Meeting Reminder – Thursday, April 8

This Thursday, we will continue our exploration of the root causes of poverty at Saint John’s UMC at 6:30 p.m.  Sharon Lowe, Executive Director of Foundation for the Homeless (FFH), will share that organization’s mission to mobilize communities of faith and other resources to end homelessness in Austin.  Three major initiatives of the organization include the following:

  • Family Promise/Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) is a shelter program based on a national model that provides transitional shelter for families experiencing homelessness. (Saint John’s is a participating church.)
  • The Feed My People Program (at First UMC) is a collaboration of 11 religious congregations in the Austin community that provide the facilities, volunteers, and donations necessary to serve the guests.
  • A Day Resource Center provides families access to resources and work with staff on goals toward self-sufficiency.

For more information about FFH, please see

The meeting will begin at 6:30p with snacks and visiting.
The program will begin at 7:00p.

Join us!

Congratulations Tara and Eric!

For those who haven’t heard yet, our former Chapter President, Tara Thronson, gave birth on April 1 (no fooling) to a beautiful baby boy, Elias Julian.   Way to go, Tara and Eric!

Thank you St. John’s

Thanks to Saint John’s UMC for donating their March communion rail offering to our MFSA chapter!  Thanks so much for your support!

MFSA at Annual Conference – Corpus Christi – June 2-5

We Need Your Books!

Our MFSA Chapter will again sponsor a book fair at Annual Conference in early June.  As a fund-raising event, we offer new and gently used religious or spiritual books for donations at our booth in the exhibit hall.  If you need to clean out your bookcase of lightly-used religious books, please bring them to the next meeting, or call Janice or Rowland Curry at 836-7004 so we can arrange to pick them up.

Shower of Stoles

MFSA will team with Reconciling Ministries Network to sponsor an exhibit of the Shower of Stoles at Annual Conference.  The Shower of Stoles is a collection of over a thousand liturgical stoles and other sacred items representing the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people of faith.  (We will only have a portion of these stoles, not the entire thousand!)  These religious leaders have served in thirty-two denominations and faith traditions, in six countries, and on three continents. Each stole contains the story of a GLBT person who is active in the life and leadership of their faith community in some way: minister, elder, deacon, teacher, missionary, musician, administrator, or active layperson.

This extraordinary collection celebrates the gifts of GLBT persons who serve God in countless ways, while also lifting up those who have been excluded from service because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The collection bears witness to the huge loss of leadership that the church has brought upon itself because of its own unjust policies.

We Need Your Help

In order to sponsor a “booth” in the Annual Conference exhibit area, we must pay for the space ($320) and have enough volunteers to staff the MFSA exhibit and book fair.  In addition, we are in need of two large garment hanging stands on which to place the stoles display.  Let us know if you are able to help financially, can travel to Corpus to help with the exhibit, or if you have a garment stand.

Imagine No Malaria Launch Party – April 25

Want to: get a cupcake, learn how to drum, hear the Huston Tillotson Gospel choir, see a concert by Jars of Clay, assemble a health kit, knit 1/4 of a baby blanket, have a slice of pizza, watch your kids enjoy the ‘jumpy thing’ and the ‘rock climber’, join the blesssing of hundreds of confirmands, see a bevy of Bishops, get a cup of coffee, and while doing all this – be a real live ‘actor’ in the most important movie you’ll ever make!

The Imagine No Malaria Launch Party will inspire the United Methodist denomination – all 11 million of  us – to eradicate this disease.

Don’t miss it. Capitol grounds, April 25, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Park in the garage at 13th and Lavaca.

You’re Invited to a Bead Party!

Be inspired by hardworking Ugandan women lifting themselves from poverty!

Purchase jewelry handmade from colorful recycled paper…and help others a world away!

Learn how you can make a difference and have fun doing it!

Where: MFSA meetings in April and May.  In response to our focus on the eradicating poverty, we offer this opportunity to help women and families in other countries.

BeadforLife eradicates extreme poverty by creating bridges of understanding between impoverished Africans and concerned world citizens. Ugandan women turn colorful recycled paper into beautiful beads, and people who care open their hearts, homes and communities to buy and sell the beads.  The beads become income, food, medicine, school fees — and hope.  It is a small miracle that connects and enriches everyone in the Bead Circle. All net profits from BeadforLife are invested in community development projects that help people work their way out of poverty.

Austin Area Interreligious Ministries (AAIM) Events

The Red Bench – After a brief respite, The Red Bench returns with the theme of Courage — Tuesday, April 27.  Please mark your calendars and above all, invite a friend!  Help us expand our Red Bench community of participants.  Information and registration can be found at:  We will be sending out an RSVP for April 27 in the coming weeks.

Immaculee in Austin – May 1 – A special visit by Immaculee Ilibagiza, a New York Times bestselling author and a survivor of the Rwandan holocaust — proceeds from this event at the Paramount Theatre will benefit the Austin Refugee Roundtable, bringing together congregations and service agencies to help refugees resettled in Austin.

2010 AAIM Hope Awards – May 20 – AAIM’s biggest fundraising event of the year featuring former CBS News Anchor and 60 Minutes Correspondent, Dan Rather (interviewed by Texas Tribune Editor, Evan Smith).  This year we honor Patricia & Robert Ayres, Donna & Phillip Berber of A Glimmer of Hope Foundation, and Jennifer & Ashton Cumberbatch — all of whom have put Hope in Action here in Austin and across the world.

For more information, see

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

TCADP is a statewide grassroots organization working to end the death penalty in Texas through education and action. We welcome your participation in this work in any capacity.

Vigils to protest executions are held from 5:30p – 6:30p on the evenings of the executions on the south steps of the Capitol, 11th and Congress.

As you may have read, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of the scheduled execution Hank Skinner.  Skinner was scheduled to be executed on March 24 for the murder of Twila Busby, even though critical DNA evidence that was collected at the crime scene has never been tested.  Mr. Skinner has steadfastly insisted he is innocent of the crime.  This case illustrates the importance of testing DNA when there is readily available scientific evidence.

Upcoming executions scheduled:

April 22:  William Berkley
April 27:  Samuel Bustamante (clemency campaign under way)
May 12:  Kevin Varga
May 13:  Billy Galloway
May 25:  John Alba

To learn more, go to TCADP.

Believe Out Loud

3707 Laurel Ledge Lane (Tom & Robbie Ausley’s house)
Saturday, April 17th (9:00 – 3:00)

A national Reconciling Ministry Network  facilitator, Laura Young, will guide us through a training session of how we can help move the 11 million member Methodist church towards greater inclusiveness, creating change one person at a time through our witness in small groups and gatherings.

Remember Thursday, April 22 is Earth Day. Do something good for the planet that day and every day.

Green by Faith

Interfaith Environmental Network invites you to Green by Faith: A time to celebrate and grow our faith commitment to environmental care.

Sunday, April 25, 2010
2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
St. David’s Episcopal Church
304 East 7th Street
Austin, TX 78701

A celebratory interfaith worship service will begin at 2:00 PM in the Bethell Hall on the 3rd floor.

Immediately following will be a time of fellowship in Sumners’ Hall with an information fair featuring a cornucopia of non-profit, governmental, faith-based, and commercial organizations to help you or your faith community become more faithful stewards of our natural blessings.

Sign up for an upcoming environmental community service event with the IEN team.

A beautiful outdoor labyrinth will also be available for your personal time of reflection.

This is an area-wide event. All are welcome! You may forward this announcement to others in the faith community.

Interfaith Environmental Network (IEN) was formed in early 2009 to inspire the Austin area faith community to claim our common call of environmental stewardship. We carry out our mission through acts of learning, community service, and influence on public policy.

Hope Food Pantry

The Hope Food Pantry at Trinity United Methodist Church provides much-needed food to families in our community each week.  In an average month, the Pantry provides over 400 children with nutritious food and other staples such as diapers, juice, soap, etc.  As Austin’s unemployment rate rises, so does the number of families knocking on our doors in need of help.  Empty shelves are a strong reminder of the increased demand for help and our decreasing supply of funding.  They are constantly in need of volunteers and resources to help us with our mission. The Pantry is a fun place to volunteer and the experience of helping the families who come to us is very rewarding.

Contact Stephanie Humphreys to volunteer (cell 744-5136 or email

University UMC to Provide Breakfast for Austin’s Homeless

Mark your Calendars – Saturday morning, June 12

MFSA will assist the University UMC Open Door program provide breakfast for Austin’s homeless.  Please contact Janice Curry at 836-7004 or, if interested.

General Board of Church and Society Newsletter

The General Board of Church & Society of The United Methodist Church publishes an excellent weekly newsletter, Faith in Action, providing news and views on current topics.

Subscribe today to receive the newsletter via email!General Board of Church and Society

MFSA Still Needs Your 2010 Membership!

Please help us continue and improve the programs and activities of MFSA through your generosity!

There are several easy ways to join MFSA.  You can log onto the national MFSA website, and follow the instructions there (you can safely use a credit card).

You can bring a check to the next meeting, made out to “SWT – MFSA”.  Or, you can simply mail your check to our Treasurer, Janice Curry, at 1509 Mearns Meadow Blvd, Austin 78758.

Our local chapter gets a portion of the gift for our programs.  We continue to need funding for visibility within our communities and to advance our social action movement.

Suggested Membership Amounts (you may also select your own amount):

$500 Stellar Membership Gift
$200 Spirited Membership Gift
$150 Supporting Membership Gift
$100 Sustaining Membership Gift
$60 Subscribing Membership Gift

Benefits of membership:

  • Receive the MFSA newsletter (Social Questions Bulletin)
  • Receive the MFSA E-newsletter with action updates
  • Receive discounts on events sponsored by MFSA
  • Connect with other justice-seekers in your annual conference
  • Join with others in speaking up for justice in the UMC and world

Membership in MFSA is not predicated on ability to pay.  Any amount of money you are able to give is gratefully accepted.  Membership gifts to MFSA are tax deductible as provided by law.

Join us!