MFSA Banner Blue
The Worst Gift This Christmas
Socially Responsible Investment Webinar
Hello, Good-Bye
MFSA on the Road!
Progressive Ponderings:News and Job Openings
Receive MFSA updates
Join Our Mailing List
Volume IX
Issue 21       

16 December 2014 


Web     Facebook     Twitter     Donate


Across America this past week, thousands and thousands of conversations had their genesis. Why? Because people of faith took to the streets to stand against police brutality, racism, and white privilege. Students at Garrett marched through Evanston as a witness, and their black faculty have called the Church accountable to sins of commission and sins of omission. United Methodist seminarians at Drew and Candler engaged in die-ins. Congregations and individual United Methodists marched in New York City. Students from Wesley Seminary, MFSA staff and board, and local United Methodists witnessed in Washington, DC. Indeed, there is a growing movement to move "Out of the Pews and Into the Streets."

This concept shouldn't be that new for those of us in the Methodist tradition. When John Wesley moved from the Anglican pulpits, he took to the streets, the town squares, and even to the countryside proclaiming God's grace and a call to personal and social holiness.

Moving from the safety of sanctuaries into the streets of our towns and cities isn't going to be comfortable. As a white male, I've had to wrestle with my privilege when I step outside of my comfort zones. And yet as I was reminded again and again this weekend - this isn't about me. This isn't about my children (were I to have them) being shot in the streets or followed because of the color of their skin. This isn't about me because white men like myself are 15 times less likely to be incarcerated than black men. This isn't about me because I will likely not receive blame posthumously for causing my death because of my actions.

But in some ways it is about me - or at least people who look and think like me. White privilege and racism are two sides of the same coin. And because people who look and think like me also benefit from a system which degrades, oppresses, imprisons, and kills through acts of systemic injustice, we are complicit in both personal and social unholiness.

Today, I'd like to encourage you two take two actions in the evolving conversation about racism and privilege in America. First, challenge yourself each day to consider how your actions continue to uphold racist policies locally. Share your reflections with others - at church, in small groups, or via social media. Second, don't be afraid to make a public witness. Such witnesses expand the potential for conversation partners and helps others find their voice in the movement. (Here are some good tips, especially for white folks joining in solidarity). And for folks in churches, maybe it's time to get out of the pews and into the streets. It worked for Jesus and John Wesley, and I think it's what the Gospel demands.


Still Not Waiting This Advent,

Chett Pritchett
Executive Director
The Worst Gift This Christmas: The Torture Report
Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee finally released the long awaited "torture report," an investigation of the CIA's post-911 torture program. As we find ourselves in the midst of this season of Advent, our eyes turn toward Bethlehem, we remember that the birth of Jesus didn't come without fear from an empire, rage from a leader, and the slaughter of the innocents. T.C. Morrow, a member of Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, DC and a staffer at the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, has written a blog for us during this Advent season to help us remember, reflect, and repent.

You can take action and be a progressive voice for people's rights in your own community by writing a letter to the editor of your local news outlet.
The UMC: Socially Responsible Investment Webinar
In response to demand from existing and prospective clients, Wespath will be launching a new fund, the Equity Social Values Plus Fund (ESVPF), effective January 2, 2015. Some areas of focus include:
o    The environment
o    Diversity
o    Employee relations
o    Human rights
o    Product quality
o    Safety

MFSA encourages all clergy and laity who participate in the United Methodist Pension and Health Benefits programs to learn more about this new fund offering, and participate in a webinar that Wespath will host on Thursday, December 18, at 2:30 p.m. Central time. To register, please click here.

There will be 30 minutes of presentation and 30 minutes of Q&A - so listen closely, think critically, and ask questions.

*At this point in time, MFSA neither endorses or opposes this fund.
Hello, Good-Bye: MFSA's 2015 Board of Directors

At their Fall 2014 Board of Directors meeting, MFSA affirmed the following persons to the board in new positions.

Rev. Vicki Flippin, Co-President, is a pastor at The Church of the Village, a progressive, multi-racial, and Reconciling United Methodist Church in Manhattan. She is a member of her conference's 2016 Jurisdictional/General Conference delegation and is both a sought after preacher and a blogger for the Huffington Post.

Joey Lopez, Nominations and Governance Chair, works for the Campaign for Southern Equality as a Community Organizer through the Tzedek Social Justice Residency. Personal experiences with intersecting identities shape Joey's commitment to educational, economic, racial, ethnic and queer justice both inside and outside communities of faith. 

Darlene DiDomineck, Program Council Co-Chair, is a native of Florida and a graduate of Union Theological Seminary. She is a Deaconness, committed to a life of justice as a lay person in The United Methodist Church. Darlene lives in the Philadelphia area. 

Rev. Joshua Steward, North Central Representative, was  born nine weeks early with a mild form of cerebral palsy and has always had a passion for "the least of these"; be it God's preferential option for the poor, or the call to Do No Harm to our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. He is also a graduate of Union Theological Seminary and Chicago Theological Seminary and serves as clergy in the Iowa Annual Conference. 

Darlene and Joey have served the board in 2014, but will be stepping into new capacities in 2015. We welcome these new board members into their roles as they serve MFSA with passion and clarity in the coming year.

Welcoming new board members, however, means that we are saying good-bye to two members rotating off the board. Rev. Diane Christianson, served as Nominations and Governance Chair since January of 2012. Currently serving as pastor at Champlin UMC in Minnesota, Diane came to the MFSA board through her leadership in the North Carolina Chapter.

In 2011, Rev. Vicki Woods came to MFSA's board to fill a  vacant term as Co-President. Thanks in great part to Vicki's leadership, MFSA nimbly navigated two changes in executive directors, clarified its capacity, stabilized giving and expenditures, and reclaimed it's progressive voice in The United Methodist Church and broader society.

As a thank you Vicki for her mentoring and encouragement of emerging leaders, MFSA board members have created a special fund for the "Vicki Woods Emerging Leaders Scholarship" for the Gather at the River Conference in August of 2016 in San Antonio, TX. We invite donations to this scholarship fund for a way for Vicki's colleagues and friends to celebrate her commitment to a vibrant church, committed to justice and peace. Please note in comments that your donation is directed to the Woods Scholarship.

MFSA On The Road!
Sunday, January 25: First UMC, Evanston, IL
     Chett Pritchett, Executive Director, preaching
Progressive Ponderings
Methodist Federation for Social Action
212 East Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20003