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What a week! Last Friday, I went from the appeal for Rev. Frank Schaefer in Baltimore, MD to the Wisconsin Annual Conference. Upon returning from Madison, I not only had news that Frank's defrocking had been overturned, but that he was being appointed in the California-Pacific Conference!

In the MFSA office, our summer interns have been working on projects ranging from website updates to developing strategies for engagement on the Voting Rights Act and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. You'll also want to keep an eye out for a separate email next week regarding a cooperative witness for fair and compassionate immigration laws that will be taking place in Washington, DC at the end of July.

Even in our busy-ness, it is important to stop, pray, and reflect on the work we do. Over the next three three weeks, I have to opportunity to preach three times in three very different contexts. I love to preach. I love the wrestling that happens with the text, the creativity that flows from the presence of the Holy Spirit, and the almost magical moment when the words of my mouth and the ears of those gathered collide in a holy moment. (If you'd like for me to come preach/teach/create holy mischief, let me know and we'll work something out).

In these busy months, when the work of justice seems endless, take time to pray, wrestle with God, and seek moments of peace and joy.


Chett Pritchett
Executive Director
Presbyterians Divest!
A request from Palestinians at the Wall. Source:
On June 20, 2014, after a week of careful deliberation following a ten year corporate engagement and discernment process, the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) voted in favor of divesting $21 million from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett Packard. We are grateful to the Presbyterians for showing a real commitment to understanding both legitimate anti-semitism and Palestinian oppression - and deciding that opposing both is the path to true interfaith partnerships.  Through interfaith partnership, and work to create a deep understanding of what divestment means as a moral statement, a slim margin of delegates to the PCUSA General Assembly in Detroit, MI (51%) voted to divest from these corporations which support the occupation of Palestinian lands, the physically and emotionally violent conditions which Palestinians are forced to experience, and ignore international law. MFSA applauds the work of Jewish Voice for Peace in helping the PCUSA become divested from these practices.

Just a week prior, the United Methodist General Board of Pension and Health Benefits divested from G4S, a corporation which contracts with the Israeli Prison Service to provide management of security systems at prisons within Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  G4S also provides equipment and services for Israeli settlements and checkpoints in the West Bank and for the Separation Wall, constructed in violation of international law in Palestinian territory. While this is only a step toward greater divestment, we appreciate and thank the work of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits.

Later this summer there will be two opportunities to educate, train, and act for peace and justice in Palestine and Israel. Both events will take place at Ginghamsburg Church near Dayton, OH.

On August 7/8, Walking with Palestinian Christians for Holy Justice and Peace will engage prayer, fellowship, and study. This will be immediately followed by the United Methodist Kairos Response Summit on August 8/9.
Schaefer Re-Frocked!
Just six months after refusing to voluntarily surrender his clergy credentials to the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, an appeals committee of the Northeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church has reinstated him to clergy in good standing.
Rev. Frank Schaefer presides over communion following his trial. Source:

In their ruling, the Committee states, the "Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference shall restore Respondent's credentials immediately and compensate Respondent for all lost salary and benefits dating from December 19, 2013." In an email from Bishop Peggy Johnson, she states, "I intend to abide by the committee's decision and return him to active service as an ordained clergy member of this conference presently." The email, however, does state that an appeal of this decision is possible, but that decision "is  the responsibility of the Rev. Christopher Fisher, Counsel for the Church in this case."

On the same day that Rev. Schaefer returned to active service, Bishop Minerva Carcaņo of the California-Pacific Conference announced that Rev. Schaefer's credentials were to be transferred to that Conference and that he would be appointed to Isla Vista Student Ministries in Santa Barbara, CA. 

While we celebrate this news with great joy, it is important to remember that our United Methodist Book of Discipline still retains contradictory and discriminatory language. MFSA continues to work with the Love Your Neighbor Coalition to challenge the United Methodist Church to become a more inclusive and just denomination. 
Reproductive Justice Update
On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts law requiring a 35-foot buffer zone between protesters and reproductive health clinics. While some declare this a victory for free speech, the decision has deep implications for the many men and women who seek the services of their local clinics. "This decision shows a troubling level of disregard for American women, who should be able to make carefully considered, private medical decisions without running a gantlet of harassing and threatening protesters," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

This coming Monday morning, the Court will hand down its ruling in cases against Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties.  These cases are about the right of companies to exercise their religious freedom regarding contraception coverage, but more importantly these cases are about the definition of religious freedom, corporate personhood, AND the right to contraception coverage.

If you live in the Washington, DC area, please join MFSA in front of the Supreme Court from 8:30am-10:30am. Clergy are encouraged to wear collars and stoles; all are invited to bring signs of witness that access to family planning and reproductive health care is a religious value. Please follow @MFSAVoices on Twitter and the hashtag #MyFaithMyHealth and #MyReligiousLibMattersToo

Read more here:

MFSA On The Road!
Annual Conference Season is Over! But MFSA will still be "on-the-road"

July 6: Dumbarton UMC, Washington, DC
     Chett Pritchett, Executive Director, preaching

July 13: Cheat Lake UMC, Morgantown, WV
     Chett Pritchett, Executive Director, preaching

July 25, 26: Ending Korean War and Waging Peace,
      Washington, DC; MFSA Staff will be present

July 31, August 1: Immigration Witness and Trainings,
      Washington, DC; MFSA Staff will be present

August 7, 8: Walking with Palestinian Christians for Holy  Justice and Peace, Tipp City, OH;
     Chett Pritchett, Executive  Director will be present

August 8-10: North Central Jurisdiction UMVIM Mission Round-Up; North Webster, IN
     Chett Pritchett, Executive Director, plenary speaker
Help MFSA's Mission By Donating Frequent Flyer Miles
Source: Creative Commons
Travel and overhead are often the greatest expense an organization like MFSA can incur. We realize that not everyone has the ability to give as generously as they would like - but often folks have unused frequent flyer just collecting dust, and we'd love to help you put them to good use!

While we'll gladly accept any offers, we're specifically looking for American, USAir, and Southwest points since those are the most easily booked out of the Washington, DC area.

If you're interested in giving to MFSA in this way, please contact Chett Pritchett at and we can discuss how we can best use these resources!
Progressive Ponderings
Methodist Federation for Social Action
212 East Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20003