Next Chapter Meeting – Thursday, November 8

November Chapter Meeting on Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON)

The November 8 MFSA meeting will focus on the Justice for Our Neighbor (JFON) ministry. The speaker will be Rev. Liliana Padilla, pastor at the Emanuel UMC in San Antonio where the new JFON clinic opened on October 20. Rev. Padilla was an ordained UMC minister in Mexico before immigrating to Texas. As a former JFON client, she is familiar with the difficult journey through immigration policy and laws.  Prior to opening the JFON clinic in San Antonio, she was involved in the JFON clinic in Dallas. Her husband, Miguel, is the leader of the JFON site team at Emanuel UMC.

The Austin District will select a UMC site in Austin in January 2013.  The request for proposal (RFP) deadline is December 4.  Information from the Austin District RFP:

To expand our capacity to be in ministry with our community, the Austin District seeks a host site for a permanent JFON Immigration law clinic within the Austin District limits.  The JFON Clinic will provide free immigration legal aid to qualified individuals to assist them to attain full resident status with the USA.  JFON will also provide education to the public and advocacy services on behalf of people with immigration problems.

Please join us on Thursday, November 8, at Saint John’s UMC, 2140 Allandale Rd., for this interesting program.   Snacks and visiting begin at 6:30pm; the program begins at 7:00.

Notes from MFSA National Meetings

On October 18 – 20, MFSA’s Program Council and Board of Directors met in Detroit, Michigan for their Fall meeting.  Anne Mund and Rowland Curry attended the Program Council meeting, at which extensive plans are being made for MFSA’s programs.  Rowland was elected to be the “Co-Convenor” (aka Co-Chair) of the Program Council for the next two years.  Watch for more information on this.

The Board of Directors was surprised by the resignation of MFSA’s Executive Director, Jill Warren.  She has served MFSA since mid-2011, and guided our organization through the General Conference earlier this year in Tampa.  The Board has named Chett Pritchett to be the interim Executive Director; the full press release is included below.

Despite this news, we are heartened by the strength and energy displayed by MFSA’s Program Council and Board during this meeting.


The Fall meeting of the Methodist Federation for Social Action’s (MFSA) Program Council and Board of Directors was graciously hosted by the Detroit (MI) Chapter, October 18-20. The meeting celebrated our work at General Conference 2012 and the faithful work of our Chapters across the connection. This spirit, energy, and excitement continued as we engaged in developing the on-going work of Peace, Poverty People’s Rights, Progressive Issues, and Justice in the United Methodist Church.


As we dreamed and envisioned the work ahead, it became evident that changes would need to take place for this ministry to be fully possible. In the midst of this crucial discussion, our Executive Director Jill A. Warren, offered the Board an option to consider her willingness to resign if this would allow more flexibility for the ministry to move forward. She shared, “The primary reason for this offer is to give MFSA’s Board options to consider in helping to create a sustainable staffing structure that will benefit MFSA and further its mission.”  After much prayerful deliberation and difficult discernment, the Board voted to accept her offer.  Jill has been a tireless advocate for MFSA’s issues and has helped lead the organization to a new level of visibility.  We are grateful for her service and generous spirit.


In light of this decision, the Board also announces that Chett Pritchett, MFSA’s current Development and Communications Associate, has been named as the Interim Executive Director to serve in the Washington, DC, office, beginning November 1, 2012.  Chett has served on MFSA’s staff since 2011 and built relationships throughout the connection, specifically through the use of social media and his knowledge of The United Methodist Church.  His creativity, theological depth, and passion for social justice are evident in all of his work. He is currently the Lay Leader at Dumbarton United Methodist Church and has previous experience in leadership with MoSAIC (Methodist Students for an All Inclusive Church).  Chett is an alumnus of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC where he earned a Master of Theological Studies degree.


While these decisions were not made lightly, we feel this is the best path forward to build on MFSA’s strengths for continued success in the future and sustaining the renewed grassroots enthusiasm generated by a successful presence at General Conference.  We ask for your prayers and continued support of the organization and staff as we journey into the future.




Vicki Woods, MFSA Board Co-President, 774-696-9519

Tara L. Thronson, MFSA Board Co-President, 512-422-8907


Judicial Council Upholds Security of Appointment

This past week the Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church met in Elk Grove, IL, and declared the decisions of General Conference  surrounding guaranteed appointments and clergy appointments to “transitional leave” as unconstitutional, “null, void and of no effect.”  The Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) celebrates these actions as crucial to a deeper understanding of clergy covenant and effectiveness.

In relation to the security of appointment, the Judicial Council cited contradictions in the Discipline between paragraphs and violations of the third and forth restrictive rules of the Constitution of The United Methodist Church.  In relation to the changes made in language around transitional leave, giving a Bishop the ability to appoint a clergy person in good standing to transitional leave and in effect leave them without appointment, the Judicial Council stated, “Fair process procedures, trials and appeals are integral parts of the privilege of our clergy of right to trial by a committee and of appeal and is an absolute right which cannot be eradicated by legislation.”

“The Judicial Council’s ruling not only affirms our Wesleyan heritage of itinerancy, but also highlights the importance of theological, age, gender, and racial diversity within The United Methodist Church,” states Chett Pritchett, Interim Executive Director of the Methodist Federation for Social Action. “The work of the Church is best done through diffused power-sharing among both laity and ordained clergy, Cabinets and Boards of Ordained Ministry. This ruling is a strong reminder that such leadership is crucial to The United Methodist Church remaining a relevant reflection of God’s world.”

At The United Methodist Church’s General Conference this past spring, MFSA had hoped the Church might engage in conversation about ways to strengthen the clergy covenant and empower Bishops to better utilize their Boards of Ordained Ministry in cases of clergy effectiveness, rather than developing an adversarial approach leading to a culture of fear and distrust.   The Judicial Council ruling opens a door to broader discussion about faithful calling, training, and support of clergy in a two-way covenant system.

You can read the full text of the Judicial Council’s decision here.

Our Response to Hurricane Sandy

Please consider helping our neighbors through UMCOR and the American Red Cross.

UMCOR – United Methodist Committee On Relief

United Methodists come together to help neighbors face massive Hurricane #Sandy. #umc #umcor #dreamumc


You can help people affected by disasters like hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, fires and tornadoes, at home or around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief.

Vote – Tuesday, November 6 !

Early voting continues through Friday, November 2. Remember that on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, Travis County residents can vote at any polling place.  The ballot is long with many city and county items, in addition to Federal, State, and School Board candidate choices. Review the League of Women Voters Guide before going to the polls.

Trinity UMC – 20 Years as Reconciling Congregation




20th Anniversary Gay-La

Friday, November 9, 2012

6:30 PM to 8:45 PM

First UMC Family Life Center

1300 Lavaca St. – Austin

Friday, November 9th

  • Tickets: $50/adult; $25/ages 10 – 22

Community Education Events


Date: November 2, 2012

Time: 7:00 pm  to  9:00 pm

A panel will discuss the Texas death penalty, with a focus on wrongful convictions and executions. Panelists include Jim Harrington of the Texas Civil Rights Project; Sandra Reed, the mother of Texas death row prisoner Rodney Reed; and Darby Tillis, former Illinois death row prisoner

The event is part of Texas Abolition Weekend, the 12th Annual Convention of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, which will include a march on Saturday at 2 pm starting at the south steps of the Texas Capitol.

There is more information online, or contact

Location: 5604 Manor, 5604 Manor Road, Austin, 78723



Time: 7:00 pm  to  9:00 pm

Carlos Spector, a leading immigration attorney specializing in Mexican political asylum cases, will discuss the causes of violence in Mexico as well as the U.S. government’s rationale for denying Mexican asylum claims. Spector will be joined by 32-year old Juan Fraire Escobedo, son of Marisela Escobedo, a human-rights activist who was murdered in Mexico while advocating for judicial reform. Escobedo, who has applied for political asylum in the United States, will discuss his family’s continuing fight for justice and what can be done to end the political repression and violence in his country.

For more information, contact Alejandra Spector,

Location: 5604 Manor, Austin, 78723 –