News From Texas Impact

Health Insurance: More, Cheaper, Soon

Texas Impact –

Confused by all the media reports and partisan hype surrounding the new Health Insurance Marketplace? You aren’t alone! Here’s the deal: 

To help Americans buy affordable coverage, the federal government and some states are establishing health insurance “marketplaces“–websites where shoppers can compare insurance plans, get financial assistance to purchase insurance, and sign up for coverage.

The Texas Marketplace website isn’t live yet, but there are two websites you can visit right now to help you decide if you’ll want to shop at the Marketplace starting October 1. has information for small employers, individuals and families about Market-place costs, coverage, protections and assistance.

The Kaiser Family Foundation online calculator can give you a rough idea of the costs and financial assistance you could see in the Marketplace.

Still feeling lost? At you can type in your zip code to see names and contact information for organizations in your area that can answer your questions now and help you sign up for coverage starting October 1.

“We Are All In Need Of Welfare”

In need of welfare

A reflection on Jeremiah 29: 4-7 and the March on Washington

by the Rev. Pamela Lightsey on September 19, 2013

lightseyEditor’s note: The Rev. Pamela Lightsey, associate dean of Community Life and clinical assistant professor at Boston University School of Theology, delivered this sermon during a worship service Aug. 27 at Historic Asbury United Methodist Church in downtown Washington, D.C. The service was sponsored by Methodist Federation for Social Action as part of observances related to the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Lightsey’s scripture text for her message was Jeremiah 29:4-7.

International Day Of The Girl

From United Nations has established October 11 as International Day of the Girl to advance the UN Millennium Development Goals.  Their mission, which BeadforLife stands behind, is “to help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.”  We caught up with Joy Gardner, who works at the organization 10× and asked her to write a guest blog about their upcoming global campaign to educate girls.   It launches tomorrow, on International Day of the Girl.

“Around the world, girls face barriers to education that boys do not.  Tradition, work, and cultural practices like early marriage prevent millions of girls from attending school. Yet when you educate girls, truly extraordinary things can happen.  Research shows that when girls have access to quality education, GDP (gross domestic product) rises, early marriage decreases, population growth stabilizes, agricultural output grows, and health outcomes improve.  In fact, you can break the cycle of poverty in just one generation, which is truly something to get excited about!

Currently, 77.6 million girls are not in school, which is why the United Nations recently designated October 11th as a day of advocacy for girls’ rights around the world.  This Thursday, on the first-ever International Day of the Girl, 10×10 will launch a global campaign to educate and empower girls.  Using storytelling and our new feature film, Girl Rising, we’re spreading the message that investing in girls —equally to boys —benefits everyone.  We’re reaching out to a global audience, engaging a grassroots community, and inspiring individuals to take action for girls.

Organizations like BeadforLife and their recently successful 100 DREAMS campaign to send 100 Ugandan girls to school, will ignite a change in the lives of girls that can have an exponential effect.  Each of us has the ability to make a HUGE impact in not only the life of an individual girl, but in her community, her country, and the world!  Raising a collective voice can lead to a positive change.  So stand up!  Learn about the power of girls’ education – spread the word, share their stories, TAKE ACTION!  Together we can write a better future for girls and change the world.” –  Joy Gardner

Parker Lane UMC Hosts Justice Event

Sunday, October 20th, 7pm – showing of the film “Redemption of the Prosecutor“.

A powerful look at the way our justice system isn’t working.

Sponsored by ReThink Justice.  

Diecke Partnership – Huge News!

More than a decade ago, civil war forced Liberian United Methodists in the Ganta region to flee across the border to refugee camps in Diecke (pronounced: JAY-KAY) Guinea, West Africa, a community of approximately 70,000.  They brought medical supplies from Ganta Hospital and created a makeshift clinic.  A school and church eventually followed.  When the war was over, the Liberian Annual Conference, with the blessing of the predominately Muslim leadership in Diecke, committed to sustaining the clinic, school and church so that the people of Diecke could have new opportunities to learn, heal, and serve God.​In 2009, the first Austin-area mission team visited Diecke.  With leadership from that original team, a group of ten teachers, church leaders, and medical professionals returned to Diecke in the summer of 2012 to do medical training and vacation bible school.  Most of all, though, the team was there to live with and learn from the people who are in ministry through the clinic, school and church every day.  It is our hope that through continued partnership, we will be able to build the infrastructure and the relationships that will contribute to future health and hope for the people of Diecke.One of the first things our brothers and sisters asked for during our visit was assistance in finishing their new health clinic.

We are pleased to announce than a family at First UMC- Austin has donated just under $18,000.00 toward the new clinic.  UMCOR will match that donation, and we will have the clinic finished by the late spring.  This effort will be saving lives shortly.

This is a huge step.  We look forward to moving forward with the partnership so that our congregation members can develop relationships with our brothers and sisters in Liberia and Guinea, but first we have to set up the basic infrastructure to help them get at that point.

In addition to this donation, others have made donations during the Advent season, and we hope to be making additional announcements over the next few weeks.

If you want more information on the partnership, visit our new (still under construction) website:

In the meantime, if you would like one of our team members come to your church or your church’s small group, feel free to contact me at

JFON Clinic in Austin District



The Austin Region Justice for Our Neighbors (ARJFON) Board has selected a JFON clinic site.  The Board accepted the proposal from Servant Church, Parker Lane, and Westlake UMC.  The clinic will be held at Servant Church and the lawyer’s office will be housed at Parker Lane UMC.  Westlake will be providing volunteer and financial resources.  Stay tuned for more information about the opening of the clinic.  It will require all Austin District UMCs to participate for the clinic to be successful.

If you would like more information about how you or your church can be involved, contact Kevin Reed, Board President, at

Inequality for All

Movie – Inequality for All – Released September 27

INEQUALITY FOR ALL follows Robert Reich – professor, best-selling author, and Clinton cabinet member – as he demonstrates how the widening income gap has a devastating impact on the American economy.

The Sundance award-winning film explores a passionate argument on behalf of the middle class. Reich helps to explain how the massive consolidation of wealth by a precious few threatens the viability of the American workforce and the foundation of democracy itself.

Please watch and share the trailer below to help spread to word.

FAITHANDREASON Seminar – Houston

FAITHANDREASON Seminar – Houston


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


Crosson & Borg (2)OCTOBER 18 & 19


Marcus Borg

Joan Chittister, OSB

John Dominic Crossan


Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral

1117 Texas Street

Houston, TX 77002


CLICK HERE for more information.


Volunteer at Austin District Free Store


Volunteer Today

Volunteers work hard to make FreeStore Austin a radically hospitable place for all people. There are dozens of ways to serve this mission. Whether you feel most comfortable working “behind the scenes” or at the “front of the house,” there is a place for your gifts and energy here.


Some current volunteer opportunities:

  • sort clothing and household goods for the FreeStore
  • staff one of several upcoming events and fundraisers
  • promote special events and fundraisers through your social networks
  • And there are many, many more.  Fill out a volunteer registration form and tell us about your interests and particular skills.  There’s a way to serve this community today.


FreeStore Site                                    FreeStore Admin Office

1717 E. 12 St.                                       Austin District UMC

Austin, TX, 78702                                1221 West Ben White Blvd.

Suite 201-A

Austin, TX, 78704


fax: 512-444-6457!volunteer/caqz

Praxis – Social Ministry Blog

Praxis – faith enacted, love practiced, Christ embodied


This blog is an extension of the social justice and mission ministries of University United Methodist Church in Austin, Texas. It is intended to update our members and the community on upcoming ministry opportunities and community events as well as occasional insights on intersections of faith and society by our Justice Associate, Mary Ann Barclay. Please contact her at for any questions regarding upcoming events or getting involved at UUMC!

September Meeting – Special Thanks

Over 40 turned out in the rain for our September chapter meeting.  Thanks to Mary Ann Barclay for sharing her story of faith and journey for justice.  Her passion inspires us to continue to work for equality for all.  Thanks to Joy Butler for her leading the SWTX Reconciling Ministries Team and sharing her vision for the church with us.



Report On Robert Lupton Event

LuptonOn Saturday, September 28, Robert Lupton was at Saint John’s UMC to discuss his book, Toxic Charity.  He gave us many good thoughts to consider in our charity efforts.  Here is the Oath for Compassionate Service from the book:

  • Never do for the poor what they have (or could have) the capacity to do for themselves.
  • Limit one-way giving to emergency situations.
  • Strive to empower the poor through employment, lending, and investing, using grants sparingly to reinforce achievements.
  • Subordinate self-interests to the needs of those being served.
  • Listen closely to those you seek to help, especially to what is not being said – unspoken feelings may contain essential clues to effective service.
  • Above all, do no harm.

More information about the mission of the FCS Ministries at

More News From MFSA And Friends


General Board of Church & Society – Faith in Action

National MFSA newsletter:  August 8 Edition or Listing

Reconciling Ministries recent newsletter:


MFSA Needs Your Help To Conduct Programs and Activities

How to join or support MFSA

Please join with us as we connect progressive United Methodists in putting faith into action!

MFSA hand_left_1 (2)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, 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!

Historically, we have had eight monthly chapter meetings per year, generally on the second Thursday of the month (this may change in the future).  We communicate using monthly electronic newsletters & updates to our website and Facebook page.

Stay Connected with MFSA

 MFSA – Chapter Website:

MFSA – National Site:

Check out our Facebook Page