Chapter Meeting Thursday October 10 Focuses on Affordable Housing Issue

The Challenge: Keeping Austin affordable for all our neighbors

Thursday, October 10, 7:00pm, Saint John’s UMC, Austin

KeepAustinAffordable_logo-01Join us on Thursday, October 10, as we explore the issue of affordable housing in Austin.  Our city has been blessed with a strong economy and creative community, but Austin is in danger of pricing working families, seniors—and many others—out of our city.  Housing prices are sky high…and we’re now one of the ten most expensive rental markets in America.  As many as 38,000 Austin area families cannot find affordable housing.

The City of Austin has included an Affordable Housing Bond item of $65 million on the November 5 ballot.  After voters did not approve the 2012 Affordable Housing bond package, what is the importance of approving this one?

Elliott McFadden, Campaign Manager of Keep Austin Affordable, will explain the need for these affordable housing funds and answer our questions about who will be eligible for these funds.  Keep Austin Affordable is a coalition of business, faith and community leaders supporting the $65 million affordable housing bond package on the November 5, 2013 ballot. Partnering with private and non-profit organizations like Habitat for HumanityHands on Housing, Foundation Communities, and Meals on Wheels and More, the program has built thousands of attractive houses and apartments all over the city.  It’s also renovated and repaired existing houses to help seniors stay in their homes.

Please join us for snacks at 6:30pm and program at 7:00pm.  All are welcome.

Affordable Housing Bond Election in Austin

November 5, 2013 City of Austin Bond Election


The issuance of $65,000,000 affordable housing bonds and notes for constructing, renovating, improving, and equipping affordable housing for low income persons and families; acquiring land and interests in land and property necessary to do so; and funding affordable housing programs as may be permitted by law; and the levy of a tax sufficient to pay for the bonds and notes.

Important dates

  • October 7, 2013                      Last Day to Register to Vote
  • October 21, 2013                    First Day of Early Voting in Person
  • October 25, 2013                    Last day to Apply for Ballot by Mail (received, not postmarked)
  • November 1, 2013                  Last Day of Early Voting in Person
  • November 5, 2013                  Election Day

State of Texas Ballot Items

For information about State of Texas November 5 ballot items, visit Project Smart Vote at

University UMC (Austin) Supporting Keep Austin Affordable

Next Phone Bank: Thurs, Oct 3. – 6:30-8:30 Heath Conference Room

UUMC believes in affordable and sustainable housing for everyone in Austin. To help ensure Austin can continue to work towards a city where all are housed, we’re working hard to help the Keep Austin Affordable Campaign. KAA is running a campaign to ensure all Austinites are educated on the bond that will be up for vote on November 5th. The bond will provide Austin with the millions of dollars needed for affordable, sustainable housing without raising any taxes. You can read more about how this works at the KAA site.

Below are our upcoming opportunities at UUMC to help but keep an eye and ear out for more as the voting day gets closer.

Thursday Phone Banks are from 6:30-8:30 on the following dates. Please bring your cell phone. Scripts provided!

  • October 3
  • October 10
  • October 17
  • October 24

Mary Ann, Barbara Mason, and an organizer from KAA will also be on the corner of UT and UUMC on Mondays in Sept and Oct for voting registration and KAA round-up. If you’re interested in making any homemade goodies to ring in the college students’ attention for one of these Mondays, please contact Mary Ann.

Contact Mary Ann at with any questions!

Great Turnout for Pride Parade!

406 Methodists March in Pride Paradeaphoto2Once again Pride week in Austin has come and gone but United Methodists have made sure our presence will be remembered. What a fantastic time we had marching for justice and showing the wider community that despite our denominational stance we believe all should be not only welcomed but affirmed. With 406 United Methodists representing 9 churches marching, it seems safe to say many of us believe that pride is indeed “compatible with Christian teaching.”

Thanks to all who joined us this year.  We laughed, we danced, we got tons of high fives, and many of us were touched by those attending the pride parade who were so grateful to see a church affirming them. First UMC carried a number of great signs like “God loves everybody, no exceptions” and my personal favorite, “We’re sorry for the haters.” No doubt it was a healing space for many.  For more information about the SWTX Reconciling Team, please contact Joy Butler  or Tweet UsLike Us on FacebookWe are a LYN2016 coalition partner!

MFSA Names New Executive Director

ChettThe Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) announces Chett Pritchett as its new Executive Director.  Pritchett came to MFSA in the fall of 2011 and served as Development and Communications Associate prior to becoming the Interim Executive Director in late 2012.“After a time of intentional prayer and discernment, MFSA’s Board of Directors is delighted to welcome Chett into this position,” stated Rev. Christina Wright, Co-President of the Board of Directors.  “Chett brings to MFSA tremendous gifts for strategy, organizing, leadership and communications as well as a strong sense of how our Methodist identity affects our work.  We are excited to further our work with Chett and utilize the skills he brings to us.”

Pritchett is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College and Wesley Theological Seminary as well as having engaged in post-graduate studies at Drew University. Prior to coming to MFSA, he worked with the United Methodist Publishing House, Transitional Housing Corporation, and in campus ministry with students at two Washington area universities. As well, he has served as lay leader at Dumbarton United Methodist Church in Washington, DC, and is a lay member to the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference.  While Pritchett is an ardent advocate for LGBTQ, reproductive, racial, and ecological justice, he is acutely aware of the intersectionality experienced because of oppressive structural systems.

“I am excited to continue leading the Methodist Federation for Social Action into the next chapter of our witness to The United Methodist Church and to the wider world,” said Pritchett. “Progressive United Methodists must maintain the Wesleyan tradition of seeking social holiness grounded in personal and corporate spiritual practices. In addition, MFSA must continue to develop avenues for faithful people to turn their passion into action.”

“I am delighted that the Board has made this decision.  Chett is a congenial, intelligent, and hard-working leader, and his communications skills are terrific,” stated Rowland Curry, MFSA Program Council Co-Chair. “I look forward to working with him on program initiatives for our Chapters.”

Interfaith Conference on Immigration Reform

 Austin InterfaithInterfaith religious leaders from Central Texas will gather for “Why Immigration Reform?” a conference on the need for humane immigration reform.

The conference will be held on Sunday, October 6, from 3 to 5:30 p.m. at St. Martin’s Evangelical Lutheran Church at 606 West 15th St. in Austin.

The conference is free and open to the public. Religious leaders will discuss the need for immigration reform from the perspective of faith, business, worker’s rights and the immigrant experience. The conference will conclude with a Q&A session.

Keynote speakers for the event are Dr. Luis Zayas of The University of Texas and Jeff Patterson of the Texas Catholic Conference.

Bishop Joe Vásquez, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Austin, will participate in the event, along with Rabbi Alan Freedman, of Temple Beth Shalom; Imam Islam Mossaad of the North Austin Muslim Community Center and John Elford of University United Methodist Church and many other faith leaders.

“The current immigration system is broken,” Bishop Vásquez said. “Comprehensive immigration reform has been an issue of great importance to me and to all of the Catholic bishops of the United States for decades. The primary and fundamental reason for our position is that we know and proclaim the dignity of every human person. We believe that each person is created in the image and likeness of God, and we believe that this has implications for public policy on immigration.”

This conference is the second in a series of events by faith leaders to bring awareness to the need for immigration reform. An interfaith prayer service was held on June 18 at St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic Church in South Austin.

Pumpkin Patch

PumpkinsWatch for Pumpkin Patches in October at area churches:

Bethany UMC, Grace UMC, Saint John’s UMC, Tarrytown UMC, and more!

Journey Of Faith Wins RMN Award

Journey of Faith and Glenda Whitehead Win the

Voice in the Wilderness Award!

DSC05964The Reconciling Ministries Network awarded Journey of Faith the Voice in the Wilderness Award for “persons or groups who, despite their isolation in wilderness situations, take risks to proclaim the rightness of inclusion of all persons in the community of the church.”  The award was given at the Churchquake Convocation in September. This is a proud moment for their minister, Glenda Whitehead, and all of us as a church.

Allies Against Slavery

allies@2xAllies is a community network that develops local, tangible and sustainable solutions to slavery.  We are working to make Austin a Slave Free City, and we want to see communities everywhere committed to freedom for all. Check out the upcoming October events at

Travis Park In Action For Justice

Congratulations to Travis Park UMC pastors and members as they spoke in favor of amending San Antonio’s non-discrimination ordinance to add protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.  Rev. Monte Marshall, Joseph Tanasi, and others spoke at the packed San Antonio City Council meeting in early September. The measure passed, and now San Antonio joins the list of other major Texas cities that have already approved similar amendments, including Houston, Dallas and Austin.

Mayor Julian Castro said the ordinance had significant support from all sectors of the city including government organizations and local businesses such as the San Antonio Spurs.   “This ordinance fundamentally is about ensuring whether white or black, Christian or Jew, whether straight or gay, San Antonio belongs to you.”

News from Interfaith Action of Central Texas – iACT

night under skyA Night Under One Sky has become a beloved tradition in our community. It celebrates the notion that there is common ground we can all walk in search of peace and respect in this world.  The setting is magical. The food is delightful.  The music is inspiring. The conversation is uplifting.  iACT brings people of all faiths together to serve our most vulnerable neighbors.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Time: 6:30pm until 9:00pm

Umlauf Sculpture Garden
605 Robert E Lee Road
Austin, Texas 78704

Ticket Purchase or Sponsorship is required for admittance.

Honoree: Tom Spencer, former CEO for iACT.

Keynote Speaker: Rev. Bobbi Kaye Jones

Event Co-Chairs: Liz Stewart and Janis Claflin

Dress: Business Casual or Austin Chic

Parking: Across the street by the ball park, signs will be posted.

Road Closures: The following directions are only if the ACL road blocks are still up, however the closures end Monday. If you are coming from the south, up Barton Springs Rd you should be able to freely enter Robert E. Lee even with road blocks. From MoPac you will need to take Cesar Chavez St, head south on Lamar Blvd and then take a left onto Barton Springs Rd.

The Red Bench

What is the difference between religion and spirituality? / Is there a difference?

Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

First Methodist Church Family Life Center, 1300 Lavaca Street

redbench_logo-300x79Interfaith Action of Central Texas – iACT

iACT’s Friends in Faith


This year’s Friends in Faith Luncheon highlights a friendship forged in tragedy and bound by hope. An intimate conversation that will never be forgetten, between friends who prove that anything is possible.


Nader Hassan and Kerry Cahill of the Nawal Foundation

A Friendship Forged from Tragedy.
Two Voices Raised Against Extremism.

Created to provide a platform for Muslim-Americans to speak out against violence, the work of the Nawal Foundation is deeply informed by the friendship between its founder, Nader Hasan, cousin of the alleged Fort Hood Shooter of November 5, 2009, and Kerry Cahill, the daughter of Michael G. Cahill CWII (ret.) one of the thirteen who was killed in that tragedy.

UM Judicial Council To Meet In October

(From the Washington Post )The United Methodist Judicial Council will decide whether church ministries can advocate for the acceptance of homosexuality, whether ministers can officiate at same-sex ceremonies and whether a regional conference can urge members to ignore portions of Methodist law.

The rulings made by regional conferences are among 17 items the court will consider at its Oct. 23-26 meeting in Baltimore.

Go here for the full article…

Notes From The Third Coast Activist

Jackson Katz Speaks on “Expanding Human Rights”Date:  October 3, 2013

Time:  7:00 pm  to  9:00 pm

Anti-violence educator Jackson Katz will speak on “Expanding Human Rights” and discuss strategies for fighting violence against women.

Location: St. Edward’s University, Recreation and Convocation Center
More information here.


A Conversation about Women in the Congo with Zawadi NikuzeDate:  October 5, 2013

Time:  6:00 pm  to  8:00 pm

Location:  MonkeyWrench Books, 110 E. North Loop, Austin, 78751

Zawadi Nikuze, a women’s rights activist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will discuss her work supporting women who survive rape and the sociopolitical conditions women in the Congo face on a daily basis.

Nikuze also appearing at the following event:

Date:  October 13, 2013

Time:  9:50 am  to  2:00 pm

Location:  Friends Meeting of Austin, 3701 MLK Blvd., Austin, 78721

More information here.   

Screening of “Roadmap to Apartheid”Date:  October 11, 2013

Time:  7:00 pm  to  9:00 pm

Location:  5604 Manor, 5604 Manor Road, Austin, 78723

The Interfaith Community for Palestinian Rights will show the film “Roadmap to Apartheid” followed by a discussion.

ICPR is a grassroots movement in Austin dedicated to promoting peace with justice for Palestinians. For more information, contact


From The TCADP


tcadpIn September, the American Bar Association’s Texas Capital Punishment Assessment Team released the results of its more than two-year study of the fairness and accuracy of the death penalty system in Texas. The report finds that the Lone Star State is significantly out of step with better practices implemented in other states that allow the death penalty.According to the report, Texas fails to rely upon scientifically reliable evidence and processes in the administration of the death penalty, and it provides the public with inadequate information to understand and evaluate death penalty cases.

The 500-page report, which analyzes Texas’s laws, procedures, and practices, recommends numerous reforms to correct shortcomings in the administration of the death penalty in Texas.