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Volume X
Issue 7         

4 June 2015  


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For many years, June has been considered LGBT Pride Month. Two important events happened in June that mark points in the history of LGBT movements: The Fire at the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans and The Stonewall Riots in Greenwhich Village. You probably knew about Stonewall, but not many people know about the fire that killed 32 people in a bar where a congregation of the Metropolitan Community Church had just had their Sunday evening services. A recent study declares that over half of the LGBT people in America identify as Christian. Matthew Vines, a noted evangelical speaker, notes the "LGBT vs. Christian narrative" is a false narrative. 

There's another false narrative floating around these days, too. You and I have heard it. We may have even perpetuated it. But the "Black vs. LGBT narrative," must be put to rest. In fact, further back in history, we learn that before Stonewall, before the rainbow flag, before Pride became about corporate sponsorship and big name performers, people of all races, sexual orientations, and gender identities were standing up for their rights - indeed the rights of ALL of those communities at a Donut Shop in Los Angeles and at Compton's Cafeteria in San Francsico. 

The false dichotomies surround the work of justice. But in working together - as allies in coalition - we can not only change the world, but change the narratives which hold us back from true justice.

In this month, we also encounter what I call "Methodist Pride" - more than 50 annual conferences meeting in the United States. I hope and pray that justice-seekers might cross lines of race, orientation, identity, and yes, perhaps even theology, to change the narratives and work for truer justice.

In peace and working for justice,

Chett Pritchett
Executive Director
MFSA is proud to participate in the General Board of Church's Ethnic Young Adult internship program for the fourth year. This week, we welcomed Jayla Johnson to MFSA and already she's doing great work!

Jayla is a PK and comes from a long line of Methodist ministers including her father, grandfather, and uncle. She grew up near Salisbury, MD and his lived in various communities across the East Coast. Jayla is a rising sophomore at West Virginia Wesleyan College majoring in business administration with a minor in communications. (Our executive director promises that Jayla's selection as an intern wasn't solely based on her attending his
alma mater!)

Excited to join the MFSA team for the summer, Jayla states, "I have always had a driving passion for justice because I believe that justice is still not served...MFSA handles issues such as peace, people's rights, and poverty. I will continue to fight and dissolve issues that continue to contradict what it means to live the 'American dream.'"


Don't be surprised if you get a call or email from Jayla this summer as she helps lead us toward Gather at the River and work to increase MFSA's web presence.


The month of June is recognized as Torture Awareness Month. During this month, there are many opportunities geared toward preventing torture America and throughout the world thanks to the work of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT). Some include worship, petitions, film screenings, and social media.

One of the events hosted by the NRCAT is the 23 Hour Fast for a #TortureFreeWorld. During this activity, participants pick a day through the month of June and participate in a fast for human rights. The purpose of this month is for partner organizations and surrounding communities to commemorate and honor those who struggled through tortuous incidents. NRCAT's main goal is to spread the message that torture continues to be a problem in the world and it must stop!

MFSA executive director, Chett Pritchett, will be fasting on June 25 and we invite you to join him in prayer and fasting on that day (or another day which might fit your schedule). If you participate, please consider downloading the photo below and setting it as your Facebook profile photo for the day you are fasting. On June 25, we will also post a prayer to our Facebook page that you can pray during your fast.


You can learn more about NRCAT and the #TortureFreeWorld fast here

In the 1950s, MFSA came under attack during the days of the Red Scare and McCarthyism. Labeled "Methodism's Pink Fringe" by an essay in Reader's Digest, MFSA was also asked to no longer be the Church's voice for social justice. With no apportionment funds from the general Church and no strong support from the denomination, MFSA was buffered by the work of Lee and Mae Ball. Noting the importance of an independent advocate for social change in the Church, Lee and Mae kept MFSA's voice alive by knocking on parsonage doors, participating in civil rights protests, corresponding with prison inmates, and publishing the Social Questions Bulletin (now The Progressive Voice). By 1973, when Rev. George McClain became the executive director of MFSA, the foundation laid by Lee and Mae Ball allowed for renewal and revival of a network of justice-seekers in both the Church and world.

Lee and Mae were never content to remain within the walls of a Church building because they knew they could only find Jesus in the company of the poor and oppressed. They engaged those who were "spiritual, but not religious" long before the Church had words to describe such a belief.

Due in great part to the efforts of Lee and Mae Ball, MFSA was there "when we needed it," and so our highest honor, The Lee and Mae Ball Award, has been given in their memory since 1975 to those whose resilient work is a model of God's grace and hope for a justice-seeking Church and world.

Please submit nominations for The Ball Award here. We will present the award during Gather at the River in August!
Wednesday, June 10 - Saturday, June 13: North Carolina Annual Conference
    Rev. Steve Clunn, LYN Coalition Coordinator, present

Thursday, June 11 - Saturday, June 13: West Virginia Annual Conference
    Chett Pritchett, executive director, present; speaking at Appalachians for the Sacredness of All People dinner, Friday, June 12

Tuesday, June 16 - Thursday, June 18: East Ohio Annual Conference
    Chett Pritchett, executive director, present; speaking at MFSA luncheon on Wednesday, June 17

Sunday, June 21: Foundry UMC, Washington, DC
    Chett Pritchett, executive director, educational event: "Today's Intersections: Race, Sexuality, and Privilege." 12:30pm-2:00pm
Methodist Federation for Social Action
212 East Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20003