September Chapter Meeting – Thursday, September 12

Vision Of A Fully Inclusive Church

The movement for a fully-inclusive UMC is growing.  About 500 people attended the Reconciling Ministries Network’s 12th ChurchquakeAnnual Convocation in Chevy Chase, MD on Labor Day weekend.  Eighteen of our own Southwest Texas Conference Methodists will participated in opportunities for worship, Bible study, singing, conversation, and action to support full LGBTQ inclusion in The United Methodist Church. The Convocation, entitled Churchquake–Embracing Freedom, uses Acts 16:25 as the inspiration for the meetings:

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.

Mary ann 2At our MFSA meeting on Thursday, September 12, some of the attendees will reflect on their experiences at Convocation.  Mary Ann Barclay, Youth Director and Justice Associate at University UMC in Austin, will share her dreams for a fully inclusive UMC.  Mary Ann, who will attend the event for the first time, will marry her partner, Annanda Barclay, at a private ceremony during the event.  As you may recall, Mary Ann was a candidate for ordained ministry in The UMC, when she was preemptively rejected by the Board of Ordained Ministry on June 6, 2013 without an interview. An appeal to Bishop Dorff did not alter the decision of the Board of Ordained Ministry, and it will now go to the Judicial Council.  Her response to this was in the RMN Blog (June 14, 2013),

“I have a path in front of me and it is up to me to be faithful to it regardless of the obstacles. The UMC has one too. And so do all of its members. Eventually these paths intersect and we all meet face to face with choices. Do we remain faithful to the path of love and justice God  has put before us even if it costs us? Or do we listen to the noise around us which drowns out the voice of the Divine?” 

JoyJoy Butler, chair of the Southwest Texas Ministries Reconciling Ministries Team, will also share her reflections of the love and joy experienced at Convocation. Joy has been the SWTX Conference’s main organizer and motivator for the local movement for a fully inclusive UMC. Joy is also the chair of the Saint John’s Reconciling Ministries Team and attended the 2012 General Conference as a Love Your Neighbor volunteer.

Come hear the powerful witness of Mary Ann, Joy, and other attendees.

Please join us on Thursday, September 12 at 7:00pm (6:30pm snacks & conversation) at Saint John’s UMC in Austin, 2140 Allandale Rd., as we continue our journey toward social justice. Questions? Contact Rowland Curry rcurry@austin.rr.com.

MFSA-SWTX Program Survey

Have you responded to the survey requesting your input about our 2013-2014 program focus?  It’s not too late!  The MFSA-SWTX Executive Committee is currently having discussions on programs and activities for our chapter in the upcoming year.  In order to determine the interests and preferences of our members, we have created a Survey Monkey poll.  This survey should take no more than a few minutes to complete.  Please help us improve our activities and programs by clicking on the following link and providing your response before September 1.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NGN25X9.

National MFSA Office Celebrates 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

livingdreams1_zpsdc2f2218This August the nation marks fifty years since the 1963 March on Washington, also known as the March for Jobs, Justice, and Freedom but best known for the stirring “I Have a Dream” address delivered by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Methodist Federation for Social Action welcomes constituents and friends to participate in the array of celebrations, colloquia, and actions commemorating that historic day, regarded as instrumental to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.MFSA also invites you to renew the thirst for true wholeness as we recall that the journey is far from over. The recent Decision by the Supreme Court has sent critical provisions of the Voting Rights Act back to congress and, now as much as ever, there is a need to stand as witnesses to God’s vision of grace and justice, working together to clear the lingering stains of poverty, discrimination, and oppression. Join us for a time of learning, using our voices, and realizing King’s dream.

Sojourners: Race Wars and Mustard Seeds

race warsRace Wars and Mustard Seeds

by  Lisa Sharon Harper 08-19-2013 | 9:04am

Did you know?

“There are more African-American men in prison or jail and on probation or parole today than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War. This is largely due to racially disparate drug sentencing laws.”  Read more at http://sojo.net/blogs/2013/08/19/race-wars-and-mustard-seeds.

iACT to Host “Keep Austin Affordable” House Party

KeepAustinAffordable_logo-01Affordable housing is an issue that iACT cares very deeply about. For over twenty years we have served impoverished senior citizens and disabled individuals living in East Austin through our Hands on Housing program.On Tuesday, August 27th, iACT will be hosting a “house party” for the “Keep Austin Affordable” campaign supporting the upcoming housing bond elections. We are inviting the clergy and lay leaders of our member communities to come to our offices for fellowship and the opportunity to learn about this critical issue.  The gathering will take place at the iACT offices at 4 PM. Please mark your calendars now for this important and informational event. For more information please call Tom Spencer at (512) 386-9145 x 301.

Keep Austin Affordable has produced the following documentary, Affordable Housing: Austin Success Stories.   To get involved, check the Keep Austin Affordable website.

iACT Office
2921 E 17th Street,
Building D, Suite 3,
Austin, TX 78702

Austin Pride Parade – Saturday, September 7, 2013 – 8pm

229893_10151168051001182_1749090581_n (1)Austin’s Pride Parade is a wonderful outreach and witness opportunity.  It is a special moment during the year when we come closest to living out our global church’s motto, “Open Hearts, Open Doors, Open Minds”.  Join us to show off YOUR Pride!  Together we can show the world how many United Methodists care about loving AND including ALL of God’s children in our church!

We join with the SWTX Reconciling Ministries Team and individual churches for our Austin Pride Parade effort.  Last year we counted 244 United Methodists with us in the 2012 Austin Pride Parade, most of whom were from our SWTX Conference.  This year we invite ALL Reconciling United Methodists (RUMs) to join us!  Even if your church is not participating, we have a spot for you!  FAMILIES ARE WELCOME.  Last year our participants were ages 2 to 88.  We have cars for those who are unable to walk the route.

For more information, go to the SWTX-RM Website!  See you there!

Reading God’s Book of Nature

The Interfaith Environmental Network of Austin

Invites You to Attend our Monthly Symposium

7:00 pm Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013

at Faith Presbyterian Church

This month’s presentation: 

Reading God’s Book of Nature, with Dr. Laurence Meissner

Professor Laurence Meissner, Ph.D., noted Lutheran biologist and scripture scholar, will share his perspective on nature and its care.  An esteemed professor from Concordia University, Austin, Dr. Meissner will discuss his views regarding our religious responsibility to the creation.