Bishop Carcaño Sends Letter to UMC Bishops in Africa

A Letter to the Active and Retired United Methodist Bishops of Africa

February 24, 2014

Grace and peace to you in the name of Christ Jesus.  In 2012 you and I began a conversation about homosexuality.  This morning as I prayed I felt convicted to write to you and continue that conversation.  With a heavy heart I have been tracking what is happening in Uganda.   This nation state has legalized discrimination against homosexuals; a severe discrimination that gives wings to hatred and violence against these who are also children of God.  What is happening in Uganda will spread throughout the continent of Africa and beyond if it is left unchallenged.

I have heard some of you say that homosexuality is a U.S. issue and not an African issue.  I disagree, for as I have traveled to some of the places in Africa where you lead our United Methodist work, I have met your homosexual children and your homosexual brothers and sisters and mine.  They have shared with me how they live in constant fear because of their sexual orientation.   These are not strangers.  They are members of our United Methodist family, devoted to Christ Jesus with the same heart and passion that you and I share.  Church membership, however, should not be a requirement for our concern and care.  Men and women and young people and their families are suffering and being forced into repressive webs of deadly coercion against each other because of sexual identity.  We must not stand by without denouncing this evil and injustice.

You and I disagree about homosexuality but I beseech you to consider that discrimination and violence against persons because of their sexual orientation cannot be justified under our Christian faith.  Jesus consistently went to the margins of society to minister to and redeem those whom society considered unclean and unworthy of God’s grace.   As servants of Christ Jesus we can do no less.

I beg you to act in behalf of those whom Jesus also considers his beloved.  I do not ask you to stand in support of homosexuality.  I ask you to raise your voices against hatred and violence.  At my end I pledge to do all I can to challenge U.S. forces that contribute to the fomenting of this hatred and violence in Africa.

I write to you not as one who has any authority over you, for I do not.  I pray that you will receive these words as those of a sister in the faith who strives with you to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  Please know that you are in my prayers as you lead God’s people.

Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño

Stop The Deportations Rally

BISHOP-ARRESTED-570WASHINGTON, D.C. (UMNS) — Thirty-two people, including two United Methodist bishops, were arrested as they prayed in the shadow of the White House on President’s Day to hold President Obama accountable for the nearly 2 million immigrants deported during his administration.

United Methodist bishops Julius Trimble and Minerva Carcaño are shown here praying in front of the White House on President’s Day during a demonstration calling for an end to deportations of undocumented immigrants. (Photo by Jay Mallin, UMNS) before they were arrested.

Harriett Jane Olson, top executive for United Methodist Women, started the vigil at 1 p.m. with a prayer, “God we are gathered in sorrow and in prayer … we need help.” She was in the group arrested.

http://umc-gbcs.org/faith-in-action/church-leaders-arrested-in-d.c.-immigration-pray-in

News From Texas Impact

STATEMENT OF TEXAS RELIGIOUS LEADERS ON RECENT ANTI-METHODIST COMMENTS

Submitted by Bee on Sun, 02/23/2014 – 6:02pm

In a Friday morning Fort Worth Star Telegram article by Bud Kennedy, we became aware that Tea Party leader Julie McCarty has opposed a local candidate for criminal court judge because “he is a Methodist…Methodists tend not to take a stand on issues – anything goes.”  She explained why she is supporting another candidate in the race: “My preference is a straitlaced Baptist to an everything-goes Methodist.”  http://texasimpact.org/

News From TCADP

From the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

It’s Time for Answers in the Willingham Case

Ten years ago today – February 17, 2004 – Cameron Todd Willingham was executed by the State of Texas despite compelling evidence of his innocence.  Willingham was put to death for the 1991 arson murder of his three daughters in Corsicana.  His case continues to be shrouded in doubt and controversy, as every fire expert who has examined the case since the time of his conviction has concluded that the evidence does not support the finding of arson.  The tragic deaths of Willingham’s children were likely the result of a terrible accident, not a crime.

Last fall, relatives for Cameron Todd Willingham, working with the Innocence Project, filed an amended petition with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles asking the state to posthumously pardon him.  Family members urged the state to conduct an investigation into Willingham’s wrongful execution based on newly discovered evidence that points to possible false testimony at his trial and possible prosecutorial misconduct.

Take action today! Through the Innocence Project, you can write to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Rick Perry and ask them to conduct an investigation into Cameron Todd Willingham’s execution.  The Willingham family should not have to wait another 10 years for answers.

2013 a Record Year for Exonerations

Unfortunately, the flaws and failures in the case of Cameron Todd Willingham are not unique. According to a new report from the National Registry of Exonerations, 2013 was a “record-breaking” year for exonerations in the United States, with 87 known exonerations, including one death penalty case. Texas led all states with 13 exonerations.  Here are some highlights of the report, “Exonerations in 2013”:

  • 27 of the exonerations last year occurred in cases in which no crime in fact happened, a record number.
  • 15 known exonerations in 2013 occurred in cases in which the defendants were convicted after pleading guilty, also a record number.
  • DNA evidence is playing a diminishing role in exonerations and accounted for only a fifth of the total number of exonerations in 2013.
  • At least 1,304 prisoners falsely convicted of crimes have been exonerated over the past 25 years.

Read the report and check out infographics from the National Registry of Exonerations

Henry-Crowe installed as General Secretary of GBCS

CHEVY CHASE, Md. — The Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe was formally installed as General Secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) during a worship service Thursday, Feb. 27. The installation service took place at Chevy Chase United Methodist Church.  MFSA Executive Director Chett Pritchett and Board Members Rowland Curry and Joey Lopez were among those in attendance.

Read more at: http://umc-gbcs.org/faith-in-action/henry-crowe-to-be-installed-as-general-secretary-feb.-27

MFSA Annual Conference Luncheon Scheduled

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 13

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.”

We Need Your Books Again This Year!

Annual Conference Book FairFor several years, SWT-MFSA has sponsored a Book Fair at Annual Conference.  Members and friends box up their gently used religious and spiritual books, and we haul them to Corpus Christi.  It becomes like a treasure hunt at our tables!  People contribute to us according to what they think the books are worth to them.  It has been quite successful for the past 4 or 5 years, but to make it happen, we need your books!  Contact Rowland Curry (rcurry@austin.rr.com) and we will arrange to pick them up.

Video Available For Bishop Talbert Discussion

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What a great gathering at Trinity UMC in Austin on Sunday, February 9, to hear Bishop Melvin Talbert!  About 200 Austin and San Antonio area United Methodists joined the SWTX – MFSA Chapter for “Lunch and A Conversation with Bishop Talbert.”  You will find photos of the event on our website: http://www.flickr.com/photos/swtexasmfsa.  Special thanks to Trinity UMC and University UMC Austin, to the Central Texas MFSA Chapter for their generous support, and to the many volunteers who helped with this event.

We are happy to report that a video of “A Conversation with Bishop Melvin Talbert” is posted on YouTube. The introduction is by Rev. Sid Hall and the Sign Language Interpreter is Clyde Boyd. Thanks to Donn German for videoing the event.

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. When you select the playlist link below, the second part should start after the first part completes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ho0j1LqkZow&list=PLx2OEEviLEcziW7SR52YtJ492OF5jbGmy

If you like the work we are doing, you can stay updated on the latest by following us on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Southwest-TX-Chapter-MFSA/208934022460155.

Our newsletter is posted on our website: https://swtmfsa.wordpress.com/.

Let’s keep the conversation going!

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

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, http://www.mfsaweb.org 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.