A Commitment from the MFSA National Board

posted on August 25

Dismantling the Sin of Racism and White Supremacy: 
A Commitment from the MFSA Board of Directors

Methodist Federation for Social Action is committed to dismantling the sin of racism and white supremacy.  We have vowed to you to hold ourselves accountable when we fail to fully live into this commitment.

White members of the board of directors write to you to publicly repent for the ways we have been complicit in failing to interrupt white supremacy, even within our own organization.  MFSA received feedback from within our own leadership that we have failed to be obedient to our highest ideals.  We are sorry and we will do better.  We commit ourselves to do whatever is necessary to repair the harm we have inflicted and reorganize ourselves and our priorities to do the work of dismantling white supremacy.

Like The United Methodist Church, MFSA is white-dominated and white-centered.  This sin will only end after very intentional changes in behavior institutionally and personally.  We call on all MFSA communities to join us taking the necessary steps to repair the brokenness caused by generations of harm.  It is our collective responsibility and call.  We continue to commit to these values and seek to be transparent in our learnings and growings in ways that help our movement, church, and world to make real change.

We will continue to make mistakes.  However, we believe that the fear of making mistakes should not hold us back from taking a close look at ourselves, our practices, and the ways we show up.  We commit to seeking ways to show our commitment through our actions and welcome feedback and conversation.  Our belief that intersectional justice must do the hard work of hearing all voices remains strong.

All members of the MFSA board of directors continue to affirm and believe in the leadership of Bridget Cabrera as our executive director and we are grateful for her leadership during this difficult season.  We recognize that, as a queer woman of color, she has experienced much of the harm we seek to repair, even as she leads us.  We also acknowledge a similar heaviness and pain experienced by people of color on our board and in our organization, and with our coalition partners.  We board members who identify as white are growing in our awareness of how our whiteness has reinforced this harm and we vow to show up in greater ways to shoulder the weight of our responsibility.

Now is the time to work on putting into action the change we have talked about and hope for.  We call on all MFSA communities and members (regional and congregational), all Justice Seeking United Methodists, and all white-dominated congregations and organizations to join us.  MFSA’s 110-year history is one of responding to society’s challenges and challenging the UMC to live up to God’s call – we must now refine that for a new century.  You will hear more from us as we continue to hold ourselves accountable to people of color-led partners and most impacted communities on all of our justice-seeking efforts.

In full transparency, please read the words of our departing board chairs.  We are grateful for Lydia’s and Amy’s service and we will work to live into the organization they hoped us to be.

Sincerely,

MFSA Board of Directors

Rev. Adrienne Brewington
Rev. Stephen Griffith
Rev. George McClain
Rev. Karen Nelson
Rev. Andy Oliver
Paloma Rodriguez-Rivera
Rev. Luonne Rouse
Rev. Josh Steward
Pat Stewart
Rev. Mary Kay Totty
Cynthia Tuell
Bill Watts

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