Next Chapter Meeting – Thursday, September 13

 September MFSA Meeting Will Focus on

Who votesWho decidesStay tuned! 

Saint John’s UMC, 2140 Allandale Rd, Austin, TX 78756

September 13, 7:00pm

Rebecca Robertson, Legal and Policy Director of the ACLU of Texas, will share with us information about the recent voter identification laws and the possible impact of these laws in disenfranchising voters.  Last week, the D.C. District Court denied the State of Texas request to preclear the requirement that all voters show one of a limited number of photo IDs at the polls. The Texas ID requirements that have been in effect for several years will continue to be in effect at the polls for the Nov. 6 General Election. The ruling came just two days after a federal panel said lawmakers had violated the Voting Rights Act in drawing boundaries for congressional and state legislative districts.  U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer, appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush in 2002, sat on both panels and joined both rulings. Opponents of the voter ID laws say that they unlawfully reduce the ability of the poor, minority, and disabled to effectively exercise their electoral rights.

Jan Dawes will share information about opportunities to be trained to register voters and to assist in voter registration efforts in Travis County. The deadline for registering to vote in the 2012 Presidential Election is October 9.  For more information visit  An excellent source of voter information is the League of Women Voters website

We will gather at in the Saint John’s UMC, 2140 Allandale Rd, Austin at 6:30pm for snacks & mingling.  The program begins at 7:00.  We hope to see you there!

Austin’s Pride Parade 2012 – Saturday, September 22 at 8pm

In Support of Inclusivity


The SWTX Reconciling Ministries Team and SWTX MFSA will participate in the 2012 Austin Pride Parade on Saturday, Sept 22 at 8pm!  Walkers will walk in support of full inclusion of LGBT persons in the United Methodist Church and in society.

This year, entries will line up at the State Capitol and proudly march down Congress Avenue and through the 4th Street Warehouse District. Limited free parking available at First UMC lot, and also at the surface lot next to the Texas Oil and Gas Association building, next to the FUMC Family Life Center, 13th and Lavaca.  Carpooling is encouraged. For more information visit Austin Pride Parade:!events.

The deadline for registering for the parade has passed, but a few spots remain. Contact Joy Butler if you are interested in participating and you have not registered.  .

From the SWTX RM Team-MFSA Pride Parade Organizing Team:

“We are looking forward to a wonderful Pride Parade.  We are expecting at least 150 Methodists to march this year, a significant increase over last year’s 44.  Please bear with us as we “gear up” to meet the challenges of organizing this larger group.  Please contact us with any questions or concerns. THANK YOU for your support!!”

Save the Date – RMN WORKSHOP JANUARY 18-19  

Reconciling Ministries is looking for lay people who can spend a Friday afternoon and Saturday learning how to be a Reconciling coach for other churches.  Travis Park UMC will host this event.   Seating is limited to 40 and many spots are already reserved. To reserve your seat, contact Joy Butler:

SWTX Reconciling Ministries Team Facebook  –

Bethany UMC – Step Up for Africa Run & Walk – September 15

5K Run/1 Mile Family Fun Walk

Saturday, September 15, 2012, 8:30 am

Brushy Creek Lake Park, Cypress Pavilion

3300 Brushy Creek Road
Cedar Park, Texas, 78613

You are invited to Step Up for Africa 5K Run/1 Mile Family Fun Walk, commemorating our 2011 Step Into Africa event and the beginning of Bethany’s long-term partnership with the community of Matete, Kenya.  Our goal is to inspire healthy lifestyle changes and develop generosity of spirit while training for this event, changing the lives of givers and recipients in Austin and in Africa. Proceeds from Step Up For Africa will help provide clean water in Matete. This is a timed, no-frills 5K and a one-mile family fun walk. Invite your friends and neighbors!


  • Carry water-filled containers used every day in Africa
  • Play on inflatables
  • Learn about the need for clean water
  • Listen to live music by Messengers of Grace
  • Learn about our first year of partnering with Matete
  • Assemble Bags of Grace for Austin’s homeless
  • Sponsor a child from Matete

Registration & a training devotional are available at:

$15 for 5K, $25 per family for 1 Mile Fun Walk.

Financial sponsorship of the event is also available.

Questions? Contact Cindi Deviney at or 918-2058. Thank you!

TCADP – Month of Faith in Action on the Death Penalty

A House Concert with Sara Hickman and Shelley King

Sunday, September 16, 2012, 5:00 to 7:00 PM

The Home of Sara Hickman and Lance Schriner, Austin, Texas 78704

Please join the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP) and friends on Sunday, September 16, 2012 for a special night of music, food, and fellowship! Singer-songwriter and TCADP Advisory Board Member Sara Hickman and her family will graciously open their home that evening for a house concert featuring the music of Sara and fellow songstress Shelley King.  You won’t want to miss these two former Official Texas State Musicians when their powerful voices for love, peace, & justice come together!!

Seating is limited, so purchase your tickets today!  Proceeds from this house concert will benefit TCADP and its upcoming event featuring Sister Helen Prejean, the noted speaker and author of Dead Man Walking. That event (which is free of charge and open to the public) will take place on Friday, October 12, 2012 at 7:00 at St. Edward’s University.  A limited number of VIP packages are available and include front-row seating at the concert and an invitation to a private reception with Sister Helen.

General Admission Tickets (1 per person) are $50. Four VIP packages are available for $200 – these include front-row seating at the house concert for two people plus admission to an intimate reception with Sister Helen Prejean before her speaking event on Friday, October 12 at St. Edward’s University in Austin. This small, invitation-only reception will take place from 5:45 to 6:45 PM at St. Ed’s.

Tickets and VIP packages can be purchased online from TCADP or by sending a check, payable to TCADP, to: 2709 S. Lamar, Austin, TX 78704.  If paying by check, please indicate “Sara Hickman concert” in the memo line and tell us how many seats you’d like to reserve; also, please provide an email address and/or phone number with your check so that we can contact you with more details about the concert.  Seating is limited, so purchase your tickets today!

A Faithful Conversation with Sr. Helen Prejean on the Death Penalty

On October 12 at St. Edward’s University, Jones Auditorium at 7:00pm,  Sr. Helen Prejean will host a conversation with Dr. John Elford, Senior Pastor of University United Methodist Church and Rev. Nestor Menjivar, pastor of Principe de Paz (Prince of Peace) Baptist Church.

The conversation will include the challenges of moving Texas away from a culture of vengeance toward a culture of accountability that does not rely on the death penalty; how faith leaders and people of faith can take a more proactive role in educating their congregations about this issue;  and  the challenges of addressing the death penalty from the pulpit.  As Sr. Helen states, “I realize that I cannot stand by silently as my government executes its citizens. If I do not speak out and resist, I am an accomplice.”

Reserve your tickets today! Free to the public.  You will receive a confirmation email that will serve as your ticket!

RSVP-A Faithful Conversation on the Death Penalty w/ Sr. Helen Prejean

Miss Representation – A Documentary on Women & Media

 The documentary, Miss Representation, by Jennifer Siebel Newsom premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, and aired on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. The film explores how the media’s misrepresentations of women have led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.

ACC East View Campus auditorium – 3401 Webberville Road,  Austin, TX 78702

Tuesday, Sept. 25 – 6:00 pm

Presented by Austin Women VoteOur goal is to register and inform young women about voting. Our coalition includes the League of Women Voters, National Women’s Political Caucus Education Foundation, American Association of University Women, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Austin Alumnae Chapter,Travis County Women Lawyers Association, and Las Comadres.


Join the conversation! Register to Vote! Free Food and drinks!


What in the World is a Single Member District? 10-1 or 8-2-1?

Tuesday, September 11

6:30 pm

Southwest Key

6002 Jain Lane, Austin

Did you know that Austin residents will be voting on single-member districts for Austin City Council representation on November 6?   There are two plans on the ballot—the 10-1 plan—and the hybrid 8-2-1 plan.  The grassroots citizen group Austinites for Geographic Representation (AGR) gathered 30,000 signatures in support of 10-1, which automatically placed the plan on November’s ballot.  On Tuesday, September 11, join the Southwest Key meeting to explore, What in the World is a Single Member District?  Find out what it means for YOU at a Town Hall meeting. Contact Daniel Llanes –, or Valerie Joiner 462-2181 for more information.

i-Act – Interfaith Action of Central Texas


The Red Bench: Interfaith Conversations that Matter is a dialogue program 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.

The Red Bench meets at the “Family Life Center” of First United Methodist Church at 1300 Lavaca Street in downtown Austin. A light meal is served from 6:30-7:00 PM and the conversation runs from 7:00-8:30 PM.

The Fall 2012 season will begin on Thursday, September 27 at 6:30 PM. (Please note the change of time and day for this dialogue!) Heading into the political season we will be focusing on “Drawing the Line: Religion and the State.”  
RSVP for this conversation at

In October we will move back to our usual “last Tuesday” date and will meet on Tuesday, October 30 at 6:30 PM. Our topic will be “Civility & Polarization.” RSVP for this conversation at

We will close out our fall programs on Tuesday, November 27 at 6:30 PM with a conversation about “Authenticity.”
RSVP for this conversation at

For those interested in being trained as a Red Bench Table Host, we will be conducting a Host training session on Tuesday, September 11th from 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM. RSVP for this training at


Before you vote…Attend iACT’s Health and Housing Forum

by Tom Spencer, CEO of iACT  

We are so blessed to live in Austin, Texas! Our economy continues to outperform the rest of the nation and we live in a beautiful community brimming with genuinely creative and hospitable souls. However, many of our neighbors are feeling less welcomed than before… housing prices are pushing working families out of our city and decent healthcare is beyond the reach of thousands more.

This November, Austin voters will be asked to approve two ballot propositions that can help address these pressing moral concerns: An Affordable Housing Bond Package and an initiative that would create a new University of Texas Teaching Hospital.

In order to help keep our faith community partners informed about these issues, iACT in partnership with The Seton Healthcare Network, will be holding a Health and Housing Forum for clergy and all interested Austin citizens during the lunch hour on Monday, October the 8th, 2012 from noon – 1:30 PM. We are inviting you to come, enjoy a wholesome meal, and learn about the difference that communities of faith can make in addressing these crucial concerns. The Health and Housing Forum will be held at the Dell Children’s Medical Center Auditorium, 4900 Mueller Blvd., Austin, Texas 78723.

Please mark your calendars now for this important community forum! You may RSVP by sending an e-mail to or by calling Jason Erick Taylor at (512) 386-9145 x 303


Night Under One Sky

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum.


“We may be of different tribes, but we all live under one sky.”

A Night Under One Sky is a sacred evening of dining and dialogue in celebration of the relationships we have and those we hope to build. A Night Under One Sky has become a truly beloved tradition in our community. It celebrates the notion that there is common ground we can all walk in search of peace and harmony in this world. The setting is magical. The food is delightful. The music is inspiring. The conversation is uplifting.

This year, A Night Under One Sky will feature a special guest: Rev. Dr. Wes Magruder, senior associate pastor at First Rowlett United Methodist Church in Rowlett, Texas. Rev. Magruder recently attracted international attention when decided to join his friend, Imam Yaseen Shaikh of Plano, in observing the Ramadan fast. He wrote about the experience on his personal blog, offering insights into the practice of fasting and how his interaction with his Muslim friends deepened his Christian faith. For more information contact Simone Talma Flowers at (512) 386-9145 x302 or send an e-mail to

PBS Will Present Half the Sky on October 1 & 2

Coming as a special presentation of Independent Lens October 1 and 2, 2012

A landmark transmedia project featuring a four-hour PBS primetime national and international broadcast event, a Facebook-hosted social action game, mobile games, two websites, educational video modules with companion text, a social media campaign supporting over 30 partner NGOs, and an impact assessment plan all inspired by Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, the widely acclaimed book by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

Half the Sky filmed in 10 countries, following Kristof, WuDunn, and celebrity activists America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union and Olivia Wilde on a journey to tell the stories of inspiring, courageous individuals.  Across the globe oppression is being confronted, and real meaningful solutions are being fashioned through health care, education, and economic empowerment for women and girls.  The linked problems of sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence, and maternal mortality — which needlessly claim one woman every 90 seconds — present to us the single most vital opportunity of our time: the opportunity to make a change. All over the world women are seizing this opportunity. Watch the trailer at

Faith and Reason Workshop in San Antonio

OCTOBER 12 – 13, 2012




Amy-Jill Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies, and Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School and College of Arts and Sciences.  She holds the B.A. from Smith College, the M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University, and honorary doctorates from Christian Theological Seminary, Drury University, the University of Richmond, the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, and the University of South Carolina-Upstate.

This seminar is in partnership with THE WORK SHOP, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Temple Bethel, Trinity University, Oblate School of Theology, Church of Reconciliation, The SoL Center at University Presbyterian Church, all of San Antonio, Texas, and Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, TX.

COST:  $35.00    

To register, visit or CLICK HERE.

The D. L. Dykes, Jr. Foundation

“Courageous Conversations” on Race

Saturday, October 7 – The TX Health & Human Services Center for Elimination of Disproportionality & Disparities hosts: First Saturday’s Courageous Conversations on Race

“Courageous Conversation” the first Saturday of each month fosters dialogue among people throughout the community to develop better understanding and to dispel stereotypes. St. James Episcopal Church Founder’s Hall, 1941 Webberville Rd., 9 -11:30.  Town Hall meeting from 1:30 – 4:00pm.


Breaking Schools’ Rules: A Statewide Study of How School Discipline Relates to Students’ Success and Juvenile Justice Involvement

Millions of U.S. public school students in grades K-12 are suspended or expelled in an academic school year, particularly students in middle and high school. Research demonstrates that when students are removed from the classroom as a disciplinary measure, the odds increase dramatically that they will repeat a grade, drop out, or become involved in the juvenile justice system. These negative consequences disproportionately affect children of color as well as students with special needs. Policymakers and practitioners have a growing need to identify strategies for effectively managing students’ behavior and aligning schools’ policies in order to support student engagement and learning, and reduce poor academic outcomes and juvenile justice contact. Although some states and local governments have taken promising steps to address these issues, decision makers and front-line practitioners lack a comprehensive, multisystem approach to making school discipline more effective.

Visit to see the report that was referenced at the September Courageous Conversations meeting.


Every Friday – At weekly Friday forums, activists from churches, law enforcement, NAACP, AISD, ACC, and other organizations, report on progress of ongoing projects. 9 -10am at the NAACP office at 1704 E 12th St.

Contact Jan Dawes or Janice Curry for more information.

2012 – 2013 MFSA Local Program Focus

With General Conference behind us and the November Election and the 83rd Texas Legislature ahead of us, this year’s focus for the SWTX Chapter of MFSA will include State and Federal issues.  Upcoming meeting topics include the following:

  • Voter ID Laws – What is the possible impact in Texas and other states on the November election?
  • Death Penalty – What is our response?  Seminar with Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking, in October.
  • Environmental Stewardship – What is “fracking” and what is its possible environmental impact?
  • Immigration – How do churches respond?
  • Racism – How can we become involved in local actions to improve racial relations?
  • Gun Control – How do we start a conversation about guns and violence?

Some of our action items will include volunteering for voter registration, BOPA recycling event, Pride Parade, MLK March, and legislative actions.  Join us as we explore the possibilities of change as we work together for social justice!