Chapter Meeting – Thursday, February 9

Love Your Neighbor:  Moving Forward to General Conference 

You are invited to join the Southwest Texas MFSA chapter as we further our knowledge of efforts to impact our denomination at General Conference 2012.  The SWTX Conference Reconciling Ministries’ Local Church Action Team will present the program.  Love Your Neighbor is this year’s theme of the Common Witness Coalition ( Robbie Ausley, member of First UMC and long-time social justice advocate, will describe the actions planned by the SWTX team prior to General Conference.  Laura Holland, Northwest Hills UMC member, will talk about her experience as a Love Your Neighbor workshop attendee.  They will share ways that we can help affect change in the UMC.

The meeting will be in Saint John’s UMC Fellowship Hall.  We will gather at 6:30pm for snacks and mingling.  The program begins at 7:00.  We hope to see you there!

Approximately 95 people attended the January 14 Love Your Neighbor workshop at Trinity UMC.

Audrey Krumbach and Joey Lopez from RMN conducted the workshop.

Recent Happenings

Yes, we have been very busy!

On January 16, over a dozen of our chapter members joined Austin’s MLK March, from the UT campus to the state Capitol.  Inspiring speeches and good music filled the air.

On January 27-28, our chapter hosted the spring meeting of the MFSA national Board of Directors at Saint John’s UMC.  At least 30 volunteers helped with overnight hosting, transportation, and food for our 17 Directors and Staff from other states.  The meetings were very productive, focusing on our role at General Conference, as well as other topics.  Thanks again to all who helped!

You are invited

“A History of Discrimination Within the United Methodist Church”

a talk by Rev. Richard Bates and Adama Brown, sponsored by the Saint John’s Reconciling Ministries Team

Sunday, February 12, at 10am in the Fellowship Hall, Saint John’s UMC, Austin

Rev. Richard Bates is from South Texas and was Associate Pastor at First Church, Del Rio, Windcrest in San Antonio, and First in Seguin.  He took a five year sabbatical to study at the Institute For Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco (founded by United Methodist clergy), and returned to Austin to set up a private practice in counseling for sexual issues.  Rev. Bates is now affiliated with University UMC and is Chair of their Church and Society Council, and is active in RMN and MFSA.  He and his partner, Joe Santoyo, recently celebrated 32 years together.

Adama Brown is from East Austin and earned bachelor’s and PhD degrees in sociology from UT-Austin and Iowa State University, respectively. Adama has served as a lay  leader, deacon and co-leader of a ministry geared toward raising awareness of inclusion and diversity issues at a progressive Austin church.  Now a member at First UMC, Adama currently serves as a Sunday School facilitator for the Open Door Women’s class and is involved in efforts to reach out to FUMC’s downtown neighbors. Adama is also active in UMW and RMN.  This year she and her partner, Pret Ajewole, will celebrate 10 years together.

RMN Team Postcard Campaign

From Ann Teich, Southwest Texas Conference RMN Team ( a follow up to the Love Your Neighbor Workshop on January 14, we invite you to participate in a postcard writing campaign to General Conference delegates from the Southwest Texas Conference.  We ask that you hand write short messages on postcards to 4 different General Conference delegates, either asking them to work towards full inclusion or thanking them for their support of full inclusion of GLBT people in the United Methodist Church.

If you wish to participate in this campaign, the RMN Team will supply you with a postcard template on which you can print your own postcards on card stock, or if you prefer, we can send you some postcards.  We will also provide 2 sample messages that you can use, or you can write your own message, and we will provide you with the names and addresses of 4 General Conference delegates.

Once completed, we would appreciate your placing a stamp on the postcards and mailing them and also letting me know when you have done so.

If you would like to do this, please e-mail me by February 5, 2012.  Once you have responded, I will e-mail you the postcard template or the postcards with the names and addresses of four delegates.

  • If you have a preference as to which delegates (see list below) you’d like to send the cards to, please let me know in your response e-mail.
  • Please let me know if you prefer the template or the postcards.

Thank you again for your work to make the United Methodist Church a fully inclusive church!

P.S.  If you have already volunteered to visit with a GC delegate, you can still participate in this campaign.


Clergy Delegates:Rev. Laura Merrill

Rev. Eradio Valverde

Rev. Claus Rohlfs

Rev. Virgilio Vazquez-Garza

Rev. Terrence Hayes

Rev. Russell Miller

Rev. Austin Frederick

Rev. Thomas Deviney


Lay Delegates:Jay Brim

Teresa Keese

Ralph Thompson

Byrd Bonner

Sarah Cloninger Howell

Terry Schoenert

William Ault

Mark Nerio


2012 TCADP Annual Conference in San Antonio

Texas Coalition Against the Death Penalty – Annual Conference

Seizing the Momentum … Creating the Climate for Change

February 18, 2012

University of Incarnate Word Sky Room
847 E Hildebrand, San Antonio

General Membership Meeting
Networking with TCADP  Members and Allies
Exhibitors and Door Prizes
Panel Discussion: Impact of Texas’ Changing Demographics on the Death Penalty

More information at:

UUMC Reconciling Service February 19

On Sunday, February 19, in the regular 11:00 am service, University United Methodist Church will celebrate the 1-year anniversary of our vote to join the Reconciling Ministries Network.  Special readings and reflections will help mark the occasion, as we rededicate ourselves to removing discriminatory language from the Book of Discipline and working for the full inclusion of all people in the United Methodist Church.

Next Red Bench – February 28

The genesis of “The Red Bench: Interfaith Conversations that Matter” program came from Dr. Betty Sue Flowers. When writing about the hunger for meaningful conversation, she recommended that organizations place red benches in public spaces. Her idea was simple–by sitting on one of these red benches you were signaling to others that you were open to a conversation about something that really matters to you. The red bench became both a symbol to underscore the importance of conversation and an actual place where these conversations could occur.

Interfaith Action of Central Texas launched The Red Bench program in 2009 and it has grown into a real community of sharing. The program focuses on issues that are addressed by all of the great faith traditions, including forgiveness, compassion gratitude, shame, ethics, security, equality, courage, and duty.  Each monthly 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. Past participants have included Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, and many others. The Red Bench program is free.

The next Red Bench conversation is Tuesday, February 28th, in the Great Hall of the First UMC Family Life Center on the topic “Resentment.” A light vegetarian meal is served beginning at 6:00 p.m., the conversation begins at 6:30 p.m., and concludes by 8:00 p.m.

To register, please go to If you have questions, please contact FUMC member Sandy Wilder at or 773-8078.