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Everyone will sit under their own vine
    and under their own fig tree,
and no one will make them afraid,
    for the Lord Almighty has spoken.

Micah 4:4

Join the Revolution

We are progressive thinkers, dreamers, innovators, organizers, and leaders, sometimes well received and sometimes apostate, who all share a passion for honesty, inclusion, and justice inside and outside the Church. We dream of a world filled with peace, economic equality, and freedom from the yoke of oppression for ALL people. And when we say ALL we mean ALL. More than anything, we dream of a world filled with love. 

As we see institutional churches falter, we believe it is time for new dreams, new connections, and new leaders. Fig Tree Revolution exists to connect leaders in local churches and communities who have innovative dreams to prophetically speak to injustice in all of society and to mobilize local churches and communities to work together to achieve concrete change alongside those directly impacted by injustice. Wanna change the world? Then join us!

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The Latest Word

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take action

Right now, the House of Representatives is considering legislation that would jeopardize the lives of refugees, immigrants, and other vulnerable populations. President Trump's and the House Appropriations Committee budget proposals would significantly cut funds to serve refugees in the United States and abroad, while also unnecessarily ballooning an already bloated immigration detention and deportation system and further militarizing border communities. As Congress prepares its budget for fiscal year 2018, we have an opportunity to protect the U.S. refugee resettlement program and stop the administration's mass immigration detention and deportation force. 

Sign on today! We are asking faith leaders and faith-based organizations across traditions to stand in solidarity with refugees and immigrants by signing a letter urging our lawmakers enshrine our values of compassion, hospitality, and welcome.

Congress has the "power of the purse" and can protect funding to serve refugees, while standing against increased funding for detention, deportation, and border militarization that tears families and communities apart. As we face the worst displacement crisis in global history with more than 22 million refugees worldwide, now is the time to demonstrate moral leadership and resettle more refugees, not less. We also need our Senators and Representatives to hear from us now!

CALL YOUR SENATORS & REPRESENTATIVES TODAY: 1-866-961-4293
Please call 3 times to connect with your Representative and both of your Senators
Sample Script: “I’m your constituent from [CITY/TOWN], and I urge you to protect refugee assistance and resettlement from the cuts contained in trump’s and the House budget proposals. Please also reduce funding for detention, deportation and border militarization, which only tear families and communities apart. My community welcomes refugees and immigrants, and I urge you to reflect the best of our American values of compassion, hospitality, and welcome.

As people of faith, we are called to love our neighbor, welcome the sojourner, and care for the most vulnerable among us. Right now, we have a moral and legal obligation to ensure all of our neighbors find welcome in their communities. We ask faith leaders and community members to stand up in solidarity with refugees and immigrants.

Sign this letter to oppose massive cuts for programs that help refugees integrate and thrive, and to oppose funding the administration's mass deportation force, for expanded immigration detention, and for border militarization.

Please sign on and make a call to ensure our leaders reflect the best of our nation and carry our proud history of moral leadership.

Thank you for all your work and support!

take action by joining the fig tree revolution!

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the revolutionary leaders

We are a progressive group of innovators, dreamers, thinkers, writers, movement builders, organizers, and activists. Integrity, authenticity, and passion bond us together. We share a passion for seeing justice realized in this world in this lifetime. So, we invite leaders of all faiths, all ages, all sexual orientations, all races, all socio-economic backgrounds to join us because we recognize above all else that we need one another for movements to be built and for a revolution to actually happen. If there is someone you want to connect with to find out more about their ministry or something they have written either leave them a message below or contact them directly. If you are an innovator, dreamer, thinker, writer, movement builder, organizer, or activist, then leave a message below and we will contact you!

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bill mefford

Bill spent over ten years working primarily with United Methodists in building grassroots movements to end mass incarceration, defend and support the rights of immigrants, abolish the death penalty, and end gun violence. For three straight weeks Bill won the prestigious award, "Best Dressed Revolutionary." 

Bill believes that the locus of God's change and transformation in the world is through the local church and ten years working at the national level of the United Methodist Church has only confirmed that. He is passionate about connecting people who have similar passions and visions which drives the very essence of Fig Tree Revolution.

Bill is married to Marti and has two amazing sons, Elisha and Isaiah. Bill is a Cubs and Browns fan so he is intimately acquainted with long-term struggles. You can reach Bill by email, Bill@figtreerevolution.com

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katey zeh

Katey Zeh is an expert in engaging communities of faith in advocacy for gender justice both locally and globally. With a Masters of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, she brings a theologically grounded, pragmatic approach to social change. As a strategist, writer, and educator, Katey inspires intentional communities to create a more just, compassionate world through building connection, sacred truth telling, and striving for the common good.

Katey is a prominent and innovative thinker around faith-based efforts to bring about a more just world for women and girls. In 2010 she launched the first and only denominationally-sponsored advocacy campaign focused on improving global reproductive health for The United Methodist Church. The Center for American Progress named Zeh one of “14 Faith Leaders to Watch in 2014” for “offering crucial reporting on reproductive justice issues… [using] her theological training and policy expertise to decry unfair policies that hurt women and to lift up the stories of those affected.”

A highly sought after speaker on issues related to women and the church, Katey has presented at conferences and events across the country, including the recent Sojourners Summit for Change and the United Methodist Women’s National Seminar.

She has written extensively about global maternal health, family planning, and women’s sacred worth. She has contributed online and print articles to the Huffington Post, Sojourners, Religion Dispatches, Response magazine, the Good Mother Project,Mothering Matters, the Journal for Feminist Studies in Religion, and the United Methodist News Service among other outlets. She is currently working on a book about biblical women and social justice. You can check out Katey's website (www.kateyzeh.com), follower her on Twitter (@kateyzeh), see her on Facebook, or email her.  

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Zach oaster

Zach Oaster is a public sociologist, shepherd, and artisan. He is a full-time graduate student of sociology at Western Michigan University as well as a longtime performer of music and organizer around social justice issues. Fifteen years working in non-profits and churches, seven years in radio, six years on television, and a handful of years in bakeries and kitchens have equipped Zach to be a skilled multi-disciplinary artisan. With his partner Lindsay, they shepherd sheep and engage in local food initiatives.

Zach identifies as a radical queer godless apostate and heretical disaffiliated United Methodist. He prefers masculine pronouns, and has a fabulous talent for writing third person bios.

Zach describes his academic research as, “exploring the conflicts within conservative political and social discourse, revealed at the intersection of neoconservative and neoliberal ideologies – especially as those discourses converge on issues important to the LGBTQIA communities.” Zach also relishes in public social and sociological discourse, curating complex and timely conversations on social media, often confronting Western liberalism from the left.
…Find out more about Zach at www.FatToaster.com, or on Facebook.com/ZachOaster

Rev. anthony everett

"Danny" Anthony Everett is the lead pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church in Lexington, Kentucky.  As a preacher, pastor, public servant, lecturer, and social activist, Everett is a passionate advocate for human rights and issues of social justice. 

Featured in the United Methodist Interpreter Magazine as a criminal justice clergy person, Everett advocates at the local, state, and national levels for sentencing and criminal justice reform legislation.  

Everett holds a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from Paul Quinn College, magna cum laude, and a Master of Divinity degree with Urban Ministry and the National Plan for Hispanic-Latino Ministry Pastor Training Certifications from the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University where he serves as a member of the executive board.

He is a Doctor of Ministry student at United Theological Seminary in the Prophetic Preaching and Praxis focus group. For more information, visit https:goo.gl/g8KNkK.

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rev. lee schott

Lee is pastor of Women at the Well in Mitchellville, a church based inside the walls of the Iowa women’s prison. She has been transformed by her connection with women (criminals!) of amazing resilience, faith and wisdom, as they navigate overwhelming obstacles. She is pursuing a vision of the church outside the prison embracing persons right in their communities who face challenges like the ones we see so often inside the prison:  addiction, mental illness, sexual assault and domestic violence. The church on the whole is impoverished by the absence--and the silence--of those experiences and voices in our midst.

Lee previously served (2003-2011) as co-pastor of Polk City United Methodist Church, a small-town church near the Des Moines metro. A 2007 graduate, with highest honors, of Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri, Lee was ordained an elder in the United Methodist Church in 2009. 

Lee's ministry career follows what she had thought would be a career in law. After college, she went east to Harvard Law School and began her career at a private law firm in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1995 she and her family moved home to Iowa and she worked as an in-house lawyer at a life insurance company. A lifelong United Methodist, she sensed a call from God after she began praying in earnest at the age of nearly 40. Her ministry has combined a delight in the creativity and wonder of worship with a deep commitment to social justice and how we mobilize the church to be a Spirit-led force to transform the world.

Lee resides with her husband on her family’s century farm near Prairie City, Iowa. They are the parents of three sons and a new daughter-in-law. She blogs at leeschott.com.

rev shalom agtarap

Shalom Agtarap is an ordained United Methodist Elder currently serving a multiethnic congregation south of Seattle. She also facilitates work among four churches working to become more multicultural and multiethnic; better representatives of their neighborhoods. 

She is a graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC and her formation as a Christ follower was shaped by the Upper Room's Two-Year Academy for Spiritual Formation. She drinks deeply from the well of guided meditation and spiritual reading but is usually found listening to a podcast on race and politics or gospel music. Or both. 

jason redick

Jason Redick is an activist and organizer in Dallas, Texas who seeks to engage in movements of justice where the Church can claim each Child of God as beloved and valuable.  Ending the death penalty, LGBTQ inclusion and protections (in the Church and world), honest and fair immigration reform, and challenging and dismantling systemic racism and patriarchy are areas Jason is presently active.  

 

 

rev anika jones

Rev. Dr. Anika A. Jones is called by God to help bring about spiritual, physical, and mental healing to persons and communities that are marginalized in our society, particularly those impacted by the criminal justice system. She is the founder and CEO of the Alpha and Omega Society, Inc, a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the needs of women in transition from prison back to society by engaging the faith community through the Women in Transition initiative.  Anika also works with the End Mass Incarceration /Healing Communities Network and serves as a local organizer to engage churches in criminal justice reform. 

Anika is an ordained Deacon in Full Connection in the United Methodist Church, and holds M.Div. and Th.M. degrees from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, an Ed.D. in Mental Health Administration from the University of Massachusetts, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.  Anika is married to Alan D. Jones and they have three adult children and eight grandchildren. 

prison lectionary

Picture by artist CM, it is done in pencil entitled "Drawing of two men - one in prison, one free - both reading Hebrews 10:22-25." Check out more work by CM

Picture by artist CM, it is done in pencil entitled "Drawing of two men - one in prison, one free - both reading Hebrews 10:22-25." Check out more work by CM

PrisonLectionary.net is a virtual space devoted to biblical interpretation by artists and authors incarcerated in the United States. Prison Lectionary provides a forum for the voices of prisoners—who are the most authoritative witnesses to incarceration—and serves as a resource for those who study the Revised Common Lectionary or other Scriptures.  Our hope is that Prison Lectionary will be a point of connection for people without personal knowledge of the crisis of incarceration in the United States. With the Bible as a shared resource, reading and viewing the creative work of prisoners can humanize the abstract issues of criminal justice and dispel harmful misconceptions about prisoners. Thus, our goal is to facilitate a dialogue that privileges the voices of prisoners.  

For more information, please contact Will Andrews at prisonlectionary@outlook.com.

Will Andrews is or has been a father, husband, online Spanish teacher, licensed pastor, interpreter, guitarist, adjunct instructor of Hebrew and religious studies, aspiring biblical scholar, long-term substitute teacher of high school Spanish and algebra, student, plumber’s helper, document translator, prison volunteer in four states, advocate for higher education in prison, and stay-at-home-dad. He enjoys reading, camping, manual typewriters, the smell of old books, Woody Allen films, folk music, and an array of musical instruments he hardly knows how to play.

Will is currently a PhD student in “Bible, Culture, and Hermeneutics” at Chicago Theological Seminary and his research explores reading the Bible with prisoners. Will, his wife Kristin and their son Josiah stay in the historic North Lawndale neighborhood on Chicago’s Westside.

Will is a member of the Illinois Coalition of Higher Education Programs in Prison, chairs the “Prison Literature Session” of the Midwest Modern Language Society, and organizes PrisonLectionary.net.

steve pavey

Steve is a documentary photographer, applied anthropologist and contemplative activist, all of which come together in the vocation of cultivating a way to see, in order to bear witness to the world both as it is, and as it could be. His creative process is deeply shaped by accompanying and being accompanied by humanity living on the margins of empire, documenting and creating images with those shrouded in “otherness” towards the goal of collective action and mutual liberation. Steve’s photography focuses on hope – hope found in the struggle and dignity of becoming more human.

He has worked in nearly 30 countries around the world, most recently in Palestine, Honduras and Mexico. His activism with the undocumented-led struggle for human dignity has grown to include documentary photography with the movement for #BlackLivesMatters, #Not1More Deportation and #FreePalestine among other efforts to struggle against state violence, mass incarceration, criminalizing of the "other", militarization of the police and the securitization of borders.

You can see more of Steve's work at www.stevepavey.com and to get in contact with Steve email him at stephencpavey@gmail.com. Steve works with Hope In Focus, which bears witness to the world as it is and as it could be through activist photography committed to walking alongside the world’s oppressed and marginalized, finding hope together in the collective struggle for human dignity and justice.

Jen Kilps

Jen Kilps has spent her career, her vocation, working for social justice particularly with people living on the margins.  She received her doctorate from St. Mary’s Divinity School at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

Her work there focused on the intersection of religion and politics with special reference to the welcome of refugees by churches in the U.S.  She is influenced by the lives and writing of Br. Jean Vanier, Henri Nowen and Thích Nhất Hạnh.  Currently Jen's interests focus on what could be called the new post-colonialism—a world besieged by “new” old forms of forced migration and manipulation of indigenous peoples.

rev. dr. mindy johnson-hicks

The Reverend Dr. Mindy Johnson-Hicks completed advanced studies in Leadership and Biblical Preaching at Asbury Theological Seminary. Mindy’s leadership course work included church visits in Houston, Cincinnati, Florida, South Korea, London, and Oxford University. She traveled with students from around the world and also shared in a pilgrimage through England examining historic sites connected with United Methodist founder John Wesley. Mindy’s dissertation established that a correlation exists between effective spiritual formation practice and dynamic emotional wellbeing, answering a lifelong question following a childhood diagnosis of PTSD related to familial alcoholism and domestic violence.

Her doctoral course work built upon a foundation of education and service. Her educational foundations derived from her graduate work at Saint Paul School of Theology and undergraduate work at Manhattan Christian College and the University of Alaska. Her foundations in service began as youth minister and then Senior Pastor in the United Methodist Church. Missions work took her to New Orleans, LA, Greensburg, KS, and the Tri-state edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rev. Dr. Johnson-Hicks is currently Executive Pastor to Redemptive Work, www.RedemptiveWork.org, where she has co-authored two books; ‘The Wealth of Poverty’ and ‘A Bias Toward Action’ now available on Amazon. She also proudly serves on the Board of Directors of the New Life Institute. Mindy lives a beautiful life in love with Jesus and with her wife, Amy. Her ministry credential resides in the fellowship of believers in the Church Within a Church, a Methodist related grass roots movement BEing community, faith and justice.

Chris & lara lahr

Chris and Lara Lahr live in Philadelphia, where they raise three daughters. They have been married twenty years, with 17 of them taking place in the city, where they reside. Lara is a community nurse working with babies and mamas in their neighborhood. She is currently going to school to become a midwife. Chris works with a non-profit called Timoteo (www.timoteosports.org). Timoteo is a mentoring program that uses flag football as a means of mentoring urban youth. Timoteo serves over 300 youth in the neighborhood and over 150 adults. The Lahr’s are strong believers that they are called to be neighbor’s (instead of missionaries), which calls them to celebrate, struggle, worship, and live life in the neighborhood they serve.

Chris is a graduate of Asbury Seminary and Eastern College. Lara is a graduate of Asbury College.

angela davis

Angela Davis, originally from Natchez, MS, lived in intentional community inside First Grace UMC  (www.FirstGraceUMC.org) for 7 years, during which their community and congregation started the nonprofit First Grace Community Alliance (FGCA) in 2007.  

Angela now helps direct FGCA and its two programs:

1) Hagar's House (www.HagarsHouseNOLA.org) is a home for women and children that opened inside First Grace UMC in 2007 in response to an overwhelming need for housing inNew Orleans. Over the years, the church purchased a house, volunteers renovated it, and Hagar's House transitioned from an emergency shelter to a 24/7 home and justice-centered intentional community of its own. Seven years later in Fall 2014, also in response to needs within its immediate community, FGCA opened Project Ishmael (www.ProjectIshmaelNOLA.org), a pro bono immigration legal clinic for children that seeks: 1) to meet some immigration needs of children in New Orleans, 2)  to meet legal needs of the women and children who live in Hagar’s House (by coordinating a volunteer base of attorneys and legal resources), & 3)  to challenge systemic injustice that allows children and their parents to be harassed, incarcerated, deported, or torn from their families based on race or immigration status.

She is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and of Loyola Law, New Orleans-- and during school spent time studying international law and volunteering with human rights groups in Chile, India, Iraq, Palestine, and on the U.S./Mexico border.

Angela no longer lives inside the church but has moved down the street with her son and the (still thriving) intentional community's former dog, "Mo."

Kenya cummings

Kenya is a  recent graduate of Methodist Theological School in Ohio with a Master of Divinity degree.   She is unapologetically black and unashamedly spiritual.    She is a neo-soul loving preacher with a heart and mind for justice.  She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Science degree in Family Science with a minor in African American Studies.  She is a church misfit committed to the revival of church and facilitating the connection between church and community.  She can be found smiling, recycling, or humming hymns on most sunny days. Please check out Kenya's website: http://www.kenyaceceliarose.com/

rev. brenda vaca

Brenda Vaca is a pastor in recovery who was ordained in the United Methodist Church in 2010.  She served local churches since 2004 and most recently was the Mission Coordinator for ministry with Latino communities on the west coast of the United States.  She’s a graduate of U.C. Berkeley in English and Creative Writing and Pacific School of Religion at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA where she received her Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Biblical Languages.  She currently lives in Whittier, CA with her family, two dogs, one rooster, and three chickens.  Brenda loves to hear and tell good stories.  She slangs real estate on the side.

 

be a revolutionary leader

If you are leading a justice-oriented ministry and want to join our revolutionary team fill out the form below and describe how you are engaged in the message box below. We are always looking to grow our leadership team in the Fig Tree Revolution!

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resources to resist

We strongly encourage you to check out the websites below and USE the resources to address the harmful policies that will be coming out of the donald trump administration.

And remember, our best resources are each other so join the Fig Tree Revolution by signing up below to ensure the RESISTANCE grows!

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Photo: Steve Pavey www.stevepavey.com

Photo: Steve Pavey www.stevepavey.com

provide sanctuary for immigrants/refugees facing deportation

The Sanctuary Movement helps to defend the rights of immigrants and refugees from the promises of donald trump to deport millions of immigrants and refugees through providing sanctuary for immigrants facing deportation. There is lots of great information including links to specific details as to what providing sanctuary means for congregations under the

 
Photo: Steve Pavey www.stevepavey.com

Photo: Steve Pavey www.stevepavey.com

it is crucial for immigrants to know their rights

With a trump administration likely to arrest, detain, and deport millions of immigrants it is crucial for immigrants to know their rights. The National Immigration Law Center has excellent resources you can download and hand out to folks that talk about what their rights are when encountering law enforcement, when they are victims of a raid, or even when participating in a demonstration. Please connect below and share these with immigrants in your community. 

 
Photo: Steve Pavey www.stevepavey.com

Photo: Steve Pavey www.stevepavey.com

stand with standing rock

Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) has created an excellent resource to stand with the people at Standing Rock and to understand this movement for protecting the land and resources and for understanding this specific movement within the larger context of settle colonialism. It contains ideas for short and immediate actions as well as longer and more intense actions. 

the revolution will be televised

Remembering Sandra Bland, featuring our own Kenya Cummings. These voices are among our greatest treasures of 2016. We hope you will hear them, believe them, and take their words to heart. 

When prosecutor and devout Christian Preston Shipp began teaching in a Nashville prison, he never thought he'd be the one to get schooled. But the friendship he forges with one young prisoner puts his faith in the justice system and in Jesus to the ultimate test. 

When just 16-years-old, Jasmine was forced to fend for herself when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) targeted her undocumented parents. Going to high school during the day and working at night, she couldn't make ends meet and suffered extreme poverty and oppressive loneliness. This is when the church stepped in.