March Chapter Meeting – Thursday, March 14

A Conversation About Gun Laws And Gun Violence

Brady campaignWhat are the gun laws in Texas?  Where may you take and not take a loaded handgun?  How is the Texas Legislature working to loosen Texas gun laws in 2013?

Will guns soon be allowed on all college and university campuses (classrooms, libraries, labs, public spaces) in Texas by law?

What has been the effect of the Newtown CT school massacre on the Texas Legislature, as well as state houses in other Western states?

Our guest speaker will be Nina Butts, with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.  Nina has lived in Austin since 1977, and founded Texans Against Gun Violence with Bruce Elfant and Debby Tucker in 1993.  She grew up in Dallas, and was an eyewitness to President Kennedy’s motorcade after he was shot on Nov 22 1963.  She was a Contributing Writer for Texas Observer 1981- 1985, and ran for Congress in the Tenth Congressional District of TX in 1986.  Nina was a full time registered lobbyist for Texans Against Gun Violence in 2 sessions of the Texas Legislature (1999 and 2001) and helped initiate the gun law linked to domestic violence that was signed by Rick Perry in 2001.  In addition to continuing activism, Nina teaches English at Austin Community College.

Come at 6:30 p.m. for snacks and mingling; the program begins at 7p.m. Invite your friends and neighbors – all are welcome.

Texas My Medicaid Matters – March and Rally

Thanks to Bee Morehead of Texas Impact for presenting our Valentine’s Day program.  There are many Texas issues that concern people of faith.  Bee encouraged us to stay informed and contact our Legislators to express our concerns. Here is one of the issues that is of interest:

Medicaid Expansion

Texas ranks first among states in its share of uninsured residents, at 23.8 percent in 2011 – more than 6 million people- compared with a national average of 15.7 percent.

Under the Affordable Care Act, Texas could cover adults aged 18-64 whose incomes are below 138% of the federal poverty level ($15,415 for a single adult and $31,809 for a family of four.  The federal government would pay 100 percent for the first three years and 90% of the cost of coverage in future years.  Read the Smart, Affordable and Fair publication by Texas Impact and Methodist Healthcare Ministries at

Governor Perry has stated that Texas will reject the Medicaid expansion provision of federal health reform.  If you are passionate about this, here is something that you can do.

Texas My Medicaid Matters – March and Rally

Tuesday, March 5 – 10:00 am – South Side of Congress Bridge

10:00 a.m. – People begin gathering for march & rally on the south side of the Congress bridge.

10:45 a.m. – March begins.

11:30 a.m. – Rally on the south steps of the state Capitol

March 5, 2013, Texans will gather at the Capitol to support Medicaid and call on state leaders to make real investments in the health and wellbeing of all Texans. We need your help to send a message to the legislature and state leadership that Medicaid is essential to the health and well being of millions of Texans.

SWTX MFSA Receives Appreciation Award from TCADP


On Saturday, February 23, the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP) presented our MFSA Chapter with an Appreciation Award for our support of their efforts to abolish the death penalty in Texas.  A highlight of the annual conference held at St. Edward’s University was the presentation by Anthony Graves, death row exoneree, who spent 18 years on death row before he was freed.

Thanks to Rev. Gil Caldwell for a Challenging Conversation!

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Reverend Gil Caldwell

On Saturday, February 9, about 85 people gathered at Saint John’s UMC in Austin to hear Rev. Gil Caldwell share his journey toward justice – “Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere” (MLK): Racism, Sexism, and Heterosexism.  Rev. Caldwell is a retired United Methodist Minister and a 1951 graduate of Austin’s Anderson High School.  He is a long-time activist in the Civil Rights Movement, including the Selma to Montgomery March, the March on Washington, D.C., and the March in Boston against school segregation. Rev. Caldwell wrote the following about our conversation together.

“We gathered to celebrate and energize our continuing efforts to push, pull and pray in ways that The United Methodist Church would rid itself of its language and legislation that declares; “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching”. We have never been as clear about slavery, racial segregation and prohibitions against the ordination of women being “incompatible with Christian teaching”.  But, we have chosen Lesbians and Gays as being needful of this language and legislation.  And, The UMC continues to debate what its response should be to transgender persons and same sex couples.  I used as my theme the question posed by James Baldwin; “Who wants to be integrated into a burning house?”  I spoke to them about my involvement in Truth in Progress and the Church Within A Church Movement, suggesting that support of TIP would be helpful and involvement in CWAC would complement their efforts to transform the UMC.”

Upcoming Social Justice Films

girl risingGirl Rising

PG-13 – 1hr 41 min

When:  Monday, March 11 at 7:30pm

Where: Arbor 8 @ Great Hills

9829 Great Hills Trail, Austin

Cost:    $10

Girl Rising spotlights the strength of the human spirit and the power of education to change a girl – and the world.  Many millions of girls face barriers to education that boys do not.  We can help break those barriers by bringing global attention to the enormous benefits of educating girls.  Backed by Intel, CNN Films and many well-known actors/activists, this film documents the lives of nine girls around the world, two of whom live in communities where World Vision works.  Spread the word…educating a girl is an important component in breaking the cycle of poverty and changing the world!   For more info on the film, visit



place at the tableA Place at the Table is a documentary that investigates incidents of hunger experienced by millions of Americans, and proposed solutions to the problem.  From the Chicago Tribune, “America’s twin ills, the swollen ranks of hungry people and the national obesity epidemic are explained, in blunt and poignant terms, in “A Place at the Table,” a new documentary about food politics and the forces that let hunger make a comeback. – See more at:,0,4292997.story#sthash.EgdMnqKY.dpuf.”

Showing now at the Violet Crown Theater in Austin.

Amplify Austin!

This is Austin’s first community-wide giving festival.  We challenge our community to raise $1 million in 24 hours.  330 Central Texas nonprofits are ready to receive our gifts!  On Amplify Austin Day, we are giving back to the city we love.  [Note:  Even though MFSA is not a part of Amplify Austin this year, there are many worthy causes to support here.]

Visit this website during Amplify Austin Day, which starts at 7pm, March 4 and ends 7pm, March 5.

At that time, this website will be transformed into a giving site; you’ll be able to search by the name of the nonprofits you love or the causes you’re passionate about.

You will have a greater impact by giving through this website on Amplify Austin Day because our sponsors are matching your donations, and prizes of $1,000 will be given hourly to the nonprofits that garner the most dollars or donors.

In the meantime, check us out on Facebook and Twitter and stay tuned for more exciting news about Amplify Austin.

Interfaith Environmental Network of Austin

The Interfaith Environmental Network of Austin

Invites You to Attend our Monthly Symposium

7:00 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2013
at St. David’s Episcopal Church

301 East 8th Street, in downtown Austin

This month’s presentation:

How to Start & Sustain a Green Team
in Your House of Worship

Ever wonder how others in Austin’s faith community are caring for creation? Looking for ideas on how to get a green team going in your house of worship (or elsewhere), raise funds, and keep the good work going—all while having fun and building community?

Join us Tuesday, March 5th, to hear from green team leaders from across Austin’s diverse religious landscape. We’ll have 3 to 5 representatives who, just like you, are working to make their congregations more environmentally sustainable. They’ll share stories of “greening” their houses of worship and working within their communities—the successes, challenges, and lessons learned. Following their presentations our panelists will take audience questions. Yaira A. Robinson of Texas Interfaith Power & Light will facilitate.  Come hear Austin’s leading green congregations tell their stories!