MFSA Chapter Meeting in November Features Texas Impact

Thursday, November 2014

Saint John’s UMC, Austin – 2401 Allandale Rd.

6:30p Snacks – 7:00p Program

BeeThe 84th Session of the Texas Legislature will convene on January 13, 2015 … just around the corner.  Issues affecting all of us will be part of the legislative discussions.

The November meeting of the Methodist Federation for Social Action, Southwest Texas chapter, will inform attendees concerning 2015 legislation of importance to people of faith in Texas.  The program will be presented by Bee Moorhead, Executive Director of Texas Impact, a statewide, religious grassroots network whose members include individuals, congregations, and governing bodies of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths. Our own Southwest Texas Conference of the UMC is a member of Texas Impact.

The meeting will be held Thursday, November 13 at Saint John’s UMC.  Please join us at 6:30p for snacks and mingling; the program starts at 7p.  Bring your friends and neighbors of all faith traditions to hear this informative presentation.  For more information, contact Anne Mund

Hope to see you there!

MFSA Leaders Meet in Austin


The national Board of Directors and Program Council of the MFSA met in Austin Oct 29 – Nov 1.  The group consisted of 30 attendees from 17 states, who were housed in 13 host homes.  The meeting space at Saint John’s UMC allowed these groups to discuss plans and activities leading up to the 2016 UMC General Conference.

The SWTX Chapter’s Executive Committee served as the planning team for this event.  Special thanks to Anne Mund for coordinating home stays for the attendees, Al Lindsey for arranging transportation and making certain no one got left at the airport, and Janice Curry for organizing breakfast and lunch for the leadership.  Al Lindsey and Karen Hale opened their beautiful home to all of us for dinner on Thursday, and Paul and Liz Escamilla allowed us to socialize at their home after dinner on Halloween.  Our out-of-town guests were truly appreciative of our radical hospitality.  See photos at:

SWTX Reconciling Team Program

tees hi res

Join us to hear our panelists speak about the importance of affiliation with Reconciling Ministries Network:

Rev. Dr. Sid Hall – Trinity UMC Austin
Rev. Richard Bates – University UMC Austin
Kate Campbell – Travis Park UMC San Antonio
Bruce Kellison – University UMC Austin

Open to all interested United Methodists.
Please RSVP to this page or email

CARPOOLING FROM AUSTIN? Feel free to use Trinity UMC lot located at 4001 Speedway in Hyde Park.

Judicial Council Rules In Frank Schaefer Appeal

frankwins21On October 27, the Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church (UMC) released its decision to uphold the decision of the Committee on Appeals and Rev. Frank Schaefer will no longer have to fight for his ministerial status. In November 2013, a trial court of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the UMC found Rev. Frank Schaefer guilty of officiating the marriage of his son, Tim, to another man in 2006. The penalty assessed to Rev. Schaefer, eventually leading to the loss of ministerial credentials, was indirect and convoluted.  Earlier this year, upon appeal, the Committee on Appeals of the Northeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church overturned the penalty assessed in the original trial. Last week in Memphis, TN, The United Methodist Church’s highest judicial body, Judicial Council, heard a final appeal.

“At a time when the Church stands as a painful reminder that human institutions are more concerned with legalisms than with grace, the Judicial Council has noted the errors of a process based on retribution,” states Chett Pritchett, Executive Director of the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA).  “The Methodist Federation for Social Action thanks the Judicial Council for their thoughtful and prayerful deliberation We celebrate with the Schaefer family with this resolution – and all United Methodist families who seek to love their children, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Transgender Remembrance Events in November

transgenderTransgender Remembrance Service
Guest speaker Lisa Scheps, long-time leader in the Austin Transgender community
Sun, Nov 16th at 10:30am-12noon


International Transgender Day of Remembrance Service
Sermon by Rev. Richard Bates
Thurs, Nov 20th from Noon-1pm
Click here for more details

Transgender Day of Remembrance at Austin City Hall
Thurs, Nov 20th at 6:30-8:30pm
301 West 2nd Street, 78701
Click here for updates

List of Transgender Remembrance events happening across the world 
Click here

Chett Pritchett Receives Alumni Award

ChettOn Friday, October 17, Chett Pritchett, executive director of the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA), was honored by his alma mater, the United Methodist-related West Virginia Wesleyan College, for his service to the school, Church, and world.

Pritchett graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan in 1999 and recognized his call to ministry while a student there. He credits his personal and professional success to Wesleyan’s emphasis on critical thinking and local and global citizenship. His work in the areas of social justice was cultivated during his college years through work on LGBT rights and environmental justice.

His passion for his alma mater shows through as he promotes the College in any way he can. He assists with hosting alumni events; he returns to campus to speak with students in community engagement and religious life; he is an annual donor; and, he is a member of the Reger Society for planned giving.

In his service to Wesleyan, to others and within the United Methodist Church, Chett follows John Wesley’s ideals of “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

Interfaith Action of Central Texas

Monday, November 17;  6:30-8:00pm

Congregation Beth Israel –
3901 Shoal Creek Blvd, Austin

The Sarajevo Haggadah is a sacred text and prayer book for Passover that is thought to be more than 500 years old. The journey of the Sarajevo Haggadah is a compelling story of different faith groups working together throughout the centuries to save and protect this treasured manuscript.

iACT is honored to partner with University of Texas Performing Arts to host a conversation and reception with Merima Kljuco, Bosnian-born accordionist and composer, who composed the “Music of the Book” representing the journey of the Haggadah. This will be a celebration of unity, and a needed positive experience during a time of widespread unrest.

 2014-ITSC_5x7_postcard-front Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

You are invited to share in iACT’s 30th Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service and Celebration at 3:00 PM on November 23, 2014 at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, located at 2938 E. 13th St, Austin, TX 78702.

A reception will follow the service. We encourage you to bring your favorite dish, labeled for those with dietary restrictions, and share in the warmth of community.

Ample free Sunday parking is available on site at the church.

Free, family-friendly, all are welcome!

November 23, 2014

3:00 pm

Mt. Zion Baptist Church


Red Bench – People’s Choiceredbench_logo-300x79

The Red Bench is an on-going dialogue program designed to address the most pressing needs of our time: improving interfaith understanding and civil discourse in our society. Each conversation is centered on moderated small group discussions that are genuinely respectful and safe.  No one has to be an expert – individual participants are invited to share from their personal experiences and listen with their hearts.  The format is structured and allows each individual to be heard.  Each conversation is moderated by table hosts.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Topic: People’s Choice
Location: Bahai Center of Austin – 2215 E M Franklin Avenue, Austin, TX 78723

The event is free and open to all. A light vegetarian meal will be provided.

Sign up for out Interfaith Dialogue email list:


tcadpScheduled executions

Outrageously, the State of Texas just set a December 3, 2014 execution date for Scott Panetti.  Panetti, who has suffered from severe mental illness for more than 30 years, has a fixed delusion that Satan, working through the state, is trying to kill him for preaching the Gospel.  Read background information on his case and watch “Executing the Insane: The Case of Scott Panetti,” which includes heartbreaking interviews with several members of his family.

We will provide updates on this case as they become available.  Please contact TCADP Executive Director Kristin Houlé at or 512-441-1808 for more information.

Support clemency for Max Soffar

Imagine spending 34 years in prison – most of them on death row in Texas – for a crime you didn’t commit.  Now imagine being told by doctors that in a matter of months, maybe weeks, you will die of liver cancer.  That’s the situation facing Max Soffar, who will die behind bars before any court can exonerate him.  The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recently denied his petition for clemency, citing the absence of an execution date. Read more from Barry Scheck, Co-Director of the Innocence Project, and join him and Sister Helen Prejean in calling on Governor Rick Perry to grant clemency to Max so that he can die at home.  Sign this petition!

TCADP 2015 Annual Conference

Registration for the TCADP 2015 Annual ConferenceDeath Penalty Fault Lines: A Seismic Shift in Ground – is now open!  The conference will take place on Saturday, February 21, 2015 at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas.

In case you missed it

Gallup Poll finds decreasing support for death penalty among Republicans
According to the annual Gallup Poll, support for the death penalty among Republicans has dropped nine points over the last decade.  Read more about the reasons behind the decline.

Pope Francis condemns the death penalty
On October 24th, while addressing a group of members of the International Association of Penal Law, Pope Francis called on all people of good will to fight for abolition of the death penalty in “all of its forms” and for the improvement of prison conditions.  Learn more from the National Catholic Reporter.

For more information, go to the TCADP web site.

Texas Impact

texasimpactStatewide Water NewsThis month, the EPA awarded the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) $2.5 million for a number of projects to improve water quality across the state. The grant is designed to address nonpoint-source pollution, or water pollution whose origin is unknown.Pollution control upstream is a benefit to vulnerable wildlife and has economic benefits, including reducing the amount of treatment needed to make water drinkable. For more information, read about the story here or visit the EPA website here.


Better Neighbors provides information on a different public policy issue with local implications every month. In addition to the newsletter, you will also have other opportunities to engage around the monthly focus through webinars, phone calls, and in-person events throughout the state.

African Children’s Choir In Concert With Sara Hickman

African children's choirMark your calendars for a very special music event! The African Children’s Choir returns to Saint John’s UMC at 6:30 pm Sunday, December 7, for a concert celebrating the release of the group’s new CD collaboration with Austin musician Sara Hickman. The CD, Love is a Journey, will be released in December.
The African Children’s Choir is composed of children ages 7 to 10. Many have lost one or both parents through the devastation of war, famine and disease. They represent all the children of the continent and demonstrate the potential of African children to become strong leaders for a better future in their land. Over the past 20 years, the children have appeared in thousands of concerts around the world.

News From The Third Coast Activist

11th annual Women and Fair Trade Festival

Date: November 23, 2014

Time: 10:00 am  to  6:00 pm

Location: The Old School, 1604 East 11th Street, 78702

– See more at:

An Evening with Dan Barber on his best-selling new book “The Third Plate”

Date: December 8, 2014

Time: 7:00 pm  to  9:30 pm

Location: Paramount Theatre, 719 Congress Ave., Austin, 78701

– See more at:

Farai Chideya on “Reporting on Race and Place in the Post-Post-Racial Era”

Date: November 19, 2014

Time: 7:00 pm  to  9:00 pm

Location: Belo Center for New Media, Presentation Room (BMC 5.102), University of Texas campus

– See more at:

Robert Jensen on “Capitalism v. Christianity: A Tale of Two Cults”

Date: November 16, 2014

Time: 12:00 pm  to  1:30 pm

Location: First Unitarian Universalist Church, 4700 Grover Ave., Austin 78756

– See more at:

Screening: “Which Way Home”

Date: November 7, 2014

Time: 7:00 pm  to  10:00 pm

Location: Wildflower Church, 1314 Oltorf, Austin, 78704

– See more at:

Rally for Criminal Justice System Overhaul

Date: November 7, 2014

Time: 1:00 pm  to  3:00 pm

Location: South steps of the state Capitol, 11th and Congress

– See more at:

Austin Area Gift Markets

Gifts-to-the-World Market

First UMC Austin

November 23rd

bellsThis year’s Gifts-to-the-World Market will be on one Sunday only, November 23rd, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the foyer of our Family Life Center. It will feature both local and international, diverse, dynamic, and worthy charitable groups. Shopping lists will be available early, so we encourage you to make your selections and join us for this one-day event. There will be lots of animals and worthy causes for you to choose from. Beautiful cards will be provided with each purchase.


 Christmas Bazaar

Buda UMC – Buda, TX –Child-With-Gift-Christian-Stock-Images-300x200

Saturday, November 22nd from 8am to 2pm

All items donated for sale should be new handmade items. Other items can also be donated for the silent auction.

This year we also plan to have a “fishing pond” where children can pay a quarter to fish and receive a small inexpensive item on the end of a pole.

Items already underway include Christmas Card Holders, trinket/jewelry boxes, jewelry, and quilted hot pads and a beautiful wall hanging.



Gifts of Hope, Saint John’s UMC (Austin) Alternative Gift Market, is slated for Saturday, December 6 and Sunday, December 7. Two of the most popular booths at the Market are the Saint John’s Mission Booth and the Bake Shop. Once again, all bakers and crafters are called into action! For more information about providing craft items for the Market, please e-mail Nancy Williams at

If you love to bake, The Bake Shop may be the perfect way for you to contribute. Please consider sharing your specialty with Market shoppers. For more information about the Bake Shop, email Eva Jordan at

Click here to visit the Alternative Gift Market page.

Free Store


Fall Serving Schedule
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each Saturday

Visit for the volunteer signup or to donate.


Fall Donation Hours
10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each Saturday

Austin Justice For Our Neighbors

JFONHow can I help?

Volunteers supporting and welcoming our newcomer neighbors–that is what ARJFON is about. Get involved to find more ways you can live the Christian–and American–promises to welcome the strangers and love our neighbors.

Foundation Communities Holiday Assistance


Every year we look forward to bringing a little holiday cheer to our residents who won’t be able to fulfill their family’s wish list on their own.

Here are four ways you can make a BIG difference this holiday season:

  1. Sponsor a Foundation Communities family for the holidays. It’s a great way to engage your family, colleagues, friends, neighbors, fellow church members, or civic club in a fun, rewarding group service activity. Sponsor request forms are due Friday, December 5. Visit the Sponsor Pageto review our guidelines and complete your sponsor registration form.
  2. Donate to our Holiday Drive. This is another fun and meaningful service activity that provides supplemental items for families needing additional assistance and gift items for our supportive housing residents. Please purchase new gift items. Deliveries are accepted by appointment, Wednesday, December 3 – Thursday, December 11 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm at the Community Financial Center, located at 2600 W. Stassney Austin, TX 78745. Click here for a map. If interested, please contact charlotte.bumbulis@foundcom.orgor call 512-610-4008 to schedule your delivery.
  3. Make a holiday donation. You can donate online and we’ll go holiday shopping for you!
  4. Help us spread the word to your friends and family!

With your help, we can make this our best holiday assistance program yet! If you have any questions, please contact Charlotte Bumbulis at 512.610.4008 or email