TCADP Annual Conference Scheduled for February

2014 TCADP Annual Conference – Lighting the Way

TCADP2014Save the Date:  Saturday, February 22, 2014

Location: University Christian Church, Fort Worth, Texas

Register Today!

Sponsorship opportunities

TCADP is well-known for hosting a professional and affordable conference with inspiring speakers, informative workshops and great networking opportunities!

The TCADP Annual Conference will be held at University Christian Church, Fort Worth, Texas on the edge of the beautiful TCU campus and within miles of the Fort Worth Botanical Garden.

bob ray sandersThe 2014 Keynote Speaker during the Award Luncheon will be Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bob Ray Sanders.  Bob Ray Sanders is often criticized for writing about things he could not have experienced because, some readers say, “he can’t be that old.” The truth is Bob Ray has been a professional journalist for 40 years and in three media: newspaper, television and radio. A Fort Worth native who knows and cares about his community, and those with whom he shares this planet, this is a columnist who is not afraid to speak out on behalf of downtrodden people.


Special early bird registration rates are available for students, members, and supporters now!  Register Today!

Sponsorship Opportunities:  Consider ways your organization, faith community, or business can engage with TCADP conference attendees. Download PDF

Conference Hotel:  Block rate of $109 a night – Springhill Suites Fort Worth University – 3250 Lovell Avenue, Fort Worth, TX  76107-5730 Book your Group Rate Hotel Room

Stay tuned for more details!  TCADP members receive a discounted registration rate, so be sure to stay current.


CROP Walk – Sunday, March 23

CROPLogo2010HiRes-300x195Please mark your calendars for the 2014 CROP Hunger Walk. This annual walk is a fun and engaging way for Austin-area faith communities to join together to combat hunger and poverty in the city of Austin and globally.

The 2014 CROP Hunger Walk will be held on Sunday, March 23, 2014 at Camp Mabry, 2200 W. 35 St, Austin, TX 78703. Please check the Austin CROP Walk website in the upcoming months for more information.

The Austin CROP Hunger Walk is one of the top fundraising walks in the nation. The 2013 walk raised over $94,000! Let’s aim to be the #1 fundraiser next year. If your faith community already has a team, please join them! If you would like to organize a team in your congregation, please consider volunteering to become a recruiter! Let’s join together for the CROP Hunger Walk – Ending Hunger One Step at a Time.

Visit the website or contact the Recruiter Coordinator, Desareé W. McKinney at or 512-386-9145 ext. 308 for more information on the walk or being a fundraising recruiter.

Dr. Marcus Borg to speak in April

Marcus Borg Weekend at University UMC, Austin

April 4-6 

MarcusBorgUniversity United Methodist Church invites you to join us for a weekend of teaching and conversation with Dr. Marcus Borg, one of the most widely known and influential voices in progressive Christianity. The weekend event – “What Does It Mean To Be Christian Today?” – includes a Friday lecture on “Reclaiming Christian Language” at 7 pm, and two Saturday lectures on “Where Do We Meet the Sacred?” and “Radical Discipleship in an Unjust World” at 9:30 am and 1:30 pm. Borg will preach at UUMC’s Sanctuary worship service at 11 am on Sun. April 6.

Registration for the Friday and Saturday events is $40. Student registration is $20. Online registration will begin in February. There will be question-and-answer sessions and book signing opportunities during the weekend. Online registration will begin in February.

A major figure in scholarship related to the Historical Jesus, Borg is the author of 20 books and serves as Canon Theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Ore. Described by The New York Times as “a leading figure in his generation of Jesus scholars,” Borg has appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” and “Dateline,” PBS’s “NewsHour,” ABC’s “Evening News” and “Primetime,” NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross, and several National Geographic programs. A Fellow of the Jesus Seminar, he has been national chair of the Historical Jesus Section of the Society of Biblical Literature.


Peace and Justice Luncheon

Anthony Graves, exonerated death row inmate, will be the speaker at this year’s SWTX MFSA Peace and Justice Luncheon
in Corpus Christi, SWTX UMC Annual Conference, June 12-15 (day to be determined).

antony_gravesAnthony Charles Graves was convicted of the August 18, 1992 mass murder of six people in Somerville, after being implicated in the crime by Robert Carter – the father of one of the victims. Carter was executed in May 2000 for his part in the crime – and in his final statement took sole responsibility for the crime.

After spending 12 years on Death Row, Graves’ conviction was overturned on March 3, 2006 by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals when, in an a unanimous opinion, a three judge panel held that the state’s case had hinged on Carter’s perjured testimony, and concluded that the Prosecutor, Charles Sebesta, had intentionally withheld evidence that could have helped Graves; most notably that Carter had recanted right before he testified at Grave’s August 1992 trial.

Graves was held for an additional four years in solitary confinement in the Burleson County jail awaiting retrial until October 27, 2010, when he was released after all charges were dismissed by Burleson County Special Prosecutor Kelly Siegler, who concluded, “He’s an innocent man. There is nothing that connects Anthony Graves to this crime.”

Ruling by Bishop Dorff on Decision 1244



In Decision 1244 the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church reversed my ruling that the request for a Ruling of Law presented to me by Rev. John Elford was moot and hypothetical and therefore not a proper question of law.   The matter was remanded to me for an opinion within 60 days. The copy of the Decision forwarded to me was dated October 26, 2013.

The question asked of me by Rev. Elford was:

“In response to the Southwest Texas Conference Board of Ordained Ministry’s decision to remove Mary Ann Kaiser from the Candidacy process at their June 6, 2013 meeting, I request a ruling of law as to whether a Board of Ordained Ministry can discontinue the candidacy of a certified candidate for ordained ministry who has been appropriately recommended by a District Committee on Ordained Ministry without an interview and examination by the Board of Ordained Ministry?”

Decision of Law

It is the responsibility of the Board of Ordained Ministry to examine and interview all candidates recommended to it by a District Committee on Ordained Ministry (Par. 635.2h, 635.2j, and 324.11).  The Austin District Committee recommended the candidate (Par. 324.10).  In this case, the responsibility for full examination by the Board of Ordained Ministry was not carried out. Therefore, the action of the Board in effectively discontinuing the candidacy of Mary Ann Kaiser was not appropriate according to the Discipline and is of no effect. Since the action of the Clergy Session was to uphold the action of the Board of Ordained Ministry, and the action of the Board of Ordained Ministry was not in keeping with the Discipline, I rule that Ms. Kaiser remains a Candidate for Ministry and is due full examination, including an interview, by the Board of Ordained Ministry.

My Ground Rules, by Senator Kirk Watson

(December 17, 2013)

For years, I’ve been asked about, and have enjoyed talking about, what I call “my ground rules” – a dozen principles that have generally guided the way I try to approach governing.  They’re always fun to talk about. I think that’s at least partly because they speak to things that bring us together and bring out the things we admire about government, not the stuff that divides us and drives us crazy about politics.

1.  Be willing to throw away labels. I believe we label each other — whether it’s friends or acquaintances — far too readily. Too often, labels become an excuse not to hear what someone may really think, and to pretend people are a lot more shallow than they really are. My goal is to work with whomever I can, without regard to labels. I’m hopeful — with good reason, I think — that others will approach me the same way.

2. Listen carefully and speak plainly. The key is to really listen and openly state a position. Politics is filled with people talking past one another or regurgitating platitudes. The best work comes from speaking openly, really listening, and avoiding pre-packaged talking points.

3. Follow the “84 Percent Rule”. If I can come up with something that 84 percent of the public would look at and say, “That’s not exactly how I’d do it, but it’s pretty good and it’s progress,” then I’m probably going for it. I know I won’t always get unanimity, and if I wait to act until I get 100 percent support, there likely will be no action. Also, I try to not demand my concept of perfection. If I can get 84 percent of what I want, I’ll take it and run. (Why 84 percent? I made it up. And because that’s what I was reelected as Mayor of Austin with in 2000.)

4. Be biased toward action. Too often in politics, people seem to fear failure, or the possibility that they’ll be upstaged by the next idea that comes along. I’d rather make a mistake trying something than make a mistake missing an opportunity.

5. Never forget that hope matters. Public service should have goals of assuring hope and creating opportunity for happiness.

6. Have a short-term focus with a long-term vision. One of the “gifts” of cancer was the knowledge that there may not be a tomorrow. So I try to focus on achieving results right now, but in a way that benefits the long-term. Both of those — the moment, and the future — are important, but too often people lose track of one or the other.

7. Know core values and assets, and be willing to admit weaknesses. I try to assess my values, assets, and weaknesses routinely. It’s not always fun, but it’s necessary.

8. Avoid the nitpickers, naysayers and know-it-alls (OK, so maybe there are a few appropriate labels). We all know those folks who kill good ideas by picking them to death, folks who love reminding us how much smarter or holier they are. It isn’t called “negative energy” for nothing.

9. Create new and different constituencies, and avoid creating unnecessary enemies. Even when I disagree with someone, there’s no reason to do it in such a way that they never want to work with me on something we’d agree about. I also try to look at an idea or policy position from another person’s point of view. It’s worth it when you can tweak a proposal to bring everybody — or, at least, 84 percent of everybody — on-board.

10. Focus on the positive, even in situations that are difficult.

11. Don’t take yourself too seriously, even when the bull is really good.

12. Enjoy the service. Too many people in public service today seem angry. I guess it’s probably easy to get cynical. But the motivation for service shouldn’t be anger. Service ought to be fulfilling and not a burden (at least not most of the time).

League of Women Voters’ Guide

League of Women Voters’ Guide for the March 4 Primary will be available February 16


It’s time to start thinking about spring primary elections.  The League of Women Voters’ Voters Guide for the Primary election on March 4 will be a pullout section in the Sunday, February 16 Austin American Statesman (two days before early voting begins on Tues., Feb. 18).  It will feature elections in the five counties included in the Statesman’s distribution areas (Travis, Hays, Williamson, Bastrop, Caldwell).  The LWV-Texas will be covering all the statewide offices and the Austin League will cover all the local elections in the five counties. The political parties covered are all those who hold a primary, the Democratic and Republican Parties. The General election in November will cover all parties who filed for offices.


More News From MFSA And Friends


 Reconciling Ministries recent newsletter:


MFSA Fall 2013 Progressive Voice is available for download at:


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