Posts Tagged ‘reproductive choice’

In This Moment…

Monday, 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
 

 

Press Release: Reproductive Health & Justice Faith Action Network

Thursday, September 29th, 2016
MFSA Board of Directors announces new Faith Action Network focusing on reproductive health, justice and choice. 
 

September 29, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Deaconess Darlene DiDomineck, Interim Executive Director; Irene DeMaris, Chair, Reproductive Health & Justice Faith Action Network

Washington, DC – The Board of Directors of the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) announced this week they have approved the formation of the first Reproductive Health & Justice Faith Action Network (FAN). This Faith Action Network is a way for United Methodist advocates for reproductive health, choice and justice to connect, stay informed and organize for change within our denomination and at local, state and national levels. 

This new Faith Action Network will be led by Irene DeMaris, MDIV who is a long time advocate for gender justice through a faith lens and previously served with MFSA as a seminary intern focusing on reproductive justice. DeMaris shares: “It’s more important than ever to begin this work for women and girls from a faith perspective. Our Wesleyan Heritage of social justice and our historic leadership of the Social Gospel Movement require us to take action, to stand with those who are oppressed. Having no United Methodist voice at the table for all parts of women's health, choice, and justice is dangerous.The MFSA has been walking with women from our founding and today, we further affirm that commitment through the creation of our Reproductive Health & Justice FAN!”

The 2016 General Conference of The United Methodist Church, instructed official United Methodist agencies including the General Board of Church and Society and United Methodist Women to withdraw immediately from membership in the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC). This ended the denomination’s over 40-year relationship with the coalition, of which The United Methodist Church (UMC) was a founding member. As the remaining United Methodist voice, theMethodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) must further our commitment to reproductive health, choice, and justice both within our denomination and at local, state, and national levels. For the first time since the 1970s, the MFSA voice is positioned to be the strongest United Methodist voice at the table for a women’s right to choose and the time is now for the MFSA and its supporters to be prophetic for women’s reproductive health. After General Conference 2016, many women and those who advocate for women’s health were utterly dismayed. This Faith Action Network will empower United Methodist advocates to be a collective voice for change. 

Ways to get involved:

Donate Today
 
 

Reflecting on Roe and Faith

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

            what’s the greatest lesson a woman should learn?

that since day one, she’s already had everything

she needs within herself. it’s the world that

convinced her she did not.

-          rupi kaur

 

Rupi Kaur, a Toronto based writer, describes herself as a, “poetress and a spoken word performer.” Her poems from her first book, milk and honey, speak of survival, womanhood, abuse, love, and loss. Kaur’s words, here, remind me that women are resilient and that we should look to ourselves to find confidence, determination, strength and inner faith. From these traits, comes a sense of autonomy.

The anniversary of Roe v. Wade was Friday, January 22nd, celebrating the landmark decision by the Supreme Court that all women have the right to privacy when making a decision to have an abortion. This is why Kaur’s indication of women’s autonomy stuck out to me this past week. In the context of her poem, that we not only have confidence and strength, but inner faith as well, I recognize, and have for years, that I am a person of faith who supports reproductive rights and the moral agency of women to make decisions for themselves.

I was inspired by faith-based values that we have a right to take care of our own bodies. We must remember, though, that not all bodies are the same and not all situations are the same. We are on our own distinct journeys. Because of that, there isn’t one particular, right way of how we should take care of ourselves. This is why I believe women should have the right to make their own individual decisions with what they want to do with their bodies when it comes to reproductive rights.

Reproductive rights aren’t only concerned with the decision of whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. Reproductive rights involve the right to plan a family, the right to use contraceptives, the right to have sex education in public schools, and the right to gain access to reproductive services. In order to make decisions for our precious bodies, we need to understand our own sexual lives and the rights that we should be given without question. We should have access to sex education and reproductive health and should know the resources to be able to make our own informed choices. I believe that the best place to discuss such rights should be within our faith communities because this is where we learn what values are, what is good, what is sacred, and what is safe. My faith helps guide me to make decisions about my body because I know that I have it within myself to make the right decisions.

My faith and faith community give me guidance when making any tough decisions. They give me strength. My faith, experiences as a woman and experiences by observing other women's journeys, has taught me that everyone should be respected and, therefore, that all women should be respected. We should help guide each other in times of need, and care for each other like we would like to be cared for. In other words, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” As Rupi Kaur so beautifully puts it, women have what they need within themselves, which is why I support reproductive rights and the moral agency of women to make decisions for themselves.

———————————————————————————————————-

 

Amy Pettigrew is an Intern for the Methodist Federation for Social Action in Washington, DC. She is from Appleton, Wisconsin where she graduated from Lawrence University in June of 2015 with degrees in psychology and women's studies.

The Pope and a Protestant

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

As I queued up outside The White House at 6am yesterday morning, I couldn't help ask again and again “Why is this queer, pro-choice, Protestant showing up to see the Pope?”

Looking around at my companions snaking our way toward the entrance as the sun rose over the District, I knew why I was there. Men and women in uniform, priests in cassocks and collars, Sikh men wearing turbans, school children and young adults, and LBGTQ political and religious leaders – all of us together to make our way to the South Lawn for such an historic moment. In that moment of epiphany the differences among us, while important, melted for just a few moments of awe and reverence. And in some small way, it wasn't about us seeing the Pope, but the Pope seeing us.

From the moment he emerged from his Fiat (Latin nerds, I know you get the inside joke here) until he waved to onlookers from The White House balcony, Francis embodied to humility we have come to know during his time as Pope. In a few brief moments, he spoke of inclusion and justice, religious freedom, safeguarding the poor, caring for the Earth. Francis framed his comments in theological terms, calling for common values to pervade the public sphere and to see one another as created in the image of God. While my experience and perspective might bring me to a different conclusion on major theological concerns (specifically LGBTQ and reproductive justice), Pope Francis’ grounding in the concept of imago Dei is one that crosses boundaries.

This isn't to say that the Pope’s visit to America isn't fraught with concern. From the canonization of Junipero Serra, a Spanish missionary who led the genocide of Native tribes in 18th century California, to the displacement of hundreds of homeless persons along Philadelphia’s Parkway, the Pope’s message of justice and compassion come with complex messages.  This morning, I'll be joining other faithful people (and those of no faith at all) for a Moral Rally on Climate Change. And I'm clear that concerns about climate change must also intersect with concerns about poverty, war, racism, colonialism, and reproductive health, choice, and justice. I'm also clear that Pope Francis is a strong voice for justice and mercy to Catholics and non-Catholics alike– both in America and across the globe. I look forward to hearing his remarks to Congress, not because I believe he will impart some political zinger, but because he seeks to be pastoral to other spiritual and temporal leaders. Such pastoral care breaks through the dichotomies of Catholic vs. Protestant, Christian vs. non-Christian, Conservative v. Liberal, and creates a space where faith and values undergird how we engage lives of public service.

As Pope Francis continues his time in DC and the remainder of his time in North America, I pray continued safety, clarity, and boldness. And I pray the same for each of us, created in the imago Dei,  as well.

——————————————————————————————————–

Chett Pritchett is Executive Director of the Methodist Federation for Social Action. He is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College and Wesley Theological Seminary, and is a member at Dumbarton UMC in Washington, DC.

National Office:212 East Capitol St., NE,Washington, DC 20003 * tel: 202.546.8806 *email: mfsa@mfsaweb.org