MFSA Statement on the 2019 General Conference
posted on December 06
At our recent National Board meeting in Detroit, Rev. George McClain, who led the Methodist Federation for Social Action for 25 years beginning in 1973, reminded us of a subtle addition that a previous generation had made to the MFSA logo—a thin arc that runs through its bold letters. That arc, George reminded us, refers to a well-known quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." That arc serves as a reminder that the work of social change is indeed a process, sometimes a very long process, and justice is not a one-time event.
United Methodists today are rightly educating themselves and debating various plans and legislative possibilities that may unfold in February in St. Louis. MFSA is a supportive member and fiscal sponsor of the Love Your Neighbor Coalition (LYNC). Our members and resources are participating in the critical and hard work of LYNC, creating legislative strategies for the 2019 special called session of General Conference. We know the importance of this legislative moment in the life of the church, and we respect the decisions of some LYNC partners to endorse particular plans. However, the Board of MFSA has made the decision not to make such an endorsement, as we acknowledge that the passage of any of the proposed plans does not bring justice for our LGBTQIA children, siblings, parents, pastors, and selves.
We have prayerfully discerned that The Federation's focus at this moment is not on one plan but rather on working with the Coalition to seek unity in the church through just and equitable relationships. In the words of the angel, "Nothing will be impossible with God!" (Luke 1:37) We know that sustainable change and unity is possible, but it comes only through deepening relationships, uncomfortable conversations, friendships across difference, continued spiritual grounding, prayers offered for our "enemies", and individual transformation of ourselves and others. As MFSA's logo reminds us, we are committed to being a plumbline (Amos 7:8) in the midst of decisions regarding any restructuring of the church and reallocation of institutional resources, as these activities almost always disproportionately affect non-white, non-U.S., and economically disadvantaged members of the connection.
Thus, as we prepare ourselves for every possible outcome in February, we encourage justice-seeking United Methodists to deepen strategic relationships that will sustain our movement for and far beyond the 2019 General Conference by:
Increasing your connection and accountability to people who are most marginalized, especially your LGBTQIA siblings/selves, communities of color, and non-U.S. citizens.
Becoming a Love Your Neighbor Coalition volunteer for the 2019 General Conference.
Deepening your commitment to the progressive United Methodist movement through MFSA by…
Seeking Justice Together,
Bridget Cabrera, Executive Director
Rev. Vicki Flippin, Co-Chair Board of Directors
Rev. Amy Stapleton, Co-Chair Board of Directors