How to Use This Issue (January 2016)

NYE_gigi_nycI used to stay up for the New Year’s Eve countdown. After all, I love a party. But this year, I am sleeping.

I want to save my energy for another party. Did you follow news of the 2015 National Seminar this past summer? If not (or if so), this issue of response helps make you feel as if you were there. This issue also can be used for creating your own National Seminar party.

The reason for a National Seminar party? Justice for all God’s children. Read “The Fullness of Life,” by Mai Anh Le Tran from pages 8 to 12. This in-depth study teaches you how to protest and also find a peaceful path. You’ll love reading about the theory of leaders as “equilibrium busters” who have a willingness to engage in creative chaos for the good of the community.

Consider inviting beloved justice advocates to your party. Invite women like those who spoke during a panel on mass incarceration, featured in “Mobilizing Against Social Injustice” by Chicago reporter Michael Joyce who attended the United Methodist Women sponsored town hall—women of different ages and backgrounds and passions and voices all working on ensuring God’s abundance for all.

This is a good opportunity to learn about the focus and the rationale for the upcoming legislation “Criminalization of Communities of Color” being proposed by United Methodist Women at General Conference, the churchwide United Methodist gathering in May 2016. Read the legislation at

This issue can help you understand another piece of United Methodist Women’s General Conference legislation, “Responsible Parenthood.” As an example of our advocacy, check out pages 15 to 16, “Taking a Stand for Children’s Health,” describing how National Seminar attendees stood in solidarity with local hospital workers to keep a children’s hospital open.
Sing a song of love and inclusion at your own National Seminar party as you read Jeanette Huezo’s “The State of Inequality” from pages 38 to 39. Make sure to invite guests from all strata of economic status when you throw a social justice party. If you are looking for an activity, consider writing a skit based on “Little Village, Big Change,” by Kimberly Wasserman, herself a kind of David, slaying a Goliath, the behemoth coal industry. In Ms. Wasserman’s article from pages 40 to 41, learn how she reached out to her neighbors to work together to close down the coal plants making the neighborhood sick. You are among this community of United Methodist Women who cares deeply about economic and environmental issues.

When planning refreshments for your party, remember the hands that grow, make and serve our food. Meet and celebrate one such food service worker, Nataki Rhodes, who describes her path to the American Dream in “Surviving in America” from pages 24 to 25.

No matter the ingredients you choose for your National Seminar soiree, know that you don’t have to stay up past midnight to celebrate a new year of putting faith, hope and love into action. May you find love, support and growth in this new year. I look forward to a new year of celebrating social justice and engaging in creative chaos for the good of the beloved community.

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About mbcoudal

Blogger, humorist, photographer, teacher, workshop leader, and mother of three awesome young adults, caregiver to spouse with Parkinson's Disease Follow @MaryBethC
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