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Volume X
Issue 6          

7 May 2015  


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The skies were bright,
Our hearts were light,
In the merry, merry month of may.

These lyrics by American folk song composer Stephen C. Foster bring back some of my favorite childhood memories, learning songs from my mother and grandmother. The songs were a connection to my past and developed my love of history. I also learned songs like "I Wish I Was in Dixie," "Oh Suzanna!," and "Camptown Races."  Much later in life I realized these songs grew out of the Civil War era, minstrel shows, and deeply racist attitudes.

Today, I recognize these songs have been passed from generation to generation without the implicit racism which may have first accompanied the tunes. Still they hold power and privilege over and against the experience of others. I didn't act racist, but I was born into a racist system. This is how structural racism and white privilege works. 

I will always be recovering from my learned racism and unearned privilege. I'm thankful for those who journey with me and share their stories. 

The work of overcoming structural racism is one that intersects with the entire work of MFSA. It engages conversations about poverty, the environment, non-violence, injustice, sexuality, gender justice, colonialism, and the moral voice of The United Methodist Church. As we move toward the next General Conference, it is my hope and prayer that MFSA can be a beacon at the intersection of faith and justice. Thank you for the ways you help us embody that work.

Naming and claiming, working and praying,

Chett Pritchett
Executive Director
The Love Your Neighbor Coalition would like to announce the launch of a new website which contains a joint statement, "A Vision for The United Methodist Church" designed to guide the work of the Coalition as we continue preparations for General Conference in 2016.

First, check out our Vision for the United Methodist Church. These are our beliefs as a Coalition and our call to the Church to address systemic injustices. Please read and consider signing! 

Next, share this with your Sunday school class, small group, congregation, neighbors, and friends! And don't forget to follow the Coalition on Facebook and Twitter!

Finally, consider a donation to the Love Your Neighbor Coalition. If 5000 passionate United Methodists donate $100 each, we can fully fund the work of the Coalition at General Conference 2016.

Last week, our executive director sent a pastoral letter to MFSA constituents and friends regarding the Baltimore Uprising of last Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, he walked through the Sandtown neighborhood, met with United Methodist clergy, and helped hand out food and water at an AME-Zion congregation. Our United Methodist Bishops have released a letter asking for prayer and repentance. Concretely, MFSA suggests four ways to change hearts and minds, and engage in positive action:

*Seek news sources other than network and cable news - like The Root, Al Jazeera America, and Color Lines


*Understand the history of racism and white privilege. Tell your story. Here's a good example.


*Help those affected adversely by supporting the work of United Methodists in Baltimore. You can donate online with the Baltimore-Washington Conference.


*Continue to learn and engage multiple intersections of injustice in your own communities. The power and privilege, racism and poverty seen in Baltimore is not unique. Work across lines of race, class, sexual orientation, denomination, and geographic differences to create space for justice to be sought.




For-profit companies, such as GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America, make millions of dollars on detaining immigrants through contracts with the Federal government.  Tens of thousands of these detainees are kept behind bars in order to fulfill an arbitrary and inhumane policy requiring that 34,000 detention beds be maintained on any given day.  This "bed quota" rips people from their communities and loved ones, lines the pockets of corporations, and contributes to mass incarceration.   


Please join the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) for a Google Hangout,"Locked Up for Profit", on May 13th at 2pm EST. 

The discussion will include the impact of detentions on immigrants and their families, what it's like to accompany those caught in the detention and deportation pipeline, local campaigning in Arizona to end privatization of prisons, and the ways in which private prison companies attempt to influence immigration policies.


If you would like MFSA brochures, Gather at the River brochures, or books on MFSA's connection to the Deaconess movement to sell at Annual Conferences, please contact Administrative Coordinator, Heather Kramer.

After Annual Conference, please remember to send final texts of General Conference petitions and voting results to executive director, Chett Pritchett.
MFSA On The Road!
Thursday, May 14 - Saturday, May 16: Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference
    Chett Pritchett, executive director, present; 

Sunday, May 17: Arch Street UMC, Philadelphia, PA
    Chett Pritchett, executive director, preaching at 8:30, 11:00, and 5:30 services.

Wednesday, May 27 - Saturday, May 30: Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference
    Chett Pritchett, executive director, present;           MFSA/BWARM Dinner on Friday, May 29

Wednesday, May 27 - Saturday, May 30: Upper New York Annual Conference
    Rev. Steve Clunn, Coalition Coordinator, present

Wednesday, June 10 - Saturday, June 13: North Carolina Annual Conference
    Rev. Steve Clunn, Coalition Coordinator, present

Thursday, June 11 - Saturday, June 13: West Virginia Annual Conference
    Chett Pritchett, executive director, present; speaking at Appalachians Serving All People event, Friday, June 12

Wednesday, June 17 - Friday, June 19: East Ohio Annual Conference
    Chett Pritchett, executive director, present; speaking at MFSA luncheon on Thursday, June 18

Sunday, June 21: Foundry UMC, Washington, DC
    Chett Pritchett, executive director, educational event on the intersections of sexuality and white privilege
Progressive Ponderings
Methodist Federation for Social Action
212 East Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20003