Video of A Conversation with Bishop Melvin Talbert, February 9, 2014

DSC06502We are happy to report that a video of “A Conversation with Bishop Melvin Talbert” is posted on YouTube.  The event was sponsored by the Southwest Chapter of Methodist Federation for Social Action at Trinity United Methodist Church in Austin, TX on Sunday, February 9, 2014.  Introduction by Rev. Sid Hall.  The Sign Language Interpreter is Clyde Boyd.

Bishop Talbert discusses the events surrounding his ministry of “Biblical Obedience” and the future of LGBTQ issues in the United Methodist Church. Retired Bishop Talbert has been an advocate for peace and for the oppressed and marginalized. He has fought to help The United Methodist Church and society address racism. He is committed to racial, gender and sexual orientation inclusiveness, stating that there is room at God’s table for everyone.

The video is in two parts.  You can watch the two parts on YouTube at the links below.  When you select the playlist link below the second part should start after the first part completes.  The links for the individual parts are listed in case you want to watch them separately. Thanks to Donn German for videoing the event.

There is a playlist that should play both parts:

Bishop Talbert to Celebrate at UUMC Austin, Followed by Lunch & Conversation at Trinity, February 9

talbert weddingThe Southwest Chapter of MFSA invites you to join us for lunch and A Conversation with Bishop Talbert on Sunday, February 9, at Trinity UMC, 4001 Speedway-Austin, TX. Bishop Talbert will discuss the events surrounding his ministry of “Biblical Obedience” and the future of LGBTQ issues in the UMC.

Lunch will be served starting at 12:15P.M.  The conversation with Bishop Talbert will be from 1:15 to 3 P.M.  No reservations are required.  All are welcome to attend these events. If you would like to help with the luncheon event at Trinity UMC or have questions, please contact Janice Curry,

Bishop Talbert to Celebrate Reconciling Ministry Anniversary
at University UMC, Austin
Sunday, February 9 – 8:30 & 11:00am

talbertRetired Bishop Melvin G. Talbert will be joining University United Methodist Church to celebrate our Reconciling Ministry anniversary on Sunday, February 9, 2014. Bishop Talbert will be in the UUMC pulpit at the 8:30 and 11 A.M. services delivering his message on Biblical Obedience.

Bishop Melvin G. Talbert has served The United Methodist Church as a mentor, pastor, conference staff member, district superintendent, general secretary and bishop. An institute was created in his name by Black Methodists for Church Renewal to engage and encourage young lay and clergy to reach their leadership potential.

Talbert has been an advocate for peace and for the oppressed and marginalized. He has fought to help The United Methodist Church and society address racism. He is committed to racial, gender and sexual orientation inclusiveness, stating that there is room at God’s table for everyone.

The celebration will include an installation from the Shower of Stoles project in the sanctuary, an extraordinary collection of over a thousand liturgical stoles and other sacred items representing the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people of faith. These religious leaders have served in twenty-seven denominations and faith traditions, and come from six countries on three continents. This collection celebrates the gifts of GLBTQ persons who serve God in countless ways, while also lifting up those who have been excluded from service because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Project bears witness to the huge loss of leadership that the church has brought upon itself because of its own unjust policies.

Chapter Meeting Thursday, February 13 One Woman’s Story of Advocacy for Texas Public Schools

Texas Parent PAC – Supporting Public Education

Thursday, February 13 at Saint John’s UMC, Austin

6:30pm – Snacks & Conversations

7:00pm – Program

On Thursday, February 13, join MFSA to learn about the power of political activism.  Carolyn Boyle, a member of Saint John’s UMC, is one of the founders of the Texas Parent PAC, a bipartisan political action committee for parents, grandparents, parents-to-be, and anyone who supports high quality public education. Carolyn is a long-time advocate for public education, former PTA President, and Coordinator for the Coalition of Public Schools.

40778_10150245520365481_1191201_nCarolyn and four other mothers, who were fed up with the Texas Legislature’s treatment of public education, formed the Texas Parent PAC in 2005.  The statewide PAC seeks to elect more state legislators with the courage to stand up for children and neighborhood public schools. Endorsed candidates understand that children are our future, and lawmakers must adequately invest in education to ensure prosperity in Texas.  The group has a track record of success, helping to elect 23 new members of the Texas Legislature. In each election cycle, Texas Parent PAC supports an equal number of candidates from both major political parties.  Endorsed candidates reflect traditional mainstream American values that honor and support families, communities, democracy, and quality public education. For more information about Texas Parent PAC, visit

Come be inspired by Carolyn’s story of activism.  Join us for snacks and conversation at 6:30pm and the program at 7:00pm.  
Brief Chapter Business Meeting on February 13

At our Chapter meeting, we will elect Chapter officers.
Nominations for officers, as recommended by the Executive Committee, are shown below.
Additional nominations will be taken from the floor during the meeting.

President:                  Anne Mund
Vice President          Rowland Curry
Secretary                   Deana Henry
Treasurer                   Janice Curry

In addition, the Treasurer’s Report will be provided to those in attendance.

MLK March in Austin


On January 20, over 25 MFSA members and supporters participated in the Martin Luther King, Jr. march in Austin from the UT campus to the state capitol.  Along with thousands of others, we heard inspirational speeches, prayers, and choirs celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. King

Congratulations to Sid Hall on 25 Years of Progressive Leadership at Trinity UMC

sid hallOn Sunday, February 2nd, Rev. Sid Hall was honored by Trinity UMC, Austin for 25 years of progressive leadership at Trinity and in the community. Congratulations Sid!  You are an inspiration to us all!.


The Interfaith Environmental Network of Austin

You are Invited to Attend the Monthly Symposium

What:  Symposium with Q&A

When:  Tue, 2/4/14, 7pm to 8:30pm

Where: Central Presbyterian Church (map)

200 E 8th St., at Brazos St.

Austin, TX 78701


No cost to attend

All are welcome!   parking info

Save Energy at Home

Learn how Austin Energy can help you SAVE MONEY and reduce your carbon footprint!

You may think saving energy is small potatoes – but a new group of environmental stewards calls energy efficiency “our greatest energy resource.” In fact, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, the average US home can easily reduce its energy bills 25% to 35% year-round with basic efficiency improvements.

Fortunately for Austinites, the City of Austin and Austin Energy have numerous programs to help you cover the costs of such improvements. Join us in learning about our City’s world-leading rebate, incentive, and financing programs for home energy efficiency. Speakers include John Umphress, Senior Green Building and Sustainability Consultant at the City’s renown Green Building program. John will elaborate on proven green design solutions and how they’re being effectively called upon to meet Austin’s home energy challenges.

Screening of “Inequality for All”

Date: February 5, 2014

Time: 2:00 pm  to  4:00 pm

Location: Texas Capitol Extension Auditorium (Room E1.004), 201 E. 14th St. Austin

Inequality for All” features professor and Clinton cabinet member Robert Reich analyzing how the widening income gap has a devastating impact on the American economy. Reich explains how the massive consolidation of wealth by a small group threatens the viability of the American workforce and the foundation of democracy.

Following the film, there will be a brief panel-discussion. The screening is free but RSVP is required.  Seating will be limited, on a first-come, first-seated basis.

The event is sponsored by state Sen. Rodney Ellis, Austin Branch NAACP, the Center for Public Policy Priorities, Workers Defense Project, Austin Area Urban League, Texas AFL-CIO, and the Community Action Network.

– See more at:

Become a Deputy Voter Registrar!

You  Are Invited to Become a Deputy Voter Registrar – February  6

vote-8One way to “change the world” is by voting in local, state, and national elections. It’s the American way! Unfortunately, Texans have some of the lowest voter registration and voting rates in the nation. You can help to change that by receiving training as a Deputy Voter Registrar for Travis County and helping with local voter registration.

The Miriam Circle of Saint John’s UMW is sponsoring a one-hour training session for those interested in being a Deputy Voter Registrar. It will be held 7-8 p.m. on Thursday, February 6 in the back room at 5900 Wynona (house at the corner of Allandale and Wyonna across from Saint John’s UMC). The training will be conducted by Cheryl Reese, the county’s Voter Registration Outreach Program Coordinator. To pre-register to attend, send an email to Janice Curry, UMW Social Action Chair, at Invite your friends and spouse. This event is open to the public.

Dr. Carl Hart To Speak On February 6

Dr. Carl Hart on “We Got Hoodwinked: The Problem Is Drug Policy, not Drugs”

Date: February 6, 2014

Time: 7:00 pm  to  9:00 pm

xarlHartPhotoDr. Carl Hart will speak about the myths concerning drug use and the consequences of contemporary drug policy. Drawing on his scientific work and social analysis, Hart goes beyond the hype to examine the relationship between drugs and pleasure, choice, and motivation, both in the brain and in society. His findings shed new light on common ideas about race, poverty, and drugs and explain why current policies are failing.

Hart teaches in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry at Columbia University, and is a Research Scientist in the Division of Substance Abuse at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. He is a member of the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse and on the board of directors of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence and the Drug Policy Alliance. A native of Miami, Hart earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in experimental psychology and neuroscience at the University of Wyoming.

Hart’s talk will draw on his 2013 book, High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know about Drugs and Society, in which he writes not only about his academic work but life growing up in one of Miami’s toughest neighborhoods and how it led him to his pioneering work in drug addiction. Hart escaped neighborhoods that were dominated by entrenched poverty but has not turned his back on that world since becoming Columbia University’s first tenured African American professor in the sciences. Determined to make a difference, he applies his science to help save real lives.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by St. James’ Episcopal Church, the Third Coast Activist Resource Center, and the University of Texas Department of Psychology, Warfield Center for African and African American Studies, and Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.

For more information, contact Robert Jensen at If you need accommodations for this event, please contact Betty Jeanne Taylor at at least five days in advance.

Location: St. James’ Episcopal Church, 1941 Webberville Road, Austin, 78721

– See more at:

Sara Miles at University UMC Austin – February 7

Friday, February 7, 2014 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

University UMC Austin
2409 Guadalupe Street
Austin, TX

sara-miles-slider-300x168Acclaimed author Sara Miles returns to UUMC’s Sanctuary to read from her new book, “City of God.”  This free event is open to the public, and book signing opportunities will be available. Contact Diana Dworin (512)4 78-9387 ext. 212 or E-mail with questions

Presentation on Keystone XL Pipeline

Date: February 7, 2014

Time: 7:00 pm  to  8:30 pm

Location: Friends Meeting House, 3701 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Austin, TX 78721

At 7 pm on Friday, February 7, Stephanie Germaine, who holds a Ph.D. in Earth Sciences, will give a presentation on the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, which is currently under review by the State Department. NASA climate scientist James Hansen has declared that construction of the pipeline would mean “game over for the planet.”

The next day, Saturday, February 8, there will be a training from 1 – 5:30 pm for non-violent direct action against the pipeline project that will take place in Houston. For more information, and to RSVP for the training, visit

Joint Annual Conference Meeting February 8


Delegates from Southwest Texas and Rio Grande conferences to meet jointly

Special session called for Feb. 8, 2014

Delegates from the Southwest Texas and Rio Grande Conferences will meet jointly in a special called session Feb. 8 at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center in San Antonio. Delegates will vote on the beginning plan of organization for the new conference.

[From SWTX Conference website:]

Bishop Jim Dorff has called a special joint annual conference session with both the Río Grande and Southwest Texas Conferences to vote on a beginning plan of organization for the new unified conference.

The session is scheduled for Feb. 8, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., inside the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center in San Antonio.  This meeting will be for those of you who were annual conference delegates to the 2013 annual conference.

“This is a very important meeting,” Dorff said.

At the meeting, the Unification Implementation Team will present its final report on the new conference organizational plan.

“The UIT has taken all the input from the June session and made some slight revisions,” Dorff said. “This is the final product.”

Delegates will meet jointly and vote separately, Dorff said.  They will vote on the new conference plan, including the new name.

Materials related to the organizational plan will be sent out in the next two or three weeks, Dorff said.

He called an early special session because an earlier vote means conference committees have more time to make adjustments to plan budgets, consider personnel issues and look at nominating reports.

“We can’t do anything until we get a basic structure approved,” Dorff said.

Leaders will also determine an effective start date for unification, which is currently recommended to be Jan. 1, 2015

Ride For Refuge – February 8

rideforrefugeesOn February 8, 2014, RST Austin will partner with Ride for Refuge  to raise funds for refugees, asylees, and survivors of human trafficking most in need. This is a great opportunity to become involved in the work that RST does to help families from around the world who now make Austin home. The time you give and money you donate will directly affect the lives of hundreds of displaced people in Austin.  Our community is a great city for welcoming the displaced and giving to local causes that matter, so we hope that you will join us for the ride on February 8th, 2014!

What: 10, 35, and 60 mile bicycle fundraiser to raise funds for refugees, asylees, and survivors of human trafficking in Austin

When: February 8, 2014, 8:00AM

Where:  Yellow Bike Project, 1216 Webberville Rd, Austin, TX 78721

Click here for more information and to sign up! 

Also, check us out on Facebook!

League of Women Voters Presentations in February

LWV city council
The League of Women Voters is sponsoring, along with KUT, KLRU, and the The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life, two sessions that will provide an overview of Austin city government and how Austinites can best participate in city governance. These are designed for all civic-minded residents, and will be available for viewing on the Internet. 
The new City Council will face unprecedented challenges after being elected this November, and will need the informed participation of every constituent. Our goal is to help usher in an effective new City Council with an informed electorate.


 Saturday, February 8, 2014, 10 am until Noon


Saturday, February 22, 2014,10 am until Noon

(doors open at 9:30 – please be seated before 10)


KLRU’s historic Studio 6A in the Comm. Bldg.

(SE corner Guadalupe and 26th)

February 8

The City Does “What”?

 A panel discussion on the functions of city government, featuring:

  • Marc Ott, City Manager  
  • Karen Kennard, City Attorney
  • Ed van Eenoo, Deputy Chief Financial Officer
  • Roger Duncan, Former General Mgr, Austin Energy 
  • Garner Stoll, Former Imagine Austin Lead Manager

February 22

Speak Out! 

A panel and audience discussion on how to effectively communicate with city officials, featuring:

  • Nelson Linder, President, Austin Branch NAACP
  • Honorable Gonzalo Barrientos, Chair, Austin Charter Review Committee
  • Susan Morrison, League of Women Voters

In this session, a number of chairpersons of city boards & commissions will explain what they do and how they relate to the Council.  

KUT News’ Joy Diaz and Wells Dunbar will moderate these forums


LWV Austin urges civic-minded Austinites to attend

League of Women Voters’ Guide

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

LWVIt’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.