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IN THIS ISSUE
Gather at the River
King v. Burwell Educational Call
Chapter Happenings
Preparing for General Conference 2016
MFSA on the Road!
Progressive Ponderings:News and Job Openings
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Issue 4          

23 February 2015  

 

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This past Wednesday, I attended the imposition of ashes services at the United Methodist Building, marking the beginning of Lent. Dr. Carol Cook Moore of Wesley Theological Seminary preached the service and invited us "not to give up something for Lent, or even to take on something for Lent," but instead to simply inhabit the holy space that Lent provides.

That evening, I opened the door to my new basement apartment to find two inches of water covering every inch of the floor. After calling the management company, notifying my upstairs neighbors, verifying the source of the abundantly flowing water, and texting my friends who live around the corner, I had a choice. Either I could freak out and wring my hands in despair (which my close friends would expect to be my response), or I could jump in and salvage what I could by moving boxes and books to higher ground. My neighbors (my heroes) arrived quickly and we made a plan of action. Soon, a plumber and contractors arrived and they fixed the broken pipe and were suctioning the water as fast as they could. When it was all said and done, all that was lost was a couple rugs and two books from seminary. And you know what? It's just stuff.

I took Dr. Cook Moore's invitation with all seriousness that evening. And invite you to do the same. No matter if we give something up or take something on, it's just stuff. But the space we inhabit - the world, the physical and spiritual places - those are holy spaces where the God who created and claims us meets us. In that moment, the flood was a holy space for me, even if for just a moment. This Lent, I hope you find holy spaces, even in a world where floods of war, injustice, and oppression seem to rage around us. For it is in those holy spaces where we can choose a new way of being to pour out grace to ourselves and to one another.

Grace and peace,

Chett Pritchett
Executive Director
chett@mfsaweb.org
Gather at the River 
Methodist Federation for Social Action and Reconciling Ministries Network members and friends in the Rio Texas Conference are preparing to provide extravagant hospitality for Gather at the River participants, August 6-9. Gather at the River will also include the participation of kindred groups in the Love Your Neighbor Coalition. Gather at the River is a multi-generational gathering. Program activities for children (ages 3-rising 6th grade) and youth (middle and high school) will be led by professionally-trained staff.

Gather logo and link
Check out the website for Gather at the River at www.gather2015.org - check out the great worship leaders, preachers, and opportunities for education and action.

We know it costs money to travel to San Antonio, share the cost of a hotel room, and cover the cost of registration. That's why MFSA and RMN (and some generous donors) will help make this more affordable to those on tight budgets.  We will be offering scholarships to cover the cost of registration and suggestions on how to make this an affordable experience. Go to www.gather2015.org, click "About," and fill out the scholarship application. And if you'd like to make a scholarship available, you can donate there, too!

If you have suggestions for workshop topics and/or workshop leaders for Gather at the River, please let us know! Workshops are intended to provide hands-on training opportunities to learn and hone skills for vital congregational ministries, advocacy for LGBTQ equality, engaging persons in the intersections of justice issues, and/or preparing a progressive witness for the 2016 General Conference. Workshops will happen on Friday afternoon, August 7, and will be 75 minutes in length. Go to www.gather2015.org and check out the Workshop Proposals section under "Program."

Don't forget to take advantage of the early bird registration deadline before April 1!
King v. Burwell Educational Call
On March 4, the US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the blockbuster case, King v. Burwell. This case stands to threaten the affordable, quality health coverage that millions of women, children, and families have been able to obtain thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Specifically, King v. Burwell centers on a challenge to the financial assistance made available to eligible consumers under the ACA. The assistance, provided as a tax credit, is helping 4 out of 5 people who sign up in the health insurance marketplace to afford coverage - including a majority of women. The decision of the Court to protect or take away health coverage will truly mean a life or death decision for millions of women, children, and families across the country.

Our colleagues in the Religious Action Working Group, National Council for Jewish Women, have invited us to join in a grassroots education call:

Courts Matter: Health Coverage at Stake
Friday, February 27 from 1-2pmET
Featured speakers include:
*Amy Howe, Editor and Reporter at SCOTUSblog, the go-to source for live coverage of the Supreme Court
*Lauren Birchfield Kennedy, Director of Health Policy at the National Partnership for Women and Families
*Christine Stone, NCJW national board member and chair of BenchMark: NCJW's Judicial Nominations Campaign
Chapter Happenings
NORTH CAROLINA: Preparations are being made for the Jack Crum Conference on Prophetic Ministry to be held on April 18 at Epworth UMC in Durham. Learn more here - it promises to be a great event - even if you aren't from North Carolina, consider attending!

NORTH CAROLINA: Members of the North Carolina Conference Chapter of MFSA also participated in the Moral March on Raleigh/HKonJ over Presidents Day weekend.
NCC-MFSA at Moral March on Raleigh

IOWA: The Spring Statewide Gathering will be held Saturday, March 21st, at 10:00, in the Parish Hall of First UMC in Indianola.   The program will be led by Rev. Jan Everhart and Rev. Mara Bailey, and feature Simpson College students.   A light lunch will be served for a free will donation. Following lunch, Terry Montgomery, Conference Treasurer, will be available for conversation about the 2016 Annual Conference Budget and concerns raised by many at the Town Hall Meetings held last year.  See the flyer here.

OREGON-IDAHO: Chapter Spring Event will be Saturday, March 21 at Fremont UMC: "Oregon-Idaho Hosts the World" with Rev. Steve Clunn of the Love Your Neighbor Coalition leading discussion about General Conference 2016.
Preparing for General Conference 2016 
Economic Justice. Power & Privilege. Reproductive Health. Peace and Justice in the Middle East. Immigration & Migration. Peace & Colonialism. Building a Radically Inclusive Church. Ecological Justice. LGBTQ Inclusion. Global Health. Higher Education & Ministry. UMC Structure.

What do these 12 areas have in common? They are MFSA's legislative priorities at the next General Conference!

With just a little over a year to go until General Conference 2016, MFSA is preparing our legislative priorities. Through tracking Annual Conference legislation and working with other partner organizations, we'll be providing analysis of legislation submitted to General Conference, as well as writing legislation to fill in the gaps.

LYN Logo Thanks to the work of Rev. Steve Clunn, Coordinator for the Love Your Neighbor Coalition (LYNC) and seminary intern Matt Knonenberg, the Coalition legislative team has been developing legislative strategy to highlight the injustices faced by a broad group within The United Methodist Church. Keep alert for more information as we approach General Conference!
MFSA On The Road!
Wednesday, March 4: Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia, Germantown, PA
     Chett Pritchett, executive director, speaking to students in course: Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Leadership

Thursday, March 12 and Friday, March 13: MFSA Board of Directors Meeting, First UMC, Portland, OR

Saturday, March 14: "Chat with Chett" - Tacoma, WA (time and location TBA)

Sunday, March 15: Browns Point United Methodist Church, Tacoma, WA
     Chett Pritchett, executive director, preaching

Sunday, March 15: "Chat with Chett" - Seattle, WA (time and location TBA)

Saturday, March 21: Oregon-Idaho MFSA Chapter Spring Gathering, Fremont UMC
     Rev. Steve Clunn, Coalition Coordinator, speaking

Wednesday, March 25: California UMC, California, PA
     Chett Pritchett, executive director, leading Lenten gathering
Progressive Ponderings
Methodist Federation for Social Action
212 East Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20003
202.546.8806