Next Chapter Meeting May 8

We will not have a monthly chapter meeting in April.

Our May 8 meeting will feature a conversation with Reverend Edward Garcia, Pastor of Emmanuel UMC in Austin.  We will be discussing the Unification Plan for the Southwest Texas and the Rio Grande Conferences.  Specifically, what is the role of the Transforming Communities Team, including the role of the restructured Board of Church and Society in the Unification Plan?

The meeting will be held at Saint John’s UMC – Austin on May 8 at 7:00 pm, with social gathering at 6:30.  Look for more details in the next e-News.

Report on Busy Week for SWTX Chapter

Meeting With Central Texas Chapter

On March 27, the Southwest Texas Chapter joined the Central Texas Chapter for a meeting on immigration issues at the Palm Valley Lutheran Church in Round Rock.  The speakers from the Austin Workers Defense Project discussed the plight of both documented and undocumented construction workers in the Austin area.  Immigration reform is sorely needed.  Please go to WDP’s web site for additional information and upcoming events.

BOPA Recycling

DSC04067MFSA sponsored our 6th annual BOPA (Batteries, Oil, Paint, Antifreeze) recycling event on Saturday at Crestview UMC.  We had 86 vehicles bringing items from 14 different zip codes.  (We do not have the official counts yet, but we collected well over 400 gallons of paint, plus hundreds of pounds of batteries!)  Thanks to the Crestview United Methodist Men and Rev. Linda Elford, as well as many MFSA volunteers. Thanks to Kerry Stevens for leading this event!

An Unreal Dream – The Michael Morton Story

Our MFSA Chapter teamed up with Saint John’s UMC’s Risk-Taking Mission & Service committee to provide a screening of An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story at Saint John’s on Sunday evening.  This inspiring film portrays the harrowing true tale of Michael Morton of Georgetown.  Wrongly convicted of the brutal murder of his young wife, Morton spent twenty-five years in the Texas prison system.  Collaborating with his attorney and the Innocence Project, Morton was cleared through DNA testing.  In the process he brought to bear the plight of America’s unjust imprisonments.

Dr. Marcus Borg this Weekend


Dr. Marcus Borg:

What Does It Mean To Be A Christian Today?

University UMC
April 4-6, 2014


University 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.

A major figure in scholarship related to the Historical Jesus, Dr. 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.

Registration at:

Unconscious Bias: Discovering Racism of the Well-intentioned

Friday, April 4th, 1:00 to 4:00 pmWhere: VUKA, (411 Monroe St., Austin, TX)

Price: $52.00

GAFDI Happy hour @ 5 pm, El Chile (1816 S. 1st st., Austin, TX )

This workshop will help participants better understand how unconscious bias influences hiring practices, evaluation, service implementation, and leadership styles. There will be an opportunity to improve decision making, diminish unconscious bias, and reduce micro-inequalities.

Presenter: Dr. Kazique J. Prince is founder and chief executive officer at Jelani Consulting, LLC providing executive consultation and coaching services focused on cultural competency.

Co-sponsored by the Greater Austin Forum for Diversity & Inclusion (GAFDI) and Austin Multicultural Friends Redux

Register online: Meetup: Austin Multicultural friends redux

Justice for Our Neighbors Acoustic Music Benefit

Justice for Our Neighbors Fundraiser – Carousel Lounge

1110 East 52nd Street, Austin, Texas 78723

Saturday, April 53:00-8:00pm

Steve Brooks, Kim Simpson, Lili and Walter, Hannah and Diana, Ben Wright, Katy Evans, and Ryan Pickop will play at a benefit for justice for our neighbors, an outreach of the United Methodist Church that offers free legal services to immigrants and refugees.   $10 suggested donation.

Servant Church is sponsoring the event.

If you’re on facebook, RSVP and share the event at

UT Panel on Sustainability and Divestment

Bill McKibben on UT Panel on Sustainability and Divestment

Date: April 9, 2014

Time: 5:00 pm  to  7:00 pm

Location: KLRU Studio 6A, CMB Building, University of Texas, Austin

A panel featuring environmentalist Bill McKibben and finance professors Keith Brown and Laura Starks will discuss the national movement to pressure colleges and universities to divest their endowment funds from fossil fuels.

McKibben is the author of a dozen books about the environment, beginning with the first book for a general audience on climate change, The End of Nature in 1989. He is a founder of the grassroots climate campaign

Doors open at 4:30 pm for refreshments and the event starts at 5 pm. More information online.

– See more at:

The Trial of Jesus – Manchaca UMC

Manchaca United Methodist ChurchSunday, April 13 at 2:00pm.

In this powerful presentation, two Christian attorneys, Mark Osler and Jeanne Bishop, stage a mock death penalty trial of Jesus based on current Texas law.  The unscripted courtroom drama features legal arguments and live witnesses testifying about whether Jesus should live or die.  A judge presides and the audience is the jury.

Mark Osler is the author of Jesus on Death Row: The Trial of Jesus and American Capital Punishment.  A former federal prosecutor, he teaches criminal law and sentencing at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis.

Jeanne Bishop is a felony trial attorney with the Office of the Cook County Public Defender in Chicago and an adjunct professor of Trial Advocacy at Northwestern University School of Law.  She is also the sister of Nancy Bishop Langert, who was murdered with her husband and their unborn child in 1990.

All are welcome.  For More Information call: 512-282-7274

Download Flyer to Share.

iACT 2014 Hope Awards On April 24

iACT’s 2014 Hope Awards

Thursday, April 24, 2014
6:00 – 9:00 PM
Four Seasons Hotel Austin
98 San Jacinto Boulevard


With over 300 guests expected to attend, including some of the Central Texas area’s most prominent business, faith and community leaders, the Hope Awards is Interfaith Action of Central Texas’ (iACT) premier fundraising event to support our outstanding community service programs. Please join us in bringing hope to those we serve: impoverished seniors, disabled individuals and newly arrived refugees from around the world.


First UMC Reconciling Ministries Service – Sunday, April 27

frankschaefer2To celebrate the first anniversary of the decision made by First UMC, Austin to affiliate as a congregation with the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), they have invited the Reverend Frank Schaefer to share his witness at their Reconciling Ministries Service at First Church on Sunday, April 27 at 6:00 pm.In February 2013, First Church Austin chose to add its voice to the struggle for full inclusion of LGBTQ persons in a year in which opposition to such inclusion has hardened in The United Methodist Church.  For example, the Reverend Frank Schaefer, pastor of a small United Methodist Church in eastern Pennsylvania, officiated at the private marriage ceremony for his gay son and partner in Massachusetts in 2007 –not as an act of protest, but as an act of love and pastoral care for his son. In this past year, he was brought up on charges of disobedience to the Discipline of The United Methodist Church and found guilty. The prosecution for the church argued that the severest penalty should be imposed on the Reverend Schaefer to serve as a deterrent to other ministers. Consequently, he was “defrocked,” i.e., he had to surrender his ministerial credentials.  Plan to attend and hear his powerful witness.

Christian Unity Gathering May 18-20

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Council of Churches (NCC) will host a Christian Unity Gathering (CUG), Sunday through Tuesday, May 18-20, at the Hilton Washington Dulles Airport here.Primary focus will be on the scourge of mass incarceration.The gathering is to convene people of faith to explore the widening revelation of God’s love and challenge us to deepen our commitment to work with people marginalized and disenfranchised from opportunities God desires everyone to enjoy.At this gathering the primary focus will be on the scourge of mass incarceration and what the ecumenical community is already doing and can do together to combat a justice system that warehouses and disposes disproportionate numbers of people of color.

Featured speakers

Featured speakers include the following:

  • Dr. Iva Carruthers, general secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference;
  • Dr. Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund;
  • Dr. Harold Dean Trulear, national director of Healing Communities; and
  • Jim Wallis, president/editor-in-chief of Sojourners.

The Rev. A. Roy Medley, general secretary, American Baptist Churches – USA, will lead a Bible study.  In addition, new NCC General Secretary/President Jim Winkler will offer his vision for the organization during a service of celebration. For more information, visit the CUG webpage for the full roster of presenters, schedule and registration.

MFSA Annual Conference Luncheon

Life After Death Row – With Anthony Graves

Peace and Justice Luncheon

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 spending 12 years on Death Row, Mr. Graves’ conviction was overturned on March 3, 2006 by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In an a unanimous opinion, the three-judge Court of Appeals held that the state’s case had hinged on perjured testimony by Robert Carter – the father of one of the victims.  The court concluded that 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.  After being implicated in the crime Carter was executed in May 2000 for his part in the murders – and in his final statement took sole responsibility for the crime.

Mr. 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.”

Luncheon Flyer: MFSA_Peace and Justice Luncheon 2014

We Need Your Books Again This Year!

DSC02328For 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 ( and we will arrange to pick them up.

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, 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.

Stay Connected with MFSA

MFSA – Chapter Website:

MFSA – National Site:

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