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

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.

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

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.

Rethink Criminal Justice

A Study and Discussion Series on Mass Incarceration and Race

Study Focus: The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Parker Lane United Methodist Church
September 8 and 15, 2013, 7:00 p.m.
Moderator: Bill CarterParker Lane UMC will host a series of discussions on mass incarceration in the U.S., using Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow as primary reference.

The initial sessions September 8 and 15 will cover the book in overview, examine its core message and claims, and use the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church and scripture to discern the justice issues raised by the book.

Study participants interested in digging deeper will then spend four weeks doing homework on the issue individually and sharing findings by email. The study sessions will re-convene around October 20 and 27 (dates to be determined by participants after the second session) to complete the book study together.

For more information, contact Bill Carter at

Love Unites!

Connect. Share. Celebrate!

Pride-Interfaith-Partnership-2013-Karen-McCrocklinJoin us Tuesday, Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. for the Austin Pride Interfaith Celebration, Love Unites, at  Unity Church of the Hills (9905 Anderson Mill Rd., Austin, Texas).

The guest speaker for this year’s event is Karen McCrocklin. An LGBTQ activist for more than 25 years, Karen is a speaker, radio host and author of the forthcoming book Out From the Inside. Her talk will explore “Supreme Faith,” lessons about community, faith and love as witnessed from inside the Supreme Court chambers on the day of the Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act rulings.

The event is free, and all LGBTQ people and allies are welcome! A sign language interpreter will be available.

First Saturday – Building Bridges

When: Saturday, September 7, 2013; 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m.Where: St. James Episcopal Church Founder’s Hall

1941 Webberville Rd.; Austin, Texas 78721; 512/926-6339

“Race & Racism Are Complicated”

At our last First Saturday meeting, we watched the “I Have a Dream” speech.  We met in two groups to discuss our experiences during the Civil Rights Movement.  From one of the groups, we have started an affinity group to explore White Privilege.  Come join us for a thought provoking conversation on September 7.

Free and Open to the Public/Light Refreshments

Co-Hosts: St. James Episcopal Church/Travis County Sheriff’s Office Building Bridges: Brick by Brick.  Contact Jan Dawes for more information.

Love Your Neighbor 2016

love bannerLogoA Coalition of United Methodists in Texas working to welcome EVERYONE to God’s table.  “We are a coalition of groups and members of the Central Texas and Southwest Texas (soon to be Rio Texas) United Methodist Church conferences, working for the full participation of all people in the life our churches, including lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and queer people.  We believe that as God’s children we are called to live into the promise and potential of our divine and beautiful diversity!”  Find a list of Austin LBGT-friendly UMC congregations and small groups at:

Restorative Justice Summit In Austin

National Vision Summit: Looking Toward the Future of Re-entry
September 10-13, in Austin, Texas

Vision-Summit-The Travis County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) is honored to host the inaugural Vision Summit: Looking Toward the Future of Re-entry in Austin, TX, September 10-13. According to Sheriff Greg Hamilton, “Considerable, positive reform is occurring all around the country and our agency is excited to support the efforts of re‐entry advocates. We believe through enhanced communication, coordination and collaboration across vested parties that we can make our communities safer by reducing recidivism, improving re‐entry outcomes and assisting those who return from jail and/or prison.”

The mission of the Vision Summit is to awaken and ignite communities to attain a unified vision and thriving re‐entry process that enables the incarcerated to amend their place in the world, by showcasing effective programs, listening to each other and networking to make future possibilities a reality today. Register at

The Vision Summit host hotel is: Holiday Inn, Austin Midtown, 6000 Middle Fiskville Rd. Austin, TX 78752.


tcadpFrom our friends at the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty ( summer newsletter was mailed to TCADP members in July and is now available online.

In June, the State of Texas carried out its 500th execution since 1982.  Who were these 500 men and women and what do their executions say about our criminal justice system?  Do the numbers match current attitudes in the U.S. and even in Texas? Read more about this Texas milestone.

Last month, the Innocence Project and the National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers announced an unprecedented agreement with the FBI and the Department of Justice to review more than 2,000 criminal cases in which the FBI conducted microscopic hair analysis of crime scene evidence. According to the Innocence Project, “the review will focus on specific cases in which FBI Laboratory reports and testimony included statements that were scientifically invalid.” Under the agreement, capital cases, particularly those with an execution date, will be given the highest priority.  Cases where the defendant has been executed will also be part of the review. According to the Washington Post, the review has already identified 27 death penalty convictions “in which FBI forensic experts may have mistakenly linked defendants to crimes with exaggerated scientific testimony.”

A new report from the ACLU, “A Death Before Dying: Solitary Confinement on Death Row,” chronicles conditions on death rows throughout the United States. According to the report, 93% of states lock away their death-row prisoners alone in their cells for 22-24 hours per day. TCADP Advisory Board Member Anthony Graves has written a blog and recorded a video to raise awareness of the report and the conditions he experienced while wrongfully incarcerated and held in solitary confinement on death row in Texas.

September 11: Austin Membership Luncheon

Join us on Wednesday, September 11 from 12:00 to 1:00 PM at The Egg and I Restaurant, Northcross Mall, as we launch our bi-monthly lunch series in Austin. Our guest speaker will be Dr. Marilyn Armour, an Associate Professor at The University of Texas at Austin and the Director of The Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue.  Dr. Armour will discuss her recent publication “The Ultimate Penal Sanction and ‘Closure’ for Survivors of Homicide Victims,” in which she compares the impact of the ultimate penal sanction on victim survivors in a death penalty state (Texas) and a non-death penalty state (Minnesota).

Idea Camp – Human Care

idea campFriday, September 20, 2013 at 9:00 AM –

Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 5:00 PM

First United Methodist Church of Austin

1201 Lavaca Street

Austin, TX 78701

The world is full of great ideas. What is lacking are methods for taking those ideas from dreams to reality. Based on the popular Ted Talks concept, Idea Camp is a process using traditional presentation plus the power of the internet and social media, to bring together the best thinkers, experts or everyday people who have great ideas but don’t have the infrastructure to share them, and provide a means of conversation, inspiration, and action. Idea Camp has selected First UMC to partner in their September Idea Camp on the topic of Human Care.  Topics will include caring for the children of the world, caring for women in cultures where they are powerless, human trafficking, and how we care for the caregivers of the world to keep them from experiencing burnout.  The Idea Camp is broadcast online during the event and videos remain online afterward to continue the dialogue and idea sharing. To see what has been done in the past, visit Camp is open to anyone who is interested in these issues.  Presenters include some First UMC members and staff as well as speakers from around the world. Anyone who is involved in managing an organization that deals with issues of human care will be inspired and renewed by attending.  Idea Camp brings a fresh perspective on how to work toward the healing of the world.  We will facilitate honest and field-centered conversations with leading thinkers and practitioners about the work of human care as well as an introspective look into the soul and health of the one providing care to others.  We will also unpack how differences of gender, race, mental health, and age influence our approach to human care. Our desire is to support those who seek to live life as God’s loving expressions of grace and hope to our world through tangible acts of care for all of humanity.

Please help Austin know about this event by sharing it with others via your own social media and old fashioned face-to-face conversation.


Bethany UMC Walk/Run To Benefit Clean Water Projects

5K and 1 Mile Family Fun Walk/Run
Saturday, September 21, 8:30 AM

Step up for AfricaBrushy Creek Lake Park – Cypress Pavillion
3300 Brushy Creek Road, Cedar Park, TX  78613

Come join us for this no-frills 5K and 1 Mile Family Fun Walk to benefit clean water projects in Matete, Kenya.  Walkers Welcome!  Strollers Welcome! Digital timer for personal record. Inflatable!  Music!

Registration Closing Dates:
T-shirts only guaranteed for registration by 9-7-13

Online:  Wed, September 18, 2013
At church:  Sun, September 15, 2013
In person: Sat, September 21, 2012 @ 8:00 AM

Packet Pick-Up:

Thursday, Sep 19 or Friday, 20
4:00 – 7:00 PM at Rogue Running  (2800 East Whitestone, Cedar Park)
Limited packet pick-up on race day!


$25 for 5K
$40 Family Fun Walk
No refunds

Race begins at the Cypress Pavilion at Brushy Creek Lake Park
3300 Brushy Creek Rd., Cedar Park
Course is out and back on mixed dirt and hard surface.