Return From GC 2012 In Tampa

The United Methodist Church’s quadrennial General Conference took place in Tampa, Florida from April 24 to May 4.  Austin members of our SWTX-MFSA Chapter who were in attendance for a portion or all of the conference were Robbie and Tom Ausley, Richard Bates and Joe Santoyo, Joy Butler, Janice and Rowland Curry, Deana Henry, Sid and Angela Hall, David Mauzy, Anne Mund, Anita Privett, Sarah Howell (Delegate) and Jay Brim (Delegate).

What can we say?  Despite the efforts of hundreds of Love Your Neighbor Coalition leaders and volunteers, social justice issues got beat up pretty badly at this GC, and it could have been worse if not for our efforts.  In our Tabernacle, we sang, prayed, planned, took Communion, heard inspiring messages, met new friends, and ate well.  Across the street, we had songs, flash mob dances, street theater, candlelight vigils, silent witnesses, non-so-silent protest demonstrations (no arrests!).  On Sunday, the Coalition presented a wonderful worship service featuring Rev. Dr. James Cone, author of “The Cross and the Lynching Tree”.  In the meeting rooms and plenary hall, we were subjected to hateful language and found ourselves losing ground instead of making inroads to a more inclusive church.  By the first week’s end, it was clear that we needed to switch to defense to block further erosion of social justice.  At one point, a proposal to add language to the Social Principles that “God’s grace is available to all – nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus” passed – but only by 56%!  [Read that last sentence again!]  In the end, a great number of petitions and resolutions that would have done even further harm were not considered on the plenary floor as time ran out.

The restructuring of the UMC ran into its own problems.  Three major plans – the Call to Action, MFSA Plan, and “Plan B” were all defeated in committee, leading to the development of “Plan-UMC”, which was passed by the conference.  However, based on an appeal by the LYN Coalition, the UMC’s Judicial Council ruled with 5 hours left in the conference that Plan-UMC violated the UMC’s Constitution.  So the organization of the UMC continues as before.

Some helpful links to review the details: – UMC web site – Love Your Neighbor Coalition web site – MFSA web site – RMN web site – Great sermon by Bishop Talbert – Great summary by Dr. Dorothee Benz – GBCS Summary (Southwest-TX-Chapter-MFSA) – SWTX MFSA Chapter facebook site with pictures and video (use the link at the bottom of this newsletter)

Chapter Meeting – Thursday, May 10

May MFSA Meeting Will Focus on Possible Unification of SWTX and
Rio Grande Conferences

Meeting at Emmanuel UMC, 200 Brushy Street, Austin. TX 78702

May 10, 7:00pm

The Reverend Edward Garcia, Pastor of Emmanuel UMC in Austin, will share his perspectives on the ongoing process of the Unification Steering Team.   Some of the questions that the  Unification Steering Committee explored include the following:

  • Is it time to look at new models of ministry for our common life?
  • Can we support and resource our local churches more effectively together than we can apart?
  • Can we deploy our financial and personnel resources more effectively by being one conference than we can by continuing as two?
  • Is our strength of disciple-making in our oneness or our separateness?

This will be discussed and voted on at Annual Conference in June.
Read more about the unification plan in the Pre-Conference Report, page 14.

We will gather at in the Emmanuel UMC Fellowship Hall at 6:30pm for snacks & mingling.  The program begins at 7:00.  We hope to see you there!  Anyone wanting to carpool from Saint John’s, please email Janice Curry,

SWTX Annual Conference Luncheon – Friday, June 8

Growth Through Justice

All are invited to attend the Second Annual Peace and Justice Luncheon at the Southwest Texas Annual Conference in Corpus Christi, TX on Friday, June 8.  The luncheon is a cooperative effort by our MFSA chapter, the Conference Board of Church and Society, and the conference’s Reconciling Ministries Team. The theme for this year’s luncheon is “Growth Through Justice”.

We are honored to have Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the UMC General Board of Church and Society, as our speaker at the 2012 Luncheon.  Mr. Winkler has served as general secretary of the General Board of Church & Society (GBCS), the international public policy and social justice agency of The United Methodist Church since November, 2000.  As the chief executive of the board, Jim leads a staff of 22 who seek the implementation of the Church’s Social Principles through education, witness, and advocacy.  The board carries out a wide-ranging ministry of peace and justice throughout the world with offices in Washington, DC and New York City.

Mr. Winkler is a member of the Justice and Advocacy Commission of the National Council of Churches of the United States of America, a member of the steering committee of the Campaign for Health Care Now, a board member of several organizations including the Faith and Politics Institute, Churches for the Middle East Peace, and Africa Action.

Jim Winkler is the son, brother, nephew and great grandson of United Methodist preachers and United Methodist Women. He studied history at the University of Illinois and George Mason University. After graduation from college, Jim served as a short-term missionary with the Pacific Conference of Churches in Suva, Fiji. At the Board of Church and Society he held the position of Seminar Designer, Director of Annual Conference Relations and Assistant General Secretary of Resourcing Congregational Life before his nomination as General Secretary.

For more details of the luncheon and the registration form,

Please contact Janice Curry

Or, download the form at

Or, download from the Pre-Conference Report on page 134:

Creating a Culture of Inclusivity – Training at Annual Conference

Training and Helping with Monitoring at Annual Conference

The Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW) and the General Commission on Religion and Race (GCRR) are co-sponsoring a new monitoring tools training.  Our shared goal is to provide our annual conference leaders more constructive & comprehensive data toward intentional, invitational inclusivity in our churches. “Holding Up the Mirror” training will be from 9-12 on Thursday June 7th in Corpus Christi at the Convention Center, which hosts our Annual Conference every year (1901 N. Shoreline Blvd).  We will ask all the trained monitors to select various events at Annual Conference where they will serve as monitors!

What is a Monitor?  A monitor is aware of the life and commitment of the United Methodist Church to full and equal participation by all.  A monitor acts to promote that participation. Training will encourage: Respect, love, healthy conflict management and healthy relationships, using sound biblical and theological foundations.  Diversity is not to be “tolerated” but sought, affirmed, and developed as a benefit to the whole group.  It is not about “political correctness,” but about justice.

And, if you attend Annual Conference, you can also help with the MFSA/RMN booth and attend the Church and Society/MFSA/RMN Social Justice Luncheon with a wonderful speaker, Jim Winkler of Church and Society!

For more information, please contact Deana Henry or Pat Stewart .

Book Fair at Annual Conference Supports Social Action

We Need Your Books for MFSA Fundraising!

For the past few years, our MFSA chapter has been collecting gently used religious and spiritual books from our members and friends, and offering them for sale/donation at our Annual Conference booth.  We will do that again this year if we can collect enough books, so clean out your closets or shelves.  Please contact Rowland Curry ( who will arrange to pick them up.  The deadline is June 3.

SWTX Conference United Methodist Women Luncheon

A New Thing

God is about to do a new thing. Isaiah 43:19
Saturday, June 09, 2012 – 12:15 pm

American Bank Center, 2nd Floor, Water Garden A

1901 Shoreline Dr., Corpus Christi, TX

Speaker: Barbara Dorff

Educator, active United Methodist Woman and wife of Bishop Jim Dorff

Cost:  $22 until May 22;  May 23-31 plates are $25

Catered by Marco & Co. – Main Entrée: Chicken Breast Florentine.  Very limited tickets may be available after May 31 at the Caterer’s discretion

Mail with Check Payable to SWTC UMW

% Joyce Elaine Fish, Registrar, 746 St Pius Drive, Corpus Christi, TX 78412

Questions? Call 361-992-1344 or email or website  Childcare is available off site at First United Methodist Church during lunch only from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm for a fee of $6.00.

Child Care is Available at Annual Conference

If you would like to go to Annual Conference for the Peace and Justice Luncheon, but you would need childcare, you are in luck.  The SWTC event for children of conference participants offers more than just childcare.  This informal Christian event includes art, crafts, games, movies, field trips and recreation appropriate to age level – all supervised by caring, screened adults.

In order to ensure enough space and staff, reservations are required.  Registration forms must be postmarked by Monday, May 21, 2012.  See details at:

Austin District Conference and Celebration of Bobbi Kaye Jones’ Service as District Superintendent

On Sunday, May 20 at 3:00 p.m., the Austin District Conference will be held at Emmanuel UMC (2nd and Brushy, off the I-35 access road).

At 4:00, there will be a presentation from the conference Unification Steering Team to discuss unification.  It is important that all Annual Conference delegates know about this proposal.  This will be our last presentation prior to Annual Conference.

At the close of the meetings (around 5:30) there will be a celebration of Bobbi Kaye Jones’ service to the district.  She has led our district well, and she has been a voice for social justice.  We don’t have to say goodbye – her next appointment is to Tarrytown UMC.  All of these meetings are open to all.