No MFSA meeting in December

DSC01122Plan to join us in the Austin MLK March on Monday, January 20, 2014.   More details will be available later. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

bellsHave a joyous Christmas with friends and family and remember those who struggle on the margins of society this Christmas. We look forward to working together for social justice in 2014.

World AIDS Day Service

You are invited to a World AIDS Day Service

A service of remembrance and hope; a time to
memorialize and celebrate the life of your loved ones


Sunday, December 1, at 5pm.
Trinity United Methodist Church

4001 Speedway

Austin, TX 78751


Please contact The Care Communities at 512-459-5883 or for more information

United Methodist Global AIDS Fund


December 1 marks the 25th year people around the world will unite to fight against HIV & AIDS. Are you and your congregation ready to commemorate World AIDS Day, the first Sunday of Advent?

As a partner in the global fight to end HIV & AIDS, the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund (UMGAF) reemphasizes its commitment to Just Save One.

The universal theme of “Getting to Zero” is not possible as long as babies are born with HIV and funds are not geared toward prevention. UMGAF has committed to focus on the reduction of mother-to-child transmission and to preventing children from being born with HIV & AIDS for the next year.

Zimbabwe is a country in which babies born to HIV-positive mothers are disproportionately affected themselves.  Persons Living with HIV, if given support and treated as partners, can tackle these inequalities.

Support the Just Save One Initiative

UMGAF has raised more than US $3.5 million to assist thousands of people who are infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. Yet, there are 34 million individuals living with the virus. We need your financial contribution to Just Save One of those millions.

  • A gift of US $20 can provide nursing care for a child born HIV positive;
  • A US $50 gift can help educate young people and adults how to prevent HIV;
    • A US $100 gift will supply nutrients to 100+ AIDS orphans suffering from dehydration.

You can find out more about getting your congregation involved with World AIDS Day and the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund at

Sister Helen Prejean To Speak – December 3

PrejeanOn Tuesday, December 3rd, at 7pm, Sister Helen Prejean will speak and sign books to raise money for Cathy Henderson, who is being retried for a 1994 Austin murder.  Henderson spent almost two decades on death row in Texas in the death of 3-month-old Brandon Baugh, whom she was babysitting. She maintained the baby’s death was an accident, but the Travis County medical examiner testified that the child’s injuries could not possibly have been caused accidentally. When that doctor changed his mind after learning new forensic information and testified that he believed the death was an accident, her conviction was vacated.

The event is free, with donations accepted for the Henderson defense fund. For more information, contact Galia Harrington,

Location: Quaker Meetinghouse, 3701 E. MLK Blvd., Austin

iACT – Interfaith Action of Central Texas

Tuesday, Dec 3, 2013, 6:30 to 8:30 pm

Austin Bahá’í Center

2215 E M Franklin Ave, Austin, TX 78723

The final topic for the fall season of The Red Bench will explore, “Us versus Them: Can we keep our ideal of inclusiveness as we deal with today’s turbulent current events?

  • Is it possible to create a completely inclusive society?
  • What can we personally do to be more inclusive?
  • How can we benefit from being more inclusive?

We invite you to participate and bring friends to this conversation. According to past participants of The Red Bench – Interfaith Conversations that Matter,  the experience has given them valuable insight, enriching their communication and listening skills.

Free event, everyone is welcome.


A light vegetarian meal will be provided.


Parking is available at the center.


If attending, please RSVP on Facebook so we may get a headcount.


Learn more about The Red Bench – Interfaith Conversations that Matter.

MFSA Publishes ‘Progressive Voice’

A few short months after the Methodist Federation for Social Service was founded, a newsletter was published: Social Questions Bulletin.  Many people came to know and love the SQB as it was called.  The newsletter connected a movement of faithful, thoughtful Methodists and shared ideas in an age when a newsletter was the only way to share important amounts of information at one time.

Over the years some things have changed: the Methodist Federation for Social Service is now the Methodist Federation for Social Action; the Social Questions Bulletin is now The Progressive Voice; and it no longer takes days for the newsletter to reach you – it’s available online! 

The Fall 2013 edition of The Progressive Voice is our first in almost a year and a half.  Learn more about MFSA and our work – and please, help us engage faithful United Methodists in acts of justice so we may live out our calling and mission.

Hope Food Pantry

Consider making a contribution to help purchase food this Christmas for those who visit the Hope Food Pantry at Trinity UMC:  $7.00 provides 4 days worth of groceries to a family of four.  Send all donations to attention:

Hope Food Pantry Austin
4001 Speedway
Austin, Texas 78751

Or donate online:

Your donation will show “Hope Food Pantry” in the Designate my donation box.

Double your donation in November and December at Natural Grocers at 3901 Guadalupe St., 10515 N. Mopac, & 1335 E. Whitestone Blvd.

Randall’s Remarkable card holders: place #3830 on your card and donate to Hope. A Randall’s

News From TCADP

Over Two-Dozen Evangelical Christian Leaders in Texas and Nationwide
Request Mercy for Duane Buck, Urge District Attorney to Not Seek Execution Date

tcadp(Houston, TX, Thursday, November 21, 2013) – Today, 27 Evangelical Christian leaders across Texas and the United States are calling on Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson to allow a new, fair sentencing hearing for Duane Buck. Mr. Buck is an African-American man who was condemned to death after his sentencing jury was told that he was likely to be a future danger because of his race.  These Evangelical Christian leaders oppose the setting of any execution date for Mr. Buck.

“We write to respectfully request that you support a new, fair sentencing hearing for death row prisoner Duane Buck,” the letter states. “Although opinions on the death penalty vary within each of our churches, we are strongly united in our view that no death sentence should be a product of racial discrimination, as it was in Mr. Buck’s case.”

The Evangelical Christian leaders who are advocating for Mr. Buck include: Paul Basden and Jim Johnson, Pastors of Preston Trail Community Church; Chris Seay, Pastor of Ecclesia Houston; Robert Hunt, Director of Global Theological Education at Southern Methodist University; David Gushee, Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University; Gabriel Salguero, President of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition; Fisher Humphreys, Professor of Divinity, Emeritus, Samford University, and others.

Their plea comes in the wake of Wednesday’s decision by a splintered Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to dismiss Mr. Buck’s appeal. For more information:

MFSA Will Sell Fair Trade Items from BeadforLife and Equal Exchange Chocolate at Local Christmas Markets in December


DSC06363BeadforLife is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization and member of the Fair Trade Federation that works to eradicate extreme poverty by creating bridges of understanding between impoverished Africans and concerned world citizens.  

Ugandan women turn colorful recycled paper into beautiful beads and communities in northern Uganda gather shea nuts and press them into shea butter for cosmetics and soaps. 

Caring citizens open their hearts, homes, and communities to buy and sell both products. The paper beaded jewelry and shea butter become income, food, medicine, school fees, and hope.  It is a small miracle that enriches us all.


Equal Exchange is the leading Fair Trade brand of food and beverages in the United States.  Founded in 1986, this worker co-op imports a wide variety of Fair Trade foods from over 40 small farmer co-ops in 25 countries.  With 12 faith-based partner organizations (including United Methodist Committee on Relief –UMCOR) & countless schools, they work to popularize Fair Trade. 


Equal Exchange’s mission is to build long-term trade partnerships that are economically just and environmentally sound, to foster mutually beneficial relationships between farmers and consumers and to demonstrate, through our success, the contribution of worker co-operatives and Fair Trade to a more equitable, democratic and sustainable world.


Westminster Manor Gift Market

Friday, December 6
10:00am – 2:00pm


Saint John’s UMC Alternative Christmas Market

11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7
Noon-3 P.M. Sunday, Dec. 8

Shoppers can honor their loved ones by giving to those who have a greater need locally and globally. More than 30 vendors representing several nonprofit organizations will be on hand to offer you a chance to purchase gifts that will make a difference.


University UMC Alternative Gift Market

Sunday, December 8 during morning activities

Contact: Beth Kelley*

Each year, UUMC holds an Alternative Gift Market where all are invited to shop for holiday gifts that support local and global non-profit groups. There are always beautiful items to purchase as well as opportunities to make gift donations to groups such as Heifer International, local agencies, and others.


From Third Coast Activist

An Evening with Will Allen

Date: December 8, 2013

Time: 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Will Allen—son of a sharecropper, former professional basketball player, ex-corporate sales executive and now an urban farmer—is a leading voice on agriculture and food policy. Allen is founder and CEO of Growing Power Inc., a farm and community food center in Milwaukee that believes all people, regardless of their economic circumstances, should have access to fresh, safe, affordable and nutritious foods at all times. Allen has received a McArthur Foundation “genius grant” and in 2010 was one of Time magazine’s “100 World’s Most Influential People.”

The talk will be followed by a panel discussion and a Farmers Market in the Theatre’s lobby. Tickets for the lecture and panel discussion are $35. VIP tickets that include a 6-7 pm reception—featuring local chefs with local food, drinks and music by Bluegrass Outfit—are $100. Information and tickets are available at the Paramount Theatre Box Office, online or (512) 474-1221.

The evening is part of Edible Austin’s “Eat/Drink Local Week,” with proceeds benefiting the Paramount Theatre, Sustainable Food Center, and Urban Roots. Doors open at 7 pm and the event begins at 7:30 pm, with the Farmers Market at 8:45 pm.

Location: Stateside at the Paramount, 719 Congress Ave., Austin, 78701

– See more at:

Remembering Newtown’s Victims December 15

Downloadable bulletin insert lists victims, offers prayer

by Wayne Rhodes, Editor, Faith in Action on November 04, 2013

The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) has prepared a bulletin insert to assist congregations in conducting a worship observance of the anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., gun-violence tragedy that occurred Dec. 14, 2012.

In that tragedy, 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School and six adult staff members were killed in a deadly assault by Adam Lanza. He also killed his mother before going to the school. The children who died were six and seven years old.

Bill Mefford, GBCS director of Civil & Human Rights, envisions congregations including the bulletin inserts in their worship materials on Dec. 15, and also reading from the pulpit the names and ages of the persons who died during the massacre.

“All of the great movements for change in history were either birthed or were intimately accompanied by a spiritual awakening,” Mefford said. “Seeing the inaction over the last year in response to the gun shooting tragedy in Newtown — all the while almost 10,000 people have been killed by guns — should drive us to prayer and reflection. And then to action.”

Mefford emphasized that you can help birth this in your own congregation Sunday, Dec.15, by taking five minutes during the normal prayer time to read aloud the names of all those who died that day and to pray a simple prayer. “We have created a bulletin insert to help your church pray and reflect on what happened and what can happen,” Mefford said.

United Methodist Resolution

The bulletin insert lists the names and ages of the victims of one of the worst gun-violence incidents in U.S. history. It also includes a suggested prayer, and an excerpt from the United Methodist Resolution “Gun Violence” that states violence to children and youths is a primary concern for United Methodists.

“We call upon the church to affirm its faith through vigorous efforts to curb and eliminate gun violence,” states the These acts of senseless violence should not be an acceptable occurrence in any community: suburban, urban, or rural, according to the resolution. “The church must continue to address these issues of violence and develop programs to enrich the lives of all children/youths,” he declares.  Register to access the free download at

UMCOR Mobilizes Disaster Response in Philippines

UmcorIn the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is actively mobilizing resources to respond to this latest and largest in a series of disasters to hit the Philippines over the past twelve months.

You can support UMCOR’s relief and recovery work in the Philippines by contributing your donation to International Disaster Response, Advance #982450. All of your gift, 100 percent, will be used to help those in need.

Council of Bishops requests charges be filed

Response to retired bishop conducting same-gender ceremony

November 19, 2013

talbert weddingLAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — The United Methodist Council of Bishops during its annual meeting here have taken actions to address a retired bishop’s conducting a same-gender ceremony in violation of denomination law.

The bishops requested that Council President Rosemarie Wenner and Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett of the North Alabama Conference, where the ceremony occurred, file a complaint. It would target Bishop Melvin Talbert’s action for “undermining the ministry of a colleague and conducting a ceremony to celebrate the marriage of a same-gender couple.”

“When there are violations of the Book of Discipline, [the denomination’s book of laws], a response is required,” the bishops said in a statement.

Initiate a task force

The Council also voted to initiate a task force to lead conversations about human sexuality, race and gender in a global perspective. The goal of this effort is to come to a shared theological understanding amid diverse opinions in the denomination about these issues.

These actions followed days of prayerful discernment and conversation about the action it would take after Talbert, a retired bishop, conducted the Oct. 26 ceremony celebrating the marriage of a same-gender couple in Center Point, Ala. This is a chargeable offense for United Methodist clergy.

Denomination law states, “Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.”

Both Wallace-Padgett, presiding bishop of the North Alabama area, and the Council’s Executive Committee had requested Talbert not perform the ceremony.  Read more at

Register Online for UMW Legislative Event



Program planned and produced by Texas Impact 

A Thousand Voices: Telling the Story of Texas

JANUARY 26-28, 2014

Austin, Texas 


The 26th Annual United Methodist Women’s Legislative Event is a joint project of Texas’ five United Methodist Annual Conferences and Texas Impact.  This year’s theme is “A Thousand Voices: Telling the Story of Texas.” It is a time to learn the latest on the issues, meet with state leaders, and visit the Texas Capitol.

Legislative Event is a national model educational program that brings together women of all ages and backgrounds to learn how state government works, what key issues face Texas, and how to advocate effectively on issues they care about.

Registration is unlimited and the event is open to women of all faiths. Read more about the event and register here.