Austin Region Justice for Our Neighbors

A ministry in the Austin District of the Southwest Texas Conference of the UMC

JFON“but let justice roll down like the waters, and righteousness like an ever flowing stream” – Amos 5:24

 

The board of the Austin Region Justice for Our Neighbors (ARJFON) is pleased to announce we have approval from the national JFON to begin operation of a legal aid clinic in Austin. The Austin Region JFON (ARJFON) legal aid clinic will be held at Servant Church (located at Asbury UMC) in partnership with Parker Lane UMC and Westlake UMC. Additional clinics will be added as resources become available. The goal is to hire an attorney by the middle of January.

Justice for Our Neighbors is a network of legal clinics whose goal is to provide hospitality and compassion to low-income immigrants through free or low cost immigration legal services, advocacy, and education.

JFON is a non-profit ministry, with a staff attorney working with volunteers to serve immigrants by:

  • reuniting families;
  • helping women escape domestic violence and live safely in the US;
  • assisting asylum seekers, survivors of human trafficking, and college-age children to establish their immigration status; and,
  • enabling eligible individuals to attain work authorization, maintain or advance their immigration status or work toward citizenship.  See the national JFON website at njfon.org for more information.

At the request of Bishop James E. Dorff, a development team formed an Austin Region Board of Directors with members representing various UMC Austin District churches and possessing a range of skills. The initial annual budget will be in the neighborhood of $130,000. The board is on target to meet half of the budget by January 1, but we need some help with individual donations to match a grant of $10,000 from the national organization.

If you can help before the end of the year, make checks payable to ARJFON and mail to ARJFON c/o Dr. William Cain, 3600 Brownwood Drive, Austin, TX 78759. For more information, contact Helen Harkreader at helen.harkreader@gmail.com.

All donations will be tax deductible and a receipt will be given.

November MFSA Chapter Meeting Summary

At our November MFSA Chapter meeting, Break the Chains: Ending Human Trafficking, a panel of leaders from local organizations shared suggestions for ways individuals and organizations can help end this horrific practice.  Our speakers included the following:

Central Texas Coalition Against Human Trafficking Representativeshttp://www.ctcaht.org/;

Allies Against Slavery – John Nehme, CEO http://www.alliesagainstslavery.org/

Refugee Services of Texas – Kay Mailander

UT School of Social Work – Institute of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Dr. Bruce Kellison (also a member of University UMC)

Restore a Voice –  Larry Megason, Executive Director  http://restoreavoice.org/

Against Cruel Trafficking – Lizzie Jesperson, President of UT student group http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/sa/vieworgs.php?org=5340

International Justice Mission – Trevor Russo, President of UT student group http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/sa/vieworgs.php?org=5512

Among the suggestions for getting involved were prayers, monetary donations to any of these organizations, volunteering time, eating at Cabo Bob’s Burritos restaurant (2828 Rio Grande in Austin) on evenings when they share their profits with International Justice Mission, and supporting a refugee family or survivor this Christmas http://refugeeservicesoftexas.org/ways-to-help/.  Check out the websites and see how you can help.

Recap of 2013 SWTX-MFSA Partners, Activities and Support

During 2013, our Southwest Texas MFSA chapter has provided financial support to a number of organizations that share aspects of our calling and mission.  We support these organizations and their activities, and encourage our members to provide them with financial support as well:

In addition, our chapter provided financial, planning, and staffing support for the following activities and events during 2013:

  • Sold BeadforLife and Equal Exchange Fair Trade Products at Alternative Christmas Markets  http://www.beadforlife.org/  http://www.equalexchange.coop/products/chocolate
  • Cosponsored Bonhoeffer Learning Event at University UMC
  • Cosponsored Gil Caldwell Conversation Event at Saint John’s UMC
  • Cosponsored Toxic Charity Event with author Robert Lupton at Saint John’s UMC
  • Witnessed with booth at Annual Conference including education on social justice issues
  • Sponsored Peace and Justice Luncheon at SWTX Annual Conference –
    Rev. Lorenza Andrade Smith spoke about Homelessness
  • Partnered with Crestview UMC and Crestview UMM to provide BOPA recycling event
  • Collaborated with RMN Team for successful witness at Austin’s Pride Parade

More News From MFSA And Friends

 

 mfsa plumbline

 

MFSA Fall 2013 Progressive Voice is available for download at:

http://mfsaweb.org/?page_id=208

 

Current Faith in Action from General Board of Church & Society –

http://umc-gbcs.org/faith-in-action

 

Reconciling Ministries recent newsletter:  http://www.rmnetwork.org/rmnnews/