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Assault on Gaza
United Methodist Bishops and "The LGBT Question"
Calling for Compassionate Immigration Reform
MFSA on the Road!
Help MFSA's Mission By Donating Frequent Flyer Miles
Progressive Ponderings:News and Job Openings
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Volume IX
Issue 12  

23 July 2014 


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I specifically remember the day the first Gulf War began. It was August 2, 1990. I was in middle school (you do the math). And I remember the songs that were played on the radio during those months of a ground assault. I remember hearing Bette Midler's "From A Distance" for the first time. Even though there's some questionable theology there, I still get a little misty when I remember hearing it almost daily as I got ready for school. This was also when I was introduced to John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance."

Written during Lennon's "Bed-In" of 1969, this song has seeped into our popular culture, and in many ways has defined a generation of peace-seekers.

As a student of Christian ethics, I learned early on that not all Christians are pacifists. Those who conform to the Just War Theory, however, take the same a priori position as pacifists: peace (and I would add, justice) is the goal. Whether we're talking about military campaigns, policies against refugees, or the anti-LGBTQ language of our United Methodist Book of Discipline, we must all come to the conversation with the common goal of peace and justice. To not do so is malicious and breaks John Wesley's first general rule: Do No Harm.

The headlines this week are marked with violence. They hold us all accountable for the need to work for peace and justice. It may sound simple and naīve, but as Christians we start with the same position - in fact, it's right there in our Scripture: "We love because God first loved us." (1 John 4:19). May we be so bold to love others, work for a just peace wherever there is violence and injustice, and proclaim to the entire world that "All We Are Saying is Give Peace a Chance!"


Chett Pritchett
Executive Director


Assault on Gaza
Since July 7, Israeli military forces have killed over 500 Palestinians in Gaza, nearly 80% of whom were civilians including over 55 children.

Gaza is an area about twice the size of the District of Columbia that has about three times as many residents (1.8 million). Over the past two weeks, Israel has been using its highly touted precise missiles to hit numerous targets. This collective punishment wreaks havoc on civilians and their life-sustaining infrastructure, which was precarious at best before the strikes.  
Israel and Palestine, an animated introduction.
Israel and Palestine, an animated introduction.

For years, Israel has maintained a blockade of Gaza by restricting the importation of adequate food, medicine, water, electricity, construction materials and other necessities needed by what the refugees in what Ralph Nader calls "the world's largest open-air prison." These daily deprivations have taken a deadly toll. Fatalities, sicknesses, untreated cancers have resulted. Half the children are malnourished due to the dire poverty associated with the Israeli air, land and sea encirclement.

Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have suffered at least four hundred times more civilian causalities - both fatalities and injuries - than Hamas has inflicted on the Israelis whose immensely powerful forces occupy, colonize, brutalize, and loot the land, water and people of the remaining 22% of Palestine that has not already been taken by Israel.

The world is watching. The UN Security Council has issued a call for an "immediate cessation of hostilities." US Secretary of State John Kerry has called for $47 million in US aid be sent to Gaza. Meanwhile, the US acts as Israel's supplier and enabler, providing $3 billion a year in aid.  

It is time we hold the US government accountable. Contact President Obama at 202-456-1111202-456-1111 and the State Department at 202-647-4000202-647-4000. Demand they immediately withdraw US military aid from Israel and call on Israel to immediately end its attacks. Ask them to stop supporting Israel's crimes with our tax dollars.

Likewise, please hold in prayer two actions which MFSA has endorsed. First on Thursday, July 24, there is a National Day of Action for Gaza. On Saturday, August 2, there will be a March on the White House for Gaza.
United Methodist Bishops and "The LGBT Question"
Last Friday, seven caucus groups in The United Methodist Church were invited you to join the Connectional Table and the Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops in a conversation about the mission and ministry of The United Methodist Church. Specifically, engaging in a conversation about how we can be the community of faith even though we disagree in many questions, including human sexuality. Those seven groups were MFSA, Love Prevails, Reconciling Ministries Network, Good News, Confessing Movement, Wesleyan Covenant Network, and Leading Edge. (It's OK if you have to Google the last two groups).

Chett Pritchett, executive director, and Kevin Nelson, board member, represented MFSA. Imagine our surprise when we arrived at the meeting and none of the more conservative or moderate groups decided not to show up (they did send their regards).

Without giving a play by play of the meeting, two crucial points were raised:
-Leaders in our Church do not realize the pain that is caused to LGBTQ people when the Church participates in systems of oppression meant to belittle, bully, and in some cases, kill them.
-Those who did not show up at this meeting are holding the Church captive with fear. They didn't show up because they have nothing to lose. As long as queer people are used as a wedge for keeping the Church in unity, the Church will not be living out the Gospel.

You may ask, "What can we do?"

First, pray daily - for leaders who will have the boldness to proclaim liberation for LGBTQ people inside, and outside, the Church.

Second, ask your Bishop for time to tell your story. Especially if you are LGBTQ. Share why you are still United Methodist - or why you are considering leaving the denomination. We can not allow bishops to ignore us.

Finally, continue to support the work of the MFSA and the Love Your Neighbor Coalition. MFSA has been supporting the LYN Coalition Coordinator position through our General Operating budget while seeking grants and funds from major donors. Your financial assistance in supporting MFSA's voice in the work of LGBTQ justice in The United Methodist Church is crucial.
Calling for Compassionate Immigration Reform
On Thursday and Friday, July 31-August 1, an ecumenical coalition will join United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcaņo and over 100 leaders from other faith organizations for a large action of civil disobedience in front of the White House. MFSA executive director, Chett Pritchett, and Love Your Neighbor Coalition coordinator, Rev. Steve Clunn, will be participating in this act of civil disobedience, along with many other United Methodist leaders. We will demand an end to all deportations, especially the deportation of children, and demand expanded deferred action for all undocumented immigrants.

Many participants will march from the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill to the White House, carrying pictures of those who have been deported. Supporters will rally from Lafayette Park with songs and prayers.

Some MFSA members will be coming from as far as Iowa to participate in this act of civil disobedience. Your prayers for safe travel and that hearts and minds of White House leaders and Congress be moved to action.

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

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

August 17: Fairlington UMC, Alexandria, VA
     Rev. Steve Clunn, Love Your Neighbor Coalition Coordinator preaching

August 29-September 1: Western Methodist Justice Movement's "Stepping Out in Faith"; Zephyr Cove, NV
     Chett Pritchett, Executive Director, worship co-leader
NOTE: Early Bird Registrations are still available!!!!

September 4: Meet and Greet, Raleigh, NC; more details TBA
     Chett Pritchett, Executive Director
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
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