“This light was coming into the world….and the darkness did not overcome it.”

November 15th, 2017

Dear Federation friends,

Are you just plain tired out?  I am! I don’t mean from a busy schedule.  I mean a political exhaustion.  From the daily onslaught of negative news of rolling back hard-won gains against misogyny, white supremacy, nuclear brinkmanship, climate denial, LGBTQ exclusion, hazardous chemicals, and anti-immigrant hysteria. Not to speak of disappearing decency and decorum in high places.

Yes, it’s discouraging, tiring, and frightening. People talk of “compassion fatigue.” This is more like “resistance fatigue.”  And, of course, this is just what the enemies of social justice want. They want to wear us down.

One of my favorite scripture passages, however, is in the Prologue to John’s Gospel. You probably know it:

“This light was coming into the world….and the darkness did not overcome it.”

Thus the Gospel warns us of times such as these. Yes, the Light and Power of God has been unleashed into human life. We have known its inspiration and strength. But today there are newly emboldened, frightfully-funded principalities and powers of evil that do not know God’s name is love and justice.

So let us never forget: the Light still shines…and evil cannot put it out. It shines in each of you receiving this letter. It shines in the ways people unite to raise a justice-loving voice. It shines through reporters and assault victims who breach the wall of silence about sexual abuse.  It shines wherever you and I are faithful to our baptismal vow “to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.”

For 110 years the Methodist Federation has sought to resist evil and to reflect the Light of God in church and society. We have known ups and downs. In the 1930’s the Hearst newspapers attacked us. In the 1950’s McCarthyite forces nearly drove us to extinction.

But despite our political exhaustion, we clung to the Light and received new strength. Likewise, we cling to the Light today, determined not to let the evil of these days wear us down.

I’m writing to ask each of you to give generously to this Advent Appeal. We need MFSA to magnify the Light within the United Methodist world. For example, our support enables MFSA to:

Equip our leaders and chapters to combat a resurgent white supremacy.
Organize a determined witness at the 2019 special General Conference.
Implement our new Justice Seeking Congregation program.

As you may know, I was Federation national executive 1974-1998, and together we gave our all to reflect the Light upon church and society.  But now as a  new member of the MFSA National Board, I am truly astounded to witness the vastly expanded advocacy that our present leadership is engaged in. MFSA today is a better investment in faith-based social action than ever!

Let me share an open secret with you: Deaconess Darlene DiDominick has been doing an absolutely fantastic job as our interim national executive.

I am astounded at how she is crafting a powerful Federation presence in interfaith coalitions, in direct advocacy, in chapter development (right now helping West Virginia UM’s to organize a chapter), and through action alerts (follow MFSA on Facebook if you don’t already!). And she’s backed by a national board of great energy, creativity and diversity.

These are uncertain times in our church as well as nation. We don’t know what proposals will come from the bishops’ Way Forward Commission on LGBTG issues and church structure. Be we are certain that the Federation voice is and will be desperately needed. 

In the coming months the Methodist Federation will be hiring new permanent executive leadership. Our ability to attract the best candidates rests on evidence of 1) the breadth of support for MFSA and 2) the financial stability of our own movement.

This is where you come in.  Your participation, at any level, helps prove breadth of support. And your generosity ensures the Federation’s financial stability.

I’m donating $500.00 right now to MFSA’s Advent Appeal. I hope you’ll join me – at whatever level of generosity you can.  

Thank you!
George McClain (Rev. Dr.)
MFSA Executive Director Emeritus

MIGRANT JUSTICE AND BEN & JERRY’S REACH GROUNDBREAKING AGREEMENT TO IMPLEMENT NEW, TRANSFORMATIVE WORKER-LED LABOR INITIATIVE IN DAIRY INDUSTRY

October 18th, 2017

Burlington, VT—October 3, 2017

Ben & Jerry’s and Migrant Justice have reached an historic agreement to implement the worker-driven Milk with Dignity (MD) Program in Ben & Jerry’s Northeast dairy supply chain.  Over the past two years, the parties have worked tirelessly to accomplish their shared goal to bring together farmworkers, farmers, and dairy buyers to ensure just and dignified working conditions in Ben & Jerry’s northeast dairy supply chain. Now, farmworkers and Ben & Jerry’s are ready to go, pivoting to a new partnership to implement this groundbreaking, worker-led initiative. Work will begin this fall on a multi-year plan with the goal of eventually sourcing 100% of Ben & Jerry’s milk through the MD Program and a holistic dairy program that addresses all key aspects of dairy farming.

Migrant Justice’s Milk with Dignity Program, modeled after the world-renowned Fair Food Program, enlists the resources of food industry leaders, such as Ben & Jerry’s, to provide a premium for dairy ingredients to participating farmers who agree to work towards compliance with the labor standards in the Milk with Dignity Code of Conduct. The premium paid to farmers helps offset farms’ costs of compliance with the Code, rewards farms that comply, and allows farmers to pass-through a portion of the premium as a bonus paid to workers. In the Milk with Dignity Program, compliance on the farm is achieved through a unique partnership and problem-solving approach among farmers, farmworkers, and the Milk with Dignity Standards Council (MDSC). The MDSC is an independent non-profit that works with farmers and farmworkers to understand, participate in, and achieve compliance with labor standards in the Code. 

 

A group of farmworkers, supporters and Ben & Jerry’s employees stood outside the company’s flagship store on Vermont’s iconic Church Street, where farmworker organizer and former dairy worker Enrique Balcazar shared, “This is an historic day for dairy workers. We have worked tirelessly to get here, and now, we move forward towards a new day for us dairy workers.  This is a huge step forward for us and for all workers and we appreciate that Ben & Jerry’s has taken a leadership role to source its milk in a way that improves working and housing conditions on dairy farms.”

“This is a ground breaking, historic moment not only for two organizations, but most importantly for the hard working dairy farm workers who are a critical part of our community.” Solheim acknowledged how key the farmers and cooperative are to making the next steps of program implementation possible, sharing that this program will result in a win-win for all involved. “Vermont’s farmers can continue to set the tone for the dairy industry. Today, whether it is for animal care, environmentally sound operations, and now, enhanced labor practices, Vermont’s farming community will continue to lead the nation. We are proud of our partnership with the St. Albans Cooperative and these farmers have our full commitment. We recognize the many challenges facing the Vermont dairy farmers today, and we need to do what we can collectively to support the farmers moving forward. We can’t do this without them.”

Both organizations put pen to paper at the Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop in their shared hometown of Burlington, Vermont. The plan now is to put the buyer’s agreement into practice by recruiting farmers from St. Albans Cooperative to join the Program as soon as possible.  Ben & Jerry’s has committed to work towards the goal of sourcing 100% of its dairy ingredients through the Milk with Dignity Program over a period of years.  Moving forward, The MD Program will be one of the focused “pillars” of Ben & Jerry’s new dairy sourcing to address the full farm ecosystem.

For more information about Migrant Justice, Milk with Dignity, or Ben & Jerry’s follow the links below:

Migrant Justice: http://migrantjustice.net/

Milk with Dignity:https://migrantjustice.net/milk-with-dignity

Ben & Jerry’s:www.benjerry.com/

About Migrant Justice
Our mission is to build the voice, capacity, and power of the farmworker community and engage community partners to organize for economic justice and human rights. We gather the farmworker community to discuss and analyze shared problems and to envision collective solutions. Through this ongoing investment in leadership development, members deepen their skills in community education and organizing for long-term systemic change. From this basis our members have defined community problems as a denial of rights and dignity and have prioritized building a movement to secure these fundamental human rights to: 1) Dignified Work and Quality Housing; 2) Freedom of Movement and Access to Transportation; 3) Freedom from discrimination; 4) Access to Health Care.

October 18th, 2017

Connect, Engage, Grow!

By Rev. JanJay Innis

I had just graduated from Seminary. Unlike many of my peers who knew what iteration of ministry they were called to, I was uncertain. However, learning about God's preferential treatment for the poor and marginalized had transformed me and I wanted to use my faith to help repair the world.  Still uncertain about what I wanted to do with my theological degree, I became a missionary to have a nuanced understanding of how the church could better connect with society and facilitate social change on micro and meso and macro levels.

I applied for young adult mission service with Global Ministries wanting to serve in Liberia where I am originally from, but God called me to serve in the United States where I'd been living for more than half of my life. I was led to the understanding that though the US and western European countries had been at the forefront of sending missionaries to third world countries in the 21st century in attempts to Christianize them, mission had to be more about working together to restore a world broken and divided because of the failure to see all persons in the image of God and bearing gifts to bring about the changes they needed. Such ideologies had caused many social ills that led to vulnerable populations working tirelessly to survive while greed , prejudice and misused power stratified a privileged few  to the top in the name of upward mobility. The US is an eternal case study for said problems and persons of faith need to be at the full front, speaking truth to power and seeking justice with the marginalized . I'd been shaped by US politics and policies whether I was aware of it or not. So, I trained for and became a US-2 missionary to utilize my right as a citizen to shift the nation's consciousness and actions to what was right in the ways I was capable of . I became a Social Justice Advocate at Tacoma Community House in Tacoma, Washington. There, I told the success stories of Refugees and Immigrants in efforts to help transform the anti-immigrant sentiments and narratives that were circulating around the country. I helped break down policies that were pertinent to the lives of refugees and immigrants to a basic level of understanding and coordinated self advocacy visits for them at the state level. I also led voter registration campaigns encouraging newly naturalized citizens to register to vote. In addition, as social media exposed racial violence across the country, I found myself deeply committed to anti-racism work as a self interest but also as a way to open up candid dialogues in the church about America's original sin of racism.  

With faith being the primary lens through which I read the world, my theological education gave me the theory to connect  my faith to justice work and my time as a US-2 gave me the opportunity live out this theory in practice. I am currently 3 months into my first appointment as a pastor in a multicultural community where on any given day of the week, people walk into the church needing food, jobs or a shelter because they are victims of human trafficking. I am overwhelmed by the experiences thus far but I know with God's help, I have been able to connect them to resources they need and motivate the church to assist and love towards solutions to some of the problems because mission work has taught me how to do that. 

If you're a young adult between the ages of 20-30 or know such a person with a heart that is equally passionate for the abundant living of people as well as their faith,  know that the two can intersect and can be applied to all areas of interest and skill sets. Explore those intersections by applying to become Global Mission Fellow!

Rev. JanJay Innis serves as a clergyperson in the North Georgia Annual Conference and is a member of the MFSA Board of Directors. 

Muted Mic: Unheard Voices of the Connection

August 30th, 2017

Albert Longe Otshudi

On several occasions I have heard people from across the United Methodist connection complain about the silence of people from outside the United States of America, ascribing them a tag of being complicit to one side of the debate. I always respond in an inquisitive manner, do you want them to speak because you trust they have valuable contribution to the discussion, or you want numerical/artificial image of diversity. At times it doesn’t go well with some but I have learnt to extend my response by looking at limiting factors that make it difficult to have other voices heard, at times people are given microphones that are muted.

As someone who has lived in different contexts, the conclusion is easy to make, the system formally and informally limits the participation of people from outside the United States for two basic reasons, language and structure of conversations.

We are a global church which is predominantly English, with the membership increase in non-English speaking communities, we are called to be intentional about the language used in our discussions. The Book of Discipline which is our reference book as a denomination is still in English and it’s the only authoritative version. I wonder if congregations in rural Angola, D R Congo or Cote d’Ivoire where there is rapid growth would afford a translator to explain the content of the document, the long-term effects of this is that some members of the connection are left behind and are limited in their ability to effectively contribute to critical discussions of the church. What if we made it a priority that all official documents and communications of the church are translated to the main languages used in the denomination such as French, Portuguese, Swahili, Spanish and Filipino, and released at the same time with the English version. I’m sure it would set the pace for active participation of all people in major discussions related to the church.

As an African, one has to break some cultural norms to fit into the conversation techniques used in the western world, one that is extroverted, taking sides, immediate reaction to the views of others and voting on things that at times do not need to be voted on. We may not say it but at times we are uncomfortable and decide to simply observe in the interest of peace. Different cultural settings imply different norms on how conversations are held, and in my African context the norms are clear, you don’t openly argue with elders, they may be wrong but we approach them at a personal level to continue the conversation. We try to not make/take things personal, trusting that we are engaged in the conversation in good faith to learn from each other, being challenged and listening to everyone, not wanting to get it our way but prioritizing the collective goodness. But those norms are somehow at odds when the dominant groups at times isn’t prepared to step back and appreciate the wisdom coming out of the cultural experiences of others. In as much as friends in the western world are accustomed to different conversation techniques, is it not time to step back and allow ourselves to not just hear and react, but listen and accept that when we take everything personal, we shut others and limit their ability to contribute, not that issues being discussed do not affect us at a personal level but accommodating cultural differences is imperative to resolving the challenges our church and society face, for there is wisdom and experience across the aisle.

Times may be hard, we hold convictions deemed absolute and view the world through lens created by some within our communities, but out of difficult times emerge opportunities to question the path we are on. As a global church we are invited to look beyond our individual worldview and take a step towards vulnerability, inviting those whose mic have been muted to partake in the table of grace, shared for the transformation of the world. 

Albert Longe Otshudi  
Albert is a member of the West Congo Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church , currently based in the US. An Africa University graduate, former young adult Missionary and organizer of the General Board of Church and Society. 

A Word from Lancaster

August 17th, 2017

July 2016

Beloved MFSA Family,

Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. was my neighbor in White Plains, NY on November 19, 2011. Mr. Chamberlain was a 68 year old African American Marine Corps Veteran. He was in his own home. He accidentally triggered his medical alert button given to him by his family for his protection. The police responded to the alarm presumably to check on his safety. Mr. Chamberlain assured the officers he was fine and that setting off his alarm was an accident. They would not accept his word and refused to leave. After some time the officers broke through his door, called out to him using a racial slur and shot him dead. In his own home. On that November night while my husband and I slept a few blocks away, the very officers sworn to protect and serve me, robbed my neighbor of a life well loved. It was my neighborhood, my neighbor and my police. 


Thursday night, I joined more than a thousand of my neighbors, colleagues and friends for a march and then vigil at my home church, Arch Street UMC in Philadelphia, PA. Many were delegates to the African Methodist Episcopal Church General Conference meeting across the street from our church. It was standing room only. We called as an interfaith multi-ethnic community for the end to racist police violence. One of the speakers, an AME bishop declared: “we talk about terrorism in Istanbul, Turkey, Belgium and Paris, France but, what the media fails to report is we’ve been dealing with terrorism for years in Ferguson, Baton Rouge and Minnesota.” We sang, we prayed, we preached, we wept, we were angry, we refused to be silenced.

Philadelphia is my home now and the home of Old St. George’s UMC and Mother Bethel AMEC. Old St. George’s is the congregation where Rev. Richard Allen and several black members were denied participation during a prayer service more than 200 years ago. Philadelphia is the city that birthed the African Methodist Episcopal Church.  It’s the birthplace of Methodist racism. Today Arch Street UMC organizes with Mother Bethel AME in an interfaith community organizing network called POWER. We walk side by side and struggle together for change. 


This week United Methodists in the United States will gather in jurisdictions to elect our episcopal leaders. Jurisdictions were formed in 1939 as a way to establish a separate structure for African American churches and church leaders and in doing so created the Central Jurisdiction. The Central Jurisdiction was eliminated in the 1968 merger forming the United Methodist Church but, it didn’t wipe out the racism woven into the very fabric of our denominational structure.

Audre Lorde once said: “ The master’s tools will never dismantle the master's house.” We need a new narrative and a new structure.  More importantly we need a new set of tools for us to build new houses.  The racism within our houses of worship, our houses of government and even the houses our movements reside within cannot be dismantled with the same tools we’ve used for centuries. It’s time to have a new conversation. A conversation that looks within our own movement first at the ways we continue to perpetuate a racist system. Only then will we be able to build a new house, one where the beloved community can call home. 

Will you join me?

Deaconess Darlene DiDomineck
Interim Executive Director

Johnson Amendment

June 8th, 2017

Johnson Amendment

The Johnson Amendment serves as a shield preventing political campaigns from entering into the pulpit. It also prevents tax-deductible donations to houses of worship from being routed directly to political candidates. In May the President signed an executive order that threatens to dismantle the Johnson Amendment. We believe that true religious liberty respects individuals, supports the common good, and reflects the foundational principles of our nation. Separation of church and state as well as religious freedom grounded in the rights of individuals to exercise their beliefs without being imposed upon by the government are cornerstones of our democracy and the Johnson Amendment works to maintain that critical barrier and as such it should not be weakened or eliminated.

MFSA Responds to the Judicial Council Decisions

May 4th, 2017

Beloved Justice-Seekers,

Led by the United Methodist Queer Clergy Caucus, MFSA along with hundreds of Justice Seeking United Methodists gathered in Newark, NJ last week to bear witness to love at the Judicial Council hearing. We prayed together, we sang together, and we broke holy bread together.  We called into existence a United Methodist Church that more fully reflects the grace-filled, hope-driven, justice-seeking, love-centered kin-dom of God. 

We encountered a Judicial Council that more fully reflects an empire than the kin-dom of God. Heavily guarded by uniformed security, we experienced a Judicial Council and, therefore, institutional church that feels the need to be protected against the most vulnerable – centurions who were guarding the powers and principalities to protect order rather than protecting the vulnerable to build the beloved community as the family of God.

Their resulting decisions had the opportunity to reflect that beautiful beloved community to which we are called. Instead, their rulings more fully reflected the empire they so fearfully protect. In the words of the United Methodist Queer Clergy Caucus“These decisions will further harm us, our families, the faith communities we serve, the wider LGBTQI community and our allies, but we trust in God's grace and love, and shall remain in solidarity with one another as members of the Body of Christ. These decisions do not negate our call to ordained ministry nor our desire to serve God.” We continue to stand alongside our partners in justice seeking in the belief “that The United Methodist Church can truly embody God’s love, peace, and justice. We continue to affirm our commitment to love of God and neighbor, to lives of ministry and service, and to the ongoing work of seeking justice and freedom for all of God’s children.”

A part of this ongoing work is to engage in an expanded conversation on sexual ethics in the church. Many of us live in contexts in which vulnerable people like women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA)  people are protected by anti-discrimination laws and policies prohibiting sexual harassment. In these Judicial Council rulings, our church’s shame is made clear: Instead of protecting the vulnerable, we hide behind religious exemptions to promote regressive cultural stereotypes and traditions that harm and humiliate vulnerable groups within our family. Using marriage licenses as weapons, asking people about consensual genital contact, and reducing families and relationships to sexual acts within the context of professional evaluation is an embarrassment, an injustice, and absolutely contrary to the inclusive, table-turning gospel of Jesus Christ. We call on our partners, congregations, annual conferences, boards of ordained ministry, and bishops to join us in refusing to follow these unjust and shameful laws. We call upon General Conference to pass justice-seeking legislation that reflects the humanity in each of us and ends our sinful discrimination against LGBTQIA people. We call upon the whole church to engage in a mature and faithful dialogue about sexual ethics centered on the Christian values of love, equity, and protection for the vulnerable and oppressed.

We will continue our legacy of calling into existence a United Methodist Church that more fully reflects the grace-filled, hope-driven, justice-seeking, and love-centered kin-dom of God. We invite you to join us in making this sacred change a reality.

Centered in Love,

The Staff and Board of Directors

Methodist Federation for Social Action

Easter People, Raise Your Voices

April 19th, 2017

Dear Justice-Seeking People of Faith,

This week, we celebrate the triumph of love over hate and the assurance that God can heal even the most shameful and harmful violence. It is our faith in this week’s revolutionary resurrection that will guide us through the struggles of next week, whenthe Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church (our highest legal body) will gather in Newark, New Jersey to hear several cases involving our denomination’s discrimination against LGBTQIA persons. 

In weeks like this, the Methodist Federation for Social Action strives to be intentional about asking the question, “To whom are we accountable?” We believe it is our sacred duty to ask those who are most vulnerable and most affected by our work to hold us most accountable. That is why, in this moment, we are encouraging our constituents to look to LGBTQIA people themselves as you consider what actions you might take to respond to next week’s hearings. Be in prayer for your family and friends who identify as LGBTQIA. Hold up to God those young people sitting in United Methodist pews, wondering if there is a place for them in the house of the Lord. Carry in your hearts those LGBTQIA kids who are living hard and dangerous lives on the streets of our cities because they have been rejected by their families in the name of religion. And, especially as the Judicial Council hears cases personally related to the ordination and consecration of LGBTQIA leaders in our denomination, do take time this week to meditate on the whole lives and ministries of our LGBTQIA clergy, those 170 clergy from 26 annual conferences who have joined the #CalledOut movement to publicly identify as LGBTQIA as well as those who are in spiritual and material situations that keep them from taking such a public stand.

As an organization, we are wholly supporting the work of the newly formed Queer Clergy Caucus and we encourage you to do the same. We stand in solidarity with theirpublic letter in advance of the Judicial Council hearings. MFSA is also collecting financial offerings on behalf of the caucus to assist their members in traveling to the Judicial Council hearings to make a visible and public witness to the harm done when their rich and faithful lives of relationship and ministry are reduced to sexual acts and dragged through a mud of legal definition in front of the world. In a denomination that frequently talks about LGBTQIA people without including them, we will strive to do all we can to support the Queer Clergy Caucus and their allies in being unmistakably present at the site of debate that directly affects their lives. 

 
We ask you to join us in this support and solidarity by:

  1. Reading and sharing the public letter of the Queer Clergy Caucus. Consider adding your name in support of this letter here.
  2. Making an effort to be present in Newark for the Judicial Council Hearings April 25-28. You can register your desire to participate in the physical witness onApril 25 here.
  3. Offering a financial gift for the witness of the Queer Clergy on our donate page. Please make a note in the “tribute” box to “Queer Clergy Witness.” 
  4. Posting a photo of you proudly wearing your #CalledOut solidarity t-shirtnext week and/or changing your profile picture to include a selfie of you wearing it.
Through these efforts, we hope to be a witness that God’s resurrection word is true and that, though harm is being done this day, we live boldly in the faith that love will win the victory.

Seeking Justice Together,
The Staff and Board of Directors
Methodist Federation for Social Action

Spring 2017 Board of Directors Update!

March 20th, 2017
Watch a video update from the Co-Chairs of our Board of Directors: Spring 2017 Board of Directors Update
 
Dear Justice Seeking People of Faith,
 
This weekend the MFSA Board of Directors met and we want to share with you a little bit about what we’ve been up to!
 
MFSA adopted an Intersectional Organizing Principle in 2015. As Audre Lorde says, “There’s no such thing as a single issue struggle because we don’t live single issue lives.” We understand intersectionality to mean we recognize that all forms of oppression are interconnected, and we have to work for liberation for everyone simultaneously.
 
So we committed to intersectionality in 2015, and in 2016 at General Conference, in response to incidents of racism, we released a statement confessing and condemning the sin of systemic racism within our church and progressive movement. 
 
That day, we committed to increase racial diversity among our leadership and to educate ourselves about anti-racism, bias, and white privilege.
 
Since then, recent events in our nation have reminded us that white dominant institutions (like the United Methodist Church and the progressive movement!) have consistently chosen to ignore the continued reality and consequences of white supremacy in our society.
 
All of that brings us to this snowy weekend outside of Philadelphia, where our board met with facilitators from Crossroads Anti-Racism Organizing & Training to explore together the history of systemic racism in the United States and how, if we’re not intentional about living differently, we will continue to perpetuate the white supremacy that builds the foundation of our nation.
 
We started out our weekend together grounding ourselves in scripture—stories of Jesus the rebel, tearing apart structures of domination, and stories of Jesus the revolutionary, building communities grounded in revolutionary values of radical hospitality, fierce love, and enduring hope. 
 
Then we did the hard work of self reflection and analysis about where white supremacy and racism show up in our own organization and that it’s not enough to just value diversity. The only way to be faithful followers of Jesus, the rebel and revolutionary, is to resist and dismantle white supremacy by building anti-racist communities. And that’s what we’ve begun to do.
 
This commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization requires us to be really intentional about how we understand leadership. Last year, we made a strategic decision to hire Deaconess Darlene DiDomineck as a full-time intentional interim executive director to partner with us on this journey. And we look forward to taking this year to discern what kind of staffing model will allow us to take this transformative step. 
 
So stay tuned. Follow us on Facebook. We’ll be sharing resources and opportunities to learn and be a part of this work.
 
Seeking Justice Together,
Co-Presidents, MFSA Board of Directors

In This Moment…

January 30th, 2017
Beloved Justice Seekers,
        
In this moment, it is hard to not let darkness of despair and fear overcome Epiphany's light. There are days when it seems that we are in a perpetual state of lent – lamenting the realities we are facing with the new presidential administration. I think back to hearing the news of our presidential election. I spent the days following that news at Facing Race, the largest conference focused in racial justice, surrounded by thousands of folks dedicated to seeking justice. Over the past few days I've surrounded myself with thousands of queer and trans people organizing, dreaming, and resisting together. I can't think of a better place to be in light of what was happening and is continuing to happen in our nation. 

As I prepare for what lies ahead and the paths of resistance we will each walk, I'm grounded in the thought that our priority must be to care for our bodies and each other. We do not have to lean into platitudes of unity at the sake of our own sacred worth. Our fundamental desire to thrive and the vows we take at our baptism call us to look inward, resist injustice, and serve all! We commit to our own personal rejection of the evil powers of this world, accept the freedom and power God gives us to resist, and finally put our trust in Christ promising to serve a church for all people. As we step into this new season our welcome must be intended for those pushed from the center – the source of privilege – in our communities. We must resist the ways we are complacent in maintaining privilege. We must bring others along with us in this struggle. 

From our earliest days, the Methodist Federation for Social Action identified as a movement energizing people to be agents of sacred change in the church and the world. We believe that the root of justice lies within people of faith in grassroots communities called to engage in collective liberation. It requires storied relationships, resilience in the midst of oppression, and resistance to all that stands in the way of love. Our intersectional lens reminds us of the words of Methodist and civil rights leader, Fannie Lou Hamer, who said: “nobody’s free until everybody’s free.” Our lived experience tells us sacred change is only possible in a movement that is boundary breaking and refuses to be silenced by the powers and principalities of our day. 

Your partnership in this movement has made and continues to make sacred change possible each and every day. We have faced difficult days in the history of our movement. We stood up and resisted when the church refused to integrate, we stood up and resisted when the government used fear to attempt to silence us in the McCarthy era, we stood up and resisted when the church said no to women’s ordination, we stood up and resisted when the government said no to women's suffrage, we stood up and resisted dangerous child labor practices. Our legacy of resistance is faithfully long. We will continue our legacy of standing up and resisting. No matter whom the powers and principalities are we will accept the freedom and power God gives us to resist evil, injustice, and oppression. 

In order to do so we need your help. In the coming year we need to increase our staff to increase our capacity to resist. Please consider making a donation to the Methodist Federation for Social Action today to help us continue our legacy of resistance.

It is our commitment to faithfully look within ourselves, our movement, and our world to renounce the wickedness we perpetuate, to resist the injustice in our world, to trust in God’s grace and to serve Christ through a church open to ALL people. Will you join me in making sacred change possible with a gift to MFSA!

Seeking justice,
Joseph Lopez
He, Him, His
Nominations and Governance Co-Chair
Board of Directors
 

 
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