2023 Peace & Justice Luncheon

Please join us for the 10th Peace & Justice Luncheon at the Rio Texas Annual Conference. The luncheon, sponsored by the Rio Texas MFSA, will feature Rev. John Elford and will be on Thursday, June 8 at noon in the Watergarden B meeting room in the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi. More information is available here:

Peace & Justice Luncheon, June 8, Corpus Christi

Rev. John Elford

Join Rio Texas MFSA at the Peace & Justice Luncheon, June 8 at noon, at the Rio Texas UMC Annual Conference in Corpus Christi. The featured speaker will be Rev. John Elford, who served several churches in the Southwest/Rio Texas Conference before his appointment to University UMC in Austin, where he retired in 2021. Rev. Elford will discuss the complicated UMC racial history, which he researched for his upcoming book, Our Hearts Were Strangely Lukewarm: The American Methodist Church and the Struggle with White Supremacy. In addition, we will honor the recipients of the MFSA “Building a Just Community” Awards. 

Eventbrite Registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/peace-justice-luncheon-2023-tickets-628689105037

November Meeting – Virtual (Zoom) Discussion:Report on South Central Jurisdictional Conference

The November meeting of the Rio Texas MFSA will take place virtually on Thursday, November 10 beginning at 7:00pm CST. 

Our program will focus on the outcome of the South Central Jurisdictional Conference, which occurred in Houston last week.  Our chapter co-president – Pat Stewart – was a delegate to Jurisdictional Conference and will report on the results.  In addition, Jay Brim, the Rio Texas Conference Chancellor, will share his insights.  Additional clergy delegates have been invited to participate in this discussion, and the meeting is certain to be informative and interesting.

Pat wrote this about the election of Bishops:

“Today was a red letter day for the Jurisdictional Conference.  On the first day, three bishops were elected.  One was our DS Laura Merrill, one was the first African American woman, and the third was the first ever Native American.  I believe the South Central Jurisdiction made a little history today.”

Please join us. All are welcome!

As you join this zoom call, we ask each caller to MUTE themselves, unless the caller is part of the program.  You will be prompted to unmute whenever we get to Q&A time. To join the Zoom meeting


October Meeting – Virtual Discussion on Critical Social Justice Issues:  LGBTQ+ Rights, Poverty

The October meeting of the Rio Texas MFSA will take place virtually on Thursday, October 13 beginning at 7:00pm CST.  We will have two speakers, representing two current social justice issues: (1) LGBTQ+ rights, and (2) Poverty.

Nancy Mossman will speak on behalf of the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN).  Nancy is the coordinator for the Rio Texas RMN Team.  In addition to coordinating the team’s presence at the Rio Texas Annual Conference, she also supports Rooted & Rising, another ministry of the Rio Texas Reconciling Ministries Team.  The goal is to provide a safe space for spiritual growth and community to United Methodists who are seeking an open and affirming spiritual community and do not have one in their local context.  This program provides a tailored spiritual gathering with prayers, music, storytelling, scripture, mission emphasis and community building opportunities.  This is an evolving ministry, reflecting the needs of the community.  This program is affiliated with the Reconciling Ministries Network at rmnetwork.org and our Facebook page is Rooted & Rising: Queer Rio Texas UMs & Allies.

The Austin Poor People’s Campaign (the local iteration of the national Poor People’s Campaign headed by Rev. William Barber) will be represented by Jim Crosby.  Jim founded Nonviolent Austin four years ago as part of the national Campaign Nonviolence and their Nonviolent Cities Project (www.paceebene.org). Their goal is to build a culture of peace, including putting an end to war, poverty, racism, and environmental destruction.  Around the same time, he read The Third Reconstruction, by Rev. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC). The goals of the two organizations, Campaign Nonviolence and the PPC, overlapped almost exactly.  When Jim heard a year and a half ago that the Poor People’s Campaign had organized a march from Georgetown to Austin, based on the historic 1965 Selma to Montgomery march, he signed up.  Since that time he has worked with the Texas PPC faith leaders group, hosting a weekly Thursday night Zoom study of the book We Cry Justice: Reading the Bible with the Poor People’s Campaign.  Jim retired in June of 2020 after 27 years of teaching and serving as Lay Chaplain at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Austin. Transitioning from academic to activist, he’s found himself now, in retirement, busier than ever! His heart is in training others in classical Gandhian/Kingian nonviolence. As you join this zoom call, we ask each caller to MUTE themselves, unless the caller is part of the program.  You will be prompted to unmute whenever we get to Q&A time.

To join the Zoom meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87823580342?pwd=YzI4czAyTzN1RHdlbkdweStRQ3RQZz09  

September 2022

September Meeting
Virtual Discussion on Current Social Justice Issues

We will have our next virtual meeting on Thursday, September 8, 2022. at 7:00pm.

We are presenting a panel on current social justice issues, featuring speakers from two Austin organizations.  Lu Zeidan is the Co-DIrector of Refugee Services for Interfaith Action Central Texas (iACT).   Kathleen Davis from Trinity Church will speak for Central Texas Interfaith

As you join this zoom call, we ask each caller to MUTE themselves, unless the caller is part of the program.  You will be prompted to unmute whenever we get to Q&A time.

To join the Zoom meeting


November Meeting: The Poor People’s Campaign Themes

Our Rio Texas MFSA Zoom meeting on Thursday, November 11 will focus on the Poor People’s Campaign, and will be led by Pat Stewart.

In 2018, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival released its Poor People’s Moral Agenda & Declaration of Fundamental Rights.  Its demands address systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism, and a distorted moral narrative that keeps these systemic injustices intact.  The connections between these five themes are why we must continue to build power among the 140 million poor & dispossessed of this nation.  Fight poverty, not the poor.

Join us at the Rio Texas MFSA meeting to discuss these five themes.  We will also view a short video on William Barber, one of the founders of the Poor People’s Campaign.  This will be followed by an exchange of ideas on the topic of what being poor means in Texas.

The meeting will begin at 7:00 pm.  Please join us!

To Join the Zoom Meeting:


Texas Impact

All Hands on Deck for Democracy Training Events

It’s never been more important for faith communities to provide nonpartisan election leadership! Texas Impact is teaming up with our member faith communities to ensure that every eligible Texan can vote in free and fair elections in 2022. Learn how you and your congregation can:

  • Register and resource voters
  • Assist vulnerable voters with vote-by-mail applications
  • Volunteer to work the polls

Register for Upcoming All Hands on Deck Training

In Dallas or Zoom

November 13 @ 9:00 AM

White Rock United Methodist Church, 1450 Old Gate Ln, Dallas, TX 75218

Register:  https://texasimpact.org/texas-faith-votes-all-hands-on-deck-for-democracy/

iACT’s 37th Annual Interfaith Day of Thanks Service & Celebration

November 21, 2021


Hosted by St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

Virtual Online Event – Free, All Are Welcome

Register Online: bit.ly/dayofthanks21

Save the Date:  2022 Annual Conference

The AC Design Team is hard at work planning an event that will offer delegates and guests a unique glimpse and experience of the tremendous mission and ministry of the Rio Grande Valley! Watch for more information regarding registration, child-care, hotels, and preliminary schedule of events, community gathering, celebrations, missional experiences and business.

Any questions? Contact Rev. Diana K Phillips, Rio Texas Conference Director of Connectional Ministries dphillips@riotexas.org

From Reconciling Ministries Network

Sign “A Call to Grace”

Over 1,100 United Methodists from around the world have already signed a letter calling upon the Church to provide a pastoral response to the COVID-19 pandemic and calling upon bishops and annual conferences to help churches that long-ago expressed their desire to leave The UMC to utilize the legislative mechanisms open to them right now.

To read the letter and add your signature, click below.

Read & Sign A Call to Grace

October Meeting:  Examining RMN’s Rooted and Rising Project

Our Zoom meeting on Thursday, October 14th will be led by Reverends Nancy Mossman and Richard Bates.  They will share what has been developing in the Rio Texas Rooted and Rising Project, associated with RMN congregations and individuals.  Rooted & Rising is a call to the Reconciling movement for the next season of our collective work for LGBTQ justice and inclusion in the Church. It represents our vision for a Church that thirsts for justice and that searches for living water, no matter what the denomination decides when the General Conference meets.

Richard and Nancy, along with others from around the conference, are planning three test worship services to be held via ZOOM and directed towards LGBTQ folks and allies who live in desert areas and are in need of a healing and inclusive worship setting.

The meeting will begin at 7:00 pm.  Please join us!

To Join the Zoom Meeting


Feel free to share this notice with your congregations and classes.

MFSA Racial Audit Team Reflection, by Pat Stewart

I have to confess that when I said yes to working with Sean as co-convener of the Audit Team, I did not know what to expect. There are so many things I have learned. MFSA, as an organization, has gone through many ups and downs since it was first started. The organization has survived because it has been willing to change as needed to meet the needs of persons who have been marginalized. It has protested policies that overall helped one group maintain power and others feel powerless.

In this difficult time period we can no longer ignore the treatment of people who have been outside the circle of power in the world and in the Methodist church. I want to thank the board and program council for being willing to look within our policies, practices and unintentional biases to see how we can do things differently. By this, I mean, how can we be more inclusive? How can we be more of a partner to our constituency groups? How can we learn to lead by sometimes following?

To find out where we can begin this process, we are preparing two surveys to send out. The surveys’ purpose is to get feedback from those we communicate with the most and the least. Your input is important to MFSA. We cannot grow as an organization in programming or membership without knowing your thoughts and ideas. I hope you are willing to be part of this process by returning the first survey which is mainly intended to give or verify your e -mail address to MFSA. The second survey will be more detailed.

We are becoming an organization that can meet the needs of a diverse pool of people. We will continue to support social justice issues, especially those that have an economic impact in the world. We recognize that this may mean change and change is not always easy. I hope that you will journey with us as we seek to learn what the Lord requires of us

Pat Stewart is Co-President of Rio Texas MFSA.

From October MFSA Voices

Austin Region Justice for Our Neighbors Gala

To feel “at home” means having a sense of comfort and belonging. With the support of our donors and the strength of our clients, our work is not just to secure legal status and access to work; we work together, all of us, to create a community where all of us are at home together.

The gala will feature storytellers from the forthcoming video compilation “The Truth in Our Stories,” part of a collaborative grant project featuring a book by the same title, funded by the Institute for Diversity and Civic Life and made possible by the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation. 


Pumpkin Patches are Back!

Many United Methodist Churches sell pumpkins before Halloween to raise funds for local ministries. Check out Pumpkin Patches at these churches and others near you for dates & times:

  • Bethany UMC Austin
  • Cedar Park UMC
  • Leander UMC
  • Manchaca UMC
  • Pflugerville First UMC
  • Saint John’s UMC Austin
  • St. Luke UMC Austin
  • Tarrytown UMC Austin
  • First UMC of Del Rio

Interfaith Action of Central Texas

Dear Friends and iACT supporters,
In case you haven’t already heard, one of Austin’s most loved events is just around the corner–iACT’s A Night Under One Sky on October 19th at 7pm. Our theme this year is Better Angels in Action, and we’re featuring two of Austin’s better angels–noted author and UT history professor, Dr. Daina Ramey Berry, who will be interviewed by Evan Smith, the founder of the Texas Tribune.
Over the past three decades, Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT) has been doing what we all wish we could do more of: bringing people together across our divides in the spirit of respect and peace to share and celebrate the fact that we human beings have much more that binds us than separates us. A Night Under One Sky gives us the chance to celebrate our friendships, raise funds for our mission, and be with special people who exemplify what it means to live in harmony and inclusion with one another.
Please consider sponsoring, underwriting, or attending this year’s virtual event-the hundreds of people we serve need you!

Virtual event via Zoom

Sponsors & Tickets