Growth Through Justice

Friday, June 8, 2012 – Noon

American Bank Convention Center
Corpus Christi, Texas

A Luncheon Sponsored by the

Southwest Texas Conference Board of Church & Society

Methodist Federation for Social Action, SWTX Chapter

Reconciling Ministries Network, SWTX Team

Featuring Jim Winkler

General Secretary, United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS)

Is the Methodist Church dying? What can be done to turn the tide? Don’t miss this stimulating session as Secretary Winkler shares how creating a more just society can fuel a growing and vibrant church. Registration flyer is attached.  


Five Weeks to General Conference 2012″

From David Mauzy:  “As we approach General Conference 2012 in Tampa—now just five weeks away!—I thought you might be interested in the following essays about General Conference 2000.  (At that General Conference, more than 200 members of Soulforce – ( – were arrested for demonstrating outside the convention center.  The following day, more than two dozen reconciling United Methodists were arrested for refusing to leave the floor of General Conference in an act of civil disobedience.)  Sue Laurie, former longtime RMN staff member, wrote these two essays in 2010, on the 10th anniversary of the events she details. ”

Essays by Sue Laurie


Chapter Meeting – Thursday, March 8

Celebrating the National Week of Prayer for The Healing of AIDS   

As our monthly chapter meeting, we encourage all to attend services commemorating the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS.  In Austin, we will be attending the service at Simpson UMC.

Date/Time: March 8, 2012, 7:00pm

Simpson United Methodist Church

1701 East 12th Street

Austin, Texas 78702


Simpson United Methodist Church of Austin invites you to this nationally celebrated service on March 8, 2012.  The focus of this year’s festivities is developing partnerships between the Faith and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered (LGBT) Communities. The service will include messages of encouragement: rising above HIV; inclusiveness; and the love of Jesus Christ.  Pastor Charles Stephens will bring a word of encouragement following the keynote address from Conscious, a dynamic HIV-positive woman who has risen above extraordinarily difficult circumstances and now shares her journey through acting, presentations, and her book, “Getting Unstuck”.  In addition to the March 8th celebration service, several other events will take place during the week including a Pastor’s HIV Testing Day (a public event in which local pastors lead by example), prayer vigils, and other exciting events currently being coordinated.

The National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS is the coming together of all people of faith to unite with purpose, compassion and hope. Through the power of God’s love we will educate every American about HIV prevention facts; encourage and support HIV testing; advocate for the availability of compassionate care and treatment for all those living with the disease in every community in America; and love unconditionally all persons living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

Short Biography of Conscious: From difficult childhood to homeless to HIV – Conscious has mastered the art of “Getting Unstuck”, the title of her nationally acclaimed book of spoken word expression.  As a lesbian artist, actor, writer, and former bodyguard to celebrities, she has served as the Music Manager for the Queen Latifah Show and hosted Oxygen Media’s talk show She-Commerce.  Conscious now travels the country delivering a poignant message about HIV, AIDS, and recovery. A Native of Harlem, New York, Conscious currently resides in Los Angeles, California and Miami, Florida.

Sponsors: The Black Faith-based Health Initiative, based in Austin, Texas has teamed up with AIDS Services of Austin, Simpson United Methodist Church, the City of Austin Care Program, Wright House Wellness Center, Hill Country Ride for AIDS, and The Care Communities, and several other important community partners to assemble a coalition of diverse organizations with one goal in mind: to open up the lines of communication, fellowship, and blessing between people of faith, local AIDS Service Organizations (ASO’s), people in the LGBT community, and people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).

BOPA Recycling Event this Busy Weekend!

Saturday, March 3, – BOPA Recycling Event – 8 am to 10:30 am

We need Volunteers!  We need your items for recycling!

MFSA will sponsor our 3rd BOPA (Batteries, Oil, Paint, Antifreeze) Recycling Event at Trinity UMC, at E 40th and Speedway.

When our chapter conducted its last BOPA recycling event, we collected over 967 gallons of paint, 93 gallons of oil, 11 car batteries, 160 pounds of smaller batteries, 12 gallons of antifreeze, 47 spray paint cans, and lots of other material that was taken to the City’s recycling station. If you would like to volunteer for this event, please contact Anne Mund at

CROP Walk – March 3-4

It’s not too late to get involved with the 7th largest CROP Hunger Walk in the country and the largest interfaith event in Austin! You can start a team with your spiritual community, your co-workers, or a group of your friends. With online fundraising it’s easy to get sponsors so that you can support local and global hunger agencies.
Walk materials can be picked up at the Church World Service office (call first – 512-451-2062, 6633 Highway 290 East, Suite 108, Austin, TX 78723), or at the Capital Area Food Bank (M-F, 9am-4pm, 8201 S. Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78745).

The Austin CROP Hunger Walk will be at Walter E Long Park (6614 Blue Bluff Rd., Austin, TX 78724) on Saturday, March 3rd (registration at 9:30am) and Sunday, March 4th (registration at 1:45pm). You can walk on either day you choose. For more detailed event information, please click here.  About $85,000 was raised in 2011 to alleviate hunger in our community and around the world.

If you have any questions or need some support to make your CROP Hunger Walk experience successful, you can contact Trevor Maloney (415-774-6644,

SWTX UMC Conference Event – ReThink Green – March 3

Saturday March 3, 2012 9am to 4pm @ Gruene UMC

Part of being good stewards is taking care of God’s creation, the earth. This fun, informative event will not only inspire, but will give participants real, practical things they can do at their local church and in their daily life. The event starts with a morning worship and plenary session for everyone, followed by six breakout sessions. Have kids, bring them! Child care will be provided for the young ones, and a special program for elementary age kids will be offered that ties into the main event.

Keynote Speaker:  John Hill, Director for Economic and Environmental Justice for the
UMC General Board of Church and Society

Cost: $20 at the door.  Childcare will be provided.

For more information, go to

Austin District Superintendent Transfers to Tarrytown

Austin District Superintendent Bobbi Kaye Jones has been appointed to be the Senior Pastor at Tarrytown UMC (Austin), effective July 1, 2012.  No replacement has been announced as yet.  This move is among two dozen retirements and transfers that have been announced by Bishop Dorff.  For the Conference announcement, click here.


Notes from the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty:

Thanks to everyone who has sent letters to, faxed, or called the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Rick Perry to request a reprieve for Anthony Bartee.  Bartee has received a reprieve so that DNA testing can be conducted on two strands of hair found in the hands of the victim, David Cook.  According to the Associated Press and reported in the Houston Chronicle, State District Judge Mary Roman withdrew the execution warrant earlier this week.  Bartee had been scheduled for execution on February 28, 2012.

According to Rico Valdez, an assistant Bexar County district attorney who handles capital case appeals, “What we’re doing now is looking into which labs are capable of doing the testing in the shortest amount of time.”

Read the full article in the Houston Chronicle.

Read background information about the case.

George Rivas is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas on Wednesday, February 29, 2012. Please consider attending a vigil in your area to express your opposition to the death penalty and to reflect on all those impacted by this punishment and violence in our society.

IEN Solar Energy Symposium

The Interfaith Environmental Network of Austin

Invites You to Attend

“Solar Energy:
Pragmatics + Opportunities for Austin, Now”

This month’s symposium features an open discussion and Q&A with

Karl Rábago (VP Distributed Energy Services, Austin Energy)

Bob Murray (Consultant, former GM Seattle City Light)

Mike Sloan (Founder and President, Virtus Energy)

Stan Pipkin (Managing Director, Lighthouse Solar)

This spectacular panel of solar electricity experts will address exciting opportunities for cooperative purchasing of solar panel equipment for homes and houses of worship, good news in today’s solar industry, practical steps for participating in cost reduction programs, and much more.

Join us! These are exciting times for incorporating solar energy into your world. Come learn from some of the nation’s finest about what you and your congregation can do to save money and become more effective environmental stewards.

When: Tuesday March 6, 7pm to 8:30pm

Where: St. David’s Episcopal Church

301 E 8th St. (downtown Austin)

Free parking on site.



The Austin District has raised over $700,000 for Imagine No Malaria. That money represents thousands upon thousands of lives saved. As we continue to reach out to our neighbors across the world we are also looking to reach out to our neighbors in our own back yard. And we are going to make it happen with a good Austin-style event.

– during SXSW
– on Tuesday, March 13
– from 5pm to midnight
– in the parking lot of Faith UMC at 2701 S Lamar


-great local live music for all tastes

– food trailer favorite East Side King (famously associated with Top Chef contestant Paul Qui)
– stories from those intimately connected to this cause
– ways to connect to new and old friends of the cause from across the city
– resources to mobilize you and your community to be a part of providing life where malaria once was.

Follow us on the District web page and on Facebook for more information.

“Occupy Southby” Events

Occupy Austin is planning a full week of events during the South by Southwest festival that comes to Austin every Spring.  Highlights will include:

March 11th – 16th Teach Ins and Performances.  Venue TBD.  Monday the 12th will be themed around spirituality and faith traditions.  There will be Christians, Buddhists and Native American Traditions represented.

March 16th – The Occupy Party of SXSW.  Venue and Artist TBA!  Just wait – you won’t want to miss this one….

March 17th – 12 noon, State Capitol – Occupy Austin is partnering with Million Musicians March for Peace for a program and parade.  The following musicians have been confirmed:  Guy Forsyth, Carolyn Wonderland, Shelley King, Michael Fracasso, Leeann Atherton, Andy Corwin, Bill Oliver….

Look for updates at

You want to be a part of this Occupation.  We want you to be a part, too!

April Meeting Focuses on General Conference Issues

At our monthly chapter meeting on April 12, Jay Brim, the SWTX Conference Lay Leader and the leader of laity delegates to General Conference, will be present to discuss the foremost issues to be addressed by GC2012 in Tampa.  Hundreds of petitions and resolutions have been presented, along with significant proposals to restructure the administrative agencies of the United Methodist Church.

Jay is a member of Westlake UMC and has long been a friend of MFSA.  He has been a member of the UMC General Council for Finance and Administration (1996-2004), a delegate to General Conference and a delegate to the South Central Jurisdictional Conference.  He is a member of the UMC Connectional Table, an official entity formed to serve as both the visioning body of the church and the steward of resources to carry out the vision of the denomination worldwide.

General Conference 2012 – Tampa, FL

The General Conference of the United Methodist Church meets every four years (quadrennium). Legislative changes are recorded in The Book of Discipline which is revised after each General Conference.  Non-legislative resolutions are recorded in the Book of Resolutions, which is published after each General Conference, and expire after eight years unless passed again by a subsequent session of General Conference.  The last General Conference was held in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2008.  The next General Conference will be April 25 – May 4, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.

The UM General Conference essentially sets all policies and direction of the denomination.  There currently exist certain aspects of the denomination’s policies that are opposed by progressive groups such as MFSA.  The General Conference in Tampa will be the place where such policies are changed or retained.  For information on GC, the legislative process, and proposed changes to the Book of Discipline and the Book of Resolutions, follow this link.

MFSA is offering three petitions to General Conference 2012 as an alternative vision to the “Call to Action” proposals. It is our hope that together we might find once again what it means to be a connectional people of God’s grace and love at work in the world.  Click here to view the 3 models of UMC structure before us: Current Structure, the Call to Action proposal, and A New United Methodist Administrative Order.

Once again the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA), the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) and Affirmation will be coordinating housing and volunteer activities. Many plans are still being worked out.  Volunteer opportunities abound for progressive United Methodists who are committed to justice and are willing/able to attend General Conference in Florida.

Some SWTX members are planning to attend all or portions of General Conference.  We have rented a house near downtown Tampa; you are invited to join us at the low price of $25 per person per night!  If you are interested in attending or volunteering, go to the websites below or contact

For more information, go to, or

MFSA Legislative Priorities General Conference 2012

  1. Manifest God’s hospitality to all persons
  2. Follow the example of Christ’s non-violent love
  3. Promote racial and interfaith justice and reconciliation
  4. Demand justice for those who are most vulnerable
  5. Work for a fully participatory church where all voices are heard
  6. Support Peace in the Middle East
  7. Support for sexuality education and the moral agency of women in reproductive health matters
  8. Protect human rights and civil liberties
  9. Protect planet earth
  10. Affirm the openness of our Wesleyan tradition

Read more and sign the Love of God and Neighbor Statement, A Common Witness to General Conference 2012:

Economic Justice in the Age of Inequality

A conference and workshop featuring Gary Dorrien and Joerg Rieger – April 27 & 28, 2012

Friday, April 27, 7:00 p.m.

University United Methodist Church

2409 Guadalupe St., Austin TX 78705

Free parking available

Childcare available. Email

Social critic and theologian Gary Dorrien kicks off this weekend gathering on economic justice and faith.  He will speak on “Breaking the Oligarchy.”  Dorrien is an Episcopal priest, and professor at Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary.  He is also a frequent contributor to PBS programs such as Bill Moyers’ Journal and the author of fourteen books including Social Ethics in the Making: Interpreting an American Tradition; and The Making of American Liberal Theology.

Saturday, April 28, 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Third Coast Activist Resource Center

5604 Manor Road, Austin TX 78723

Lunch: $10

What are the most effective ways to build a more equitable world?  Today’s sessions will outline the contributions theology can make to our understanding of social justice.  Several speakers will describe organizing efforts in the community that are putting principles into action.

The featured speaker this morning is Southern Methodist University professor Joerg Rieger, speaking on “Empire and Economics: The Difference Christianity Makes.”  He is author of No Rising Tide: Theology, Economics, and the Future. We will also hear from representatives from the Workers Defense Project and Cooperation Texas.  Lunch at noon will feature a conversation on faith and justice between Gary Dorrien and Joerg Rieger, our main speakers for the weekend.


University United Methodist Church (

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (

Third Coast Activist Center (