Texas Impact Announces New Research and Education Affiliate, The Texas Interfaith Center For Public Policy

Leaders of the 40-year-old interfaith group Texas Impact today announced the formal launch of a partner organization. The new Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy is a faith-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to help people of faith participate effectively in public policy discussions concerning broadly shared religious social concerns through non-partisan education on policy issues and training in civic participation.

Visit the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy online

Texas Impact president Reverend T. Randall Smith of Tyler said the Interfaith Center will be an important resource for Texas faith communities that care about the common good but are leery of becoming entangled in partisan politics.

Board member Beaman Floyd of Austin said the Interfaith Center’s mission includes a strong focus on training faith communities and their members in effective, nonpartisan communication. “The Interfaith Center is committed to helping people of faith become well-educated, well-rounded, resourceful citizens who engage and encourage other people to become involved in religious, social and cultural matters that stir their conscience,” said Floyd.

The Interfaith Center is based in Austin, Texas and is governed by a volunteer board that includes clergy and lay leaders from diverse faith traditions and areas of the state. The Center’s staff brings significant theological, public policy, communications and popular education background and represents diverse faith perspectives.

Trinity UMC, Austin – 20 Years as Reconciling Congregation

Join Trinity in celebrating 20 years of being a Reconciling Congregation!

November 9

6:30 PM – 9:00 PM

First UMC Family Life Center
1300 Lavaca St. – Austin

Speaker: Mark Bowman, Founder of Reconciling Ministries Network

  • Tickets: $50/adult; $25/ages 10 – 22
  • Scholarships are available – please don’t let finances keep you from coming!
  • Silent Auction
  • Catered Meal
  • Fun & Fellowship!


Arm Chair Activism

Some of our readers have asked us to include petition requests that they are passionate about.  If you have similar petitions to share, please send the link to rcurry@austin.rr.com.

From Jan Dawes:  Tell China: Don’t built a coal plant in Texas. 


From John Yeaman:  The electronic media — TV and radio: On political ads show the Politifact truth meter for that ad.


From David Strong:  Sign the petition to the Council of Bishops in Support of Bishop Talbert.

In September 1960, a young pastor named Melvin Talbert was arrested and jailed alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. for sitting in at a segregated lunch counter. He went on to become a bishop in the United Methodist Church and serve as president of the National Council of Churches.

Fifty years later, Bishop Talbert is under attack again – this time for calling on Methodist pastors to join him in an “act of biblical obedience” by putting Jesus’ commandment to love our neighbors ahead of “immoral and unjust” church rules that prohibit same-sex marriage.

Now a group of conservative pastors are accusing him of “advocating anarchy and chaos” and demanding that the Methodist Council of Bishops take action to “hold those who have been disobedient .. accountable for their inflammatory actions.”

This story has gotten some media attention, and we’ve got a chance to show the world how everyday Christians are standing in solidarity with Bishop Talbert as he continues to struggle against the church’s discriminatory policies towards LGBT people.

Will you join me in standing with Melvin Talbert? Sign this petition to the United Methodist Council of Bishops:


From Janice Curry:  Like I Stand With Bishop Talbert on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/IStandWithBishopTalbert.  As a project of the Reconciling Ministries Clergy, “I Stand With Bishop Talbert” is a direct action witness in support of Bishop Melvin Talbert and other episcopal leaders who are seeking justice and inclusivity in The United Methodist Church.

The Other Convention: A Church Votes on Gay Rights

A short documentary about General Conference 2012, by Adithya Sambamurthy

From California Watch:  Methodists are among the last mainline Protestant holdouts on the topic of homosexuality. Karen Oliveto, pastor of San Francisco’s Glide Memorial United Methodist Church, is bound and determined to change that at the 2012 General Conference in Tampa, Fla., just steps away from the site of the Republican National Convention. Similar to a political convention, the question of whether homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching will be the subject of intense lobbying, heated debate, close committee votes and, if Oliveto and the progressive faction are successful, a decision on the convention floor.

But the conservatives, bolstered by large and rapidly growing Methodist congregations in Africa, are just as determined – and they believe they have the Old Testament on their side. The two factions are destined for a showdown at the convention. This is the story of what happened. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LydlOEXTjSE&feature=plcp

Sambamurthy shot and edited this documentary for the Center for Investigative Reporting just launched on The I Files, CIR’s video channel. He is working on a fuller version for KQED (Northern California PBS member station), which will be broadcast later this year.

MFSA Still Needs Your Support!

Please join with us as we connect progressive United Methodists in putting faith into action!

Membership in MFSA is not predicated on ability to pay.  We do not have “dues”.  However, our Chapter and the National Office need funding each year for programs and activities.  Membership gifts and special giving are always appreciated. MFSA is classified as a 501(c)(3) organization by the IRS.   Membership gifts to MFSA are tax deductible as provided by law.

There are several easy ways to join or support MFSA.

  • You can log onto the national MFSA website, http://www.mfsaweb.org and follow the instructions there (you can safely use a credit card). Please indicate that you are part of the SWTX Chapter.
  • Or, you can mail a check made out to “SWTX – MFSA” to our Treasurer, Janice Curry, at 1509 Mearns Meadow Blvd, Austin 78758.  The suggested donation is $60, but any amount is welcome.  Thanks for your support!

We have eight monthly meetings per year, generally on the second Thursday of the month.  We communicate using monthly electronic newsletters & updates to our website and Facebook page.