The Hidden Progressive Christian Community of Texas

texas-observer-masthead

Left, Behind: The Hidden Progressive Christian Community of Texas

Interesting article in this month’s Texas Observer by Robyn Ross: 
http://www.texasobserver.org/left-behind-the-hidden-progressive-christian-community-of-texas/

It quotes Rev. Jim Rigby from an Austin Presbyterian church and also Lubbock Methodist minister, Rev. Kevin Young, whose wife Laura has been our RMN “Called to Witness” regional organizer and coach on several occasions.  Bee Moorhead  of Texas Impact is also quoted.  Here are a few excerpts from the article:

“In rural places in Texas, Missouri, Iowa, and around the world, people need to know there’s a church where they are welcome, and that they can be Christian and gay, and that they are children of God just as legitimately as anybody else.” – Jo Hudson, Senior Pastor, Dallas’ Cathedral of Hope.

“I think the religious Left unquestionably exists,” says TFN’s Ryan Valentine, who coordinated the pro-contraception pledge. “It’s just never been as well organized or as prominent in policy fights in Texas as the Right.”

Indeed, the Christian voice in Texas’ public square has become almost synonymous with conservatism. The state is ground zero for battles between creationism and evolution in science textbooks.  It’s home to organizations like WallBuilders and Vision America that urge conservative Christians to exert influence in the political sphere. When reporters want to quote a Christian spokesperson, the leaders of these groups are easy to find.

If progressive Christians could develop a unified voice, they could transform political discourse in Texas. But before that can happen, progressive Christianity has to recognize itself as a movement. And Texans have to know that it exists. Texas has a Christian Left, but to secular progressives, it’s one of the state’s best-kept secrets.

News From RMN

RMN logoThe Network is growing!

United Methodist churches are increasingly not waiting for the UMC to change their policies of exclusion—they are being the church now. They are choosing Biblical Obedience, whether that be in officiating same gender weddings or choosing not to host any wedding until it is legal for all. Churches are voting to be intentionally welcoming by becoming Reconciling. Individuals are being trained by the hundreds to help those churches in their process. Three prominent United Methodists made statements for LGBTQ inclusion recently—one was a bishopone a former Secretary of State, and one a GOP senator. The spirit of inclusion is moving and it is bringing change to places like Texas and South Carolina and everywhere in between. Hearts are changing as we learned 58% of Americans are in favor of marriage equality. As Bishop Gene Robinson said, “I know in my heart how this ends: full LGBT inclusions in our country, institutions, temples, mosques, and churches. Knowing how it ends helps you get there.”

Celebrating new communities in the network

City Square Church Phoenix, AZ
Wesley UMC Aurora, IL
First UMC Melrose, MA
Dawsey SS Class of Washington Street UMC Columbia, SC
Open Hearts Support Group at St. Peter’s UMC Katy, TX
First UMC Austin, TX
United Parish Upton, MA
Fairlington UMC Alexandria, VA
Fairport UMC Fairport, NY
Lake Park UMC Oakland, CA
Thirst (Early Worship Community of Fall City UMC) Fall City, WA
Christ in Culture Class of Wells Memorial UMC Jackson, Mississippi

MFSA, RMN, GBCS News

MFSA Welcomes JD!

JD GoreMFSA would like to welcome our new Associate for Movement Building, John Daniel (JD) Gore!  JD comes to MFSA as a Mission Intern with the General Board of Global Ministries. Prior to coming to MFSA, JD completed his international placement at Wi’am, a center for conflict resolution located in Bethlehem, Palestine.

Originally from Michigan, JD brings with him great passion for Palestinian liberation, peacebuilding, and community organizing. At MFSA, his primary tasks will include social media, building relationships with like-minded organizations, and communicating with Chapters and Chapters-in-Formation.

In partnership with the Mission Intern program, the General Board of Global Ministries provides a stipend; MFSA provides housing. Welcome JD with a gift to support his housing while he’s at MFSA!

We welcome JD into a long line of former Mission Interns who have been engaged with MFSA in a variety of ways and give thanks for the gifts he brings to the work we do!

National MFSA recent newsletter:

Click Here

Reconciling Ministries recent newsletter:

http://www.rmnetwork.org/latest/

General Board of Church & Society – Faith in Action

http://umc-gbcs.org/faith-in-action

Mark Your Calendars – RMN Convocation Aug 30 – Sept 2

Churchquake

This is more than just another conference.  Join hundreds of others getting involved in the movement for LGBTQ inclusion in the United Methodist Church through worship, conversation, and action.

National 4-H Youth Conference Center
Chevy Chase, Maryland
(just outside of Washington, DC)

Meet & Hear Words of Inspiration by:

Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey
Rev. Vicki Flippin
Marcus Briggs-Cloud
Joseph Tolton
Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto
Bishop Melvin Talbert
Bishop Mary Ann Swenson
Rev. Dr. Cheryl Anderson

And more!

More details and registration at:

www.rmnetwork.org/CQ13

Make Plans To Join Us!

The D. L. Dykes, Jr. Foundation – www.faithandreason.org

Special events for 2013 

Save the Date – Houston!

The D. L. Dykes, Jr. Foundation is pleased to work with progressive organizations throughout the nation.  Our progressive colleagues offer outstanding programs, lectures, and seminars that promote critical thinking about faith and religious practice.  The D. L. Dykes, Jr. Foundation stands in solidarity with the work, programs and seminars of these progressive colleagues because we share their commitment to critical thinking about faith, its practice and its role in public life.

 

Crosson & Borg (2)FAITHANDREASON®

Seminar

OCTOBER 18 & 19 presents

Marcus Borg

Joan Chittister, OSB

John Dominic Crossan

“Does Christianity Have A FUTURE? Schism, Scandal, and Loss of the Sacred”

Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral

1117 Texas Street

Houston, TX 77002

www.faithandreason.org

jennifervail@faithandreason.org

CLICK HERE for more information.

A Call For Grant Researchers!

One way in which our local MFSA chapters can help our national organization and each other is through development of a network of volunteers who have expertise in researching the availability of grant funding for the myriad issues in which MFSA is involved.  It is clear at this time that individual donations alone are not sufficient to support the work that MFSA truly needs to do.  We are looking for volunteers to research grant sources, write proposals, and work with our national office to make this successful.  If you have skills or experience in these activities and would be willing to devote some time to this effort, please contact Rowland Curry at rcurry@austin.rr.com.

MFSA Needs Your Help To Conduct Programs and Activities

MFSA hand_left_1 (2)

How to join or support MFSA

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.

Stay Connected with MFSA

MFSA – Chapter Website:  http://www.swtmfsa.wordpress.com

MFSA – National Site: http://www.mfsaweb.org

Check out our Facebook Page
Southwest-TX-Chapter-MFSA

Registration for Peace & Justice Luncheon