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Inaugural Plumbline Lecture
Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Next Steps
What Happens When You Move?
MFSA on the Road!
Progressive Ponderings:News and Job Openings
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Volume IX
Issue 13  

8 August 2014 


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When I was arrested at The White House last week with 115 faith leaders asking the Obama administration end all deportations, especially the deportation of children, and expand deferred action for all undocumented immigrants, I didn't tell my parents. They typically land on the opposite end of the spectrum from me. They aren't regular church-goers. And, as I discovered, they really don't understand the work I do. When my well-meaning, favorite aunt had lunch with my mom on Saturday asked how the "jailbird" was doing, I received a phone call almost immediately.

This awkward, yet loving, phone call made me realize something I've actually known for years. Progressive people of faith don't do a good job communicating that we are progressive people of faith. I'll admit it - when it comes to my family, I do a terrible job at it!

This is why I'm excited to announce that MFSA will be holding an inaugural Plumbline Lecture this fall (see below). Besides creating an opportunity for education and outreach, the Lecture will provide an outlet for sharing a clear message that you can be both progressive AND a person of faith.  If you're in the Washington, DC area, or have friends who are, please consider attending or encouraging others to do so. A successful inaugural event could lead to future lectures in other parts of the United Methodist connection!

Who knows? Maybe the next time I talk with my family, I can turn an awkward conversation into a holy moment.


Chett Pritchett
Executive Director


Inaugural Plumbline Lecture

The Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) is excited to announce The Rev. Alan Storey as the speaker for their Plumbline Lecture to be held at Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, DC on the evening of Monday, September 15.


"I am excited to share Rev. Alan Storey with the faith and activist communities in Washington, DC. Alan provides insights into the intersections of injustices through his teaching and preaching which speak to the heart of what it means to be in solidarity with the most marginal in our world," states Chett Pritchett, executive director of the Methodist Federation for Social Action. "Alan has an ability to engage his listeners and challenge us to offer our lives for the transformation of both Church and world."


Alan Storey is an ordained minister of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and is presently ministering at the Central Methodist Mission (CMM) in Cape Town.  Before moving to CMM, Alan was serving at Calvary Methodist Church, Midrand, situated halfway between Pretoria and Johannesburg for 11 years. No stranger to the Church, Alan is the son of Rev. Peter Storey, former president of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and bishop of Johannesburg, former president of the South African Council of Churches, and chaplain to Nelson Mandela.


Alan's commitment to the peacemaking was tested early in his life when he faced conscription into the apartheid regime's military. After spending a year of discernment working as a laborer in Australia, he returned to South Africa, declaring he would never fight in the apartheid army - or any army. He was arrested and faced trial with a six-year prison sentence as the likely outcome. Alan's trial was abandoned midway, and he became the last conscientious objector to be tried in apartheid South Africa.

During his theological training at Rhodes University, he was involved in the Gun Free South Africa Campaign that was launched at the time of transition to democracy, and is currently chairperson of Gun Free SA.  Alan was ordained in 1996 and sent to a small exclusively white congregation in Midrand. He built a new church that embodied a rich diversity of peoples and that engaged deeply with dwellers in the Ivory Park settlement in the area. Alan himself lived in one of these settlements for two years to identify more deeply with the people there.


Alan has spearheaded the transformation of the Stipend Policy within the Methodist Church of Southern Africa over the past number of years, calling the Church to take seriously the Gospel imperatives of economic justice.  He is also a founding member of Sacred Worth which is an organization working for the full inclusion of LGBT people within the Church.


MFSA is proud to welcome Alan to Washington, DC and to hear his words on intersectional justice, faith as grounding for advocacy and alliances, and his witness to the Gospel. During his time in the Washington, DC area, Rev. Storey will also be preaching at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church and Wesley Theological Seminary before he heads to Charlotte, NC where he will present a series of teachings at Myers Park United Methodist Church.


"I'm so glad Alan will be able to share his ministry and teachings to so many while he is here in the United States," states Rev. Michelle Shrader, Minister of Mission at Myers Park and a member of the MFSA board of directors. "He walks the talk and calls others to that journey with him."


Tickets for the Plumbline Lecture are $12 and can be secured at here. An offering for MFSA will be taken during the evening. Student tickets are also available.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Next Steps
Last week's witness at The White House is only part of a bigger strategy to speak a faith-based message on compassionate immigration and refugee policies.

Keep pressure on The White House! Call (866) 961-4293(866) 961-4293 to voice your demands for justice and compassion. Here's a sample script:

"I'm from City, State, Congregation/Community and as a person of faith, I urge President Obama to protect unaccompanied children who have sought refuge in the U.S., end deportations, and expand relief for America's immigrant families and workers."

It's that simple.

Likewise, Congresspersons and Senators are home for August recess. Consider making an appointment in a local office to speak with them - or a staff person. Let Congress know that people of faith care about compassionate immigration policy!
What Happens When You Move?
If you are a United Methodist clergyperson and you moved last month, please remember to update your address(es) with the MFSA office! (This includes emails, too). We do like to keep in touch! Just send an email to!

And speaking of moving, here's a short blog on "Moving Day" from our executive director - before he was our executive director.
MFSA On The Road!

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 24: Lexington UMC, Lexington, MA
     Chett Pritchett, Executive Director 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

September 15: Plumbline Lecture, Foundry UMC,         
     Washington, DC

October 3, 4: In The Midst of New Dimensions Conference, Lexington, MA. Co-sponsored by MFSA. Staff will be present.

November 2: Trinity UMC, Austin, TX
     Chett Pritchett, Executive Director, preaching

November 9: Centenary-Chenango Street UMC, Binghamton, NY - 20th Reconciling Anniversary
     Chett Pritchett, Executive Director, preaching
Progressive Ponderings
Methodist Federation for Social Action
212 East Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20003