Meet the New Capital District DS, Rev. Teresa Welborn, at MFSA Meeting


Thursday, September 11, 7pm

Saint John’s UMC, 2140 Allandale, Austin, TX

The first meeting of the SWTX Methodist Federation for Social Action for 2014-2015 will be Thursday, September 11 in the Fellowship Hall at Saint John’s UMC.  The featured speaker will be Rev. Teresa Welborn, the new District Superintendent of the Austin District.  Teresa will tell us about her background and experience, her visions for the District’s future, the challenges the District is facing, and the formation of the new Capital District (our new name as of January 1, 2015), its new territorial boundaries and new member congregations, including Hispanic UMCs in our area.

Please join us at 6:30p for snacks and mingling with old friends and new; the program begins at 7p.   And new this month:  childcare will be provided!  E-mail to indicate how many children you will bring and their ages.  We hope to see you there!

2014 Austin Pride Parade


March with Austin-Area United Methodists

Saturday, September 20, 7pm


The SWTX MFSA and SWTX Reconciling Ministries Team collaborate on the Austin Pride Parade.  In 2013, over 400 United Methodists participated in the parade, sharing God’s love and grace with all.  Our goal this year is 500 United Methodists participating together in the 2014 Austin Pride Parade.


talbertLate Breaking News!!  Joining us this year in the Austin Pride Parade will be Bishop Melvin Talbert, champion of the Biblical Obedience movement and Vice-Chair of the Reconciling Ministries Network, and Matt Berryman, Executive Director of the RMN!

Participants should be registered with one of the church groups.  General questions about United Methodist participation in parade?  Contact Kenneth Henry:  or Joy Butler:


2014 Pride Interfaith Celebration

When: Tuesday, September 16th, 7:00pm.

Where: University Baptist Church

2130 Guadalupe St.

Austin, TX 78705

Austin’s Pride Interfaith Partnership announced details on the upcoming 2014 Pride Interfaith Celebration, to be held on Tuesday September 16th, as part of Austin’s Gay Pride Week.

The free event will be held at University Baptist Church at 7pm. The keynote speaker this year will be Randy Roberts Potts, the gay grandson of evangelist Oral Roberts.  Randy is a prolific author and speaker, encouraging the LGBTQ community to live authentically.  He was featured in the It Gets Better campaign and the performance art, The Gay Agenda.   Further information on Randy Roberts Potts can be found on the website

For more information on the service, please visit  or the Facebook page at

Call for Volunteers – MFSA Board Meeting in Austin

MFSA facebook banner

On October 29 – November 1, MFSA’s national Board of Directors and Program Council will hold their Fall Meeting in Austin!  We are looking for volunteers for home stays for approximately 35 adults.  If you have an extra bedroom and would be willing to host one or more of these folks from chapters throughout the nation, please let Anne Mund ( know.

We will also be seeking volunteers for transportation of our guests to and from the airport, and to other venues, and for meal arrangements.  If you are available, contact Rowland or Janice Curry (

These meetings will be open to any of our friends who wish to meet our board members or wish to observe the meetings.  We hope to arrange for one or more opportunities for socializing and learning more about MFSA and the other chapters throughout the country.

Turn Up The Heat To Help MFSA!

Summer is almost over, but it’s time to turn up the heat!

We need your help!  MFSA has been given a great opportunity to support inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) United Methodists and their work for justice for all. This past week, we were notified of receipt of a small grant to assist with strategic visioning for the Love Your Neighbor (LYN) Coalition, a group of 10 progressive organizations who are committed to justice in The United Methodist Church – not only for LGBTQ persons, but for all the places we find injustice and oppression in our Church.

Unfortunately, this grant only supports the programming, travel, and some technology upgrades for the Coalition, not the personnel costs. Current grant applications for personnel costs are in final consideration, but we need your help today. Since January, MFSA has funded the LYN Coalition Coordinator position. We expected funding this summer, but now will be awaiting word regarding personnel funding in early October.  Thus, MFSA has delayed other financial obligations because we believe so much in the work of the Coalition.

Our Coalition Coordinator, Rev. Steve Clunn, is central to the work of the LYN Coalition. Help us continue this position until we can secure more funding. Share with your colleagues, friends, family – anyone who believes in justice for LGBTQ persons in the life and mission of The United Methodist Church. Central to this work is coordinating efforts of the Coalition’s cooperative event in August 2015, the Legislative Strategy team, and further fundraising to make sure there’s a strong progressive presence in Portland for General Conference 2016!

mfsa turn_up+heatWith a goal of raising $15,000 by October 1, we believe we can continue not only to support the work of the LYN Coalition Coordinator, but show potential grantors the commitment United Methodists have made to make our denomination a welcoming place for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities who work for justice.

Your financial support – large or small – will make a difference in the future of our movement for justice and in the future of the Church!

Let’s turn up the heat and get this thermometer rising!

Donate now at

“On The Road” With SWTX-MFSA

mfsa plumblineThis Fall, the SWTX-MFSA Executive Committee will be sharing information about MFSA through a Power Point presentation.  We will begin this program at Buda UMC on Sunday, September 14, at 10:00am, at the invitation of Rev. Barbara Day.  If you have a group or Sunday School class that would be interested in hearing a presentation about the social justice work that the local and national MFSA organizations do, please contact Anne Mund,, and we will schedule a visit

Important Economic Justice Conference in Houston


As religious progressives we embrace a non-violent resistance to domination systems that marginalize the poor and the weak. Both Torah and the New Testament are clear about God’s dream for the world – a society of equality and justice where everyone has enough. As people of faith we recognize that all women, men and children are members of the family of God; they belong to us and we belong to them. We now deliberately join together determined to create economic and social justice for all.  As progressive religious people – regardless of our faith or political affiliation – we must pay attention and take action to combat this injustice. It’s time to turn the page in Texas!A three-day organizing event to unite religious progressives, academics, and justice activists to act in solidarity to promote economic justice.

Presenters include Ralph Douglas West,  Amy-Jill Levine,  John Dominic Crossan,  Joerg Rieger,  Keri Day,  Robin Meyers and many more.

For more information, click here.

Step Up For Africa

5K and 1 Mile Family Fun Walk/Run
Saturday, September 20, 8:30 AM

Step up for AfricaBrushy Creek Lake Park – Cypress Pavillion
3300 Brushy Creek Road, Cedar Park, TX  78613

Come join us for this no frills 5K and 1 Mile Family Fun Walk to benefit clean water projects in Matete, Kenya. Walkers Welcome! Strollers Welcome! Digital timer for personal record. Inflatable!
Proceeds benefit water, education, food, and medical projects
in Matete, Kenya through World Vision.

Civil Rights Conference at TSU

civil-rights-coalition-logo2014 CIVIL RIGHTS CONFERENCE

Saturday, September 20

Texas Southern University


At the 2014 Civil Rights Conference you will learn how to strategize, organize and stand up for civil rights. You will learn to be an effective and dynamic activist.  The conference is a day-long program that will feature speakers addressing topics such as:

  • Community organizing
  • Political strategies
  • Media strategies
  • Immigration issues
  • Criminal justice reform
  • Coping with discrimination and voter suppression

Our keynote speaker will be Jim Harrington, Director of the Texas Civil Rights Project and long-time civil rights activist and role model.  The conference will be held on Saturday, September 20, 2014, from 9 am to 4:30 pm at the Mickey Leland building on the Texas Southern University campus. Registration fees: $7 with pre-registration, $10 at the door, $5 for students. Register here.

Candidate Forums In Austin

The City of Austin’s Ethics Review Commission and the League of Women Voters of the Austin Area are co-hosting a series of candidate forums in September to which the public is invited. If you are unable to attend, these forums will be televised live on City Channel 6 (cable). They also will be broadcast repeatedly this fall, and will be webcast on the City’s website:

All candidates for each of Austin’s ten geographic districts as well as all candidates for mayor have been invited to participate. The dates, times, and locations can be found here.

 Austin Interfaith Fall Election Events

Austin Interfaith is a non-partisan coalition 41 of congregations, schools and labor unions that work together on issues affecting the families of Central Texas. The organization does not endorse candidates, but has an agenda and a vision for an affordable, safe and healthy Central Texas for all families.

Candidates for Mayor and County Judge

Tuesday, September 16, 7:00 pm

Temple Beth Shalom – 7300 Hart Lane

Candidates for Mayor and City Council

Sunday, October 5, 3:00 pm

Abiding Love Lutheran Church, 7210 Brush Country Rd

Interfaith Action of Central Texas

redbench_logo-300x79The Red Bench is an on-going dialogue program designed to address the most pressing needs of our time: improving interfaith understanding and civil discourse in our society.

Next Red Bench Conversation

September 23

Time: 6:30 – 8:30pm Location:  Trinity United Methodist Church

A Night Under One SkyNight under 1 sky

October 7


Time: 6:30 – 9:00pm

Location:  Umlauf Sculpture Garden

Purchase Tickets
Become a Sponsor


Mark Your Calendars!

interfaith Thanks 

An Interfaith Thanksgiving Service & Celebration


November 23

Together at the Table: Hunger & Poverty Summit

baylor initiativeThe Texas Hunger Initiative, Texas Food Bank Network and the USDA Southwest Regional Office are pleased to present Together at the Table: Hunger and Poverty Summit at Baylor University on October 1-3, 2014.

We hope you’ll join the conversation as we hear from leaders from across the country as they share their expertise in addressing poverty, specifically food insecurity, on both a macro and micro-level. Together at the Table is designed to encourage the exchange of ideas and to strengthen partnerships as we move closer toward our goal of ending hunger and poverty together.

Keynote speakers include Robert B. Aiken, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of Feeding America, US Rep. Joaquin Castro, and Suzii Paynter, executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Thank You For Your Support, Barbara Wendland!

Connections, Temple, TX

B wendlandBarbara Wendland and her family foundation, The Joe B. and Louise P. Cook Foundation, are supporters of progressive Christianity and the work of the MFSA.  Barbara, a lay United Methodist from Temple, TX, is the author of Connections, a four-page monthly letter. Connections urges church members to take initiative and action to help make their personal lives, the institutional church, and the world more like what Jesus described.

In Connections, Barbara Wendland, a lay United Methodist, is urging church members to:

  • Continually reevaluate their religious beliefs, their understanding of God, their understanding of the church’s purpose, and their churches’ effectiveness in carrying out that purpose
  • Revise their beliefs and their churches’ methods when new insight or information seems to make revision necessary
  • Focus on today rather than yesterday, and on earthly life rather than an unknown afterlife
  • Notice how their personal lives, their churches, and their world differ from what Jesus advocated
  • Take initiative and action to help make their personal lives, the institutional church, and the world more like what Jesus described
  • Talk openly in the church about how the teaching of Jesus may apply to current issues and about how the church needs to exemplify and promote adherence to that teaching.

Barbara has a theology degree, years of personal reading and study about religion and the church, and wide involvement in the church, helping her to see and say what many lay church members can’t. In Connections, Barbara takes on one sacred cow after another. Wendland is saying what many other laity and many clergy would like to say, and she says it clearly in conversational language.

Take a look at her website and sign up to receive Connections free of charge.

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty News

antony_gravesState Bar of Texas to Consider Allegations of Prosecutorial Misconduct in Case of Anthony Graves

The Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the State Bar of Texas has made a “just cause” determination with respect to allegations of prosecutorial misconduct against former Burleson County District Attorney Charles J. Sebesta, Jr. in his prosecution of Anthony Graves in 1994.  As a result of Sebesta’s misconduct, Graves spent 18½ years of his life in prison, more than 12½ years of that on death row, for a crime he did not commit and of which he was later completely exonerated by honest prosecutors.  Anthony Graves was the keynote speaker at the SWTX Peace and Justice Luncheon in Corpus Christi on June 13, 2014.

Statement by Anthony Graves:  “Twenty years of being victimized by Charles Sebesta is enough.  I never should have been on death row, much less for 12½ years of my life.  The courts and the State of Texas finally agreed, and acknowledged that I am completely innocent.  Mr. Sebesta thinks he can just ignore all that and keep claiming that I am a murderer.  He continues to assassinate my character, forcing me to explain myself and to defend myself.  That is not right—an honest prosecutor admitted that I am completely innocent, and the State of Texas agreed.  I am not a lawyer, but I believe that any lawyer who doesn’t believe in the presumption of innocence—much less an absolute and incontestable finding of innocence as happened in my case—doesn’t deserve to be a lawyer in our great State.

“I sought justice for a long time while imprisoned, having to trust the court system and the legal profession to care about justice, and to do the right thing.  I am glad to see the State Bar of Texas now act favorably on my grievance at this stage.  I am confident that the Bar will discipline Mr. Sebesta for his misconduct and do whatever it can to stop him from continuing to persecute me, a completely innocent man.”

More at:

Interfaith Environmental Network of Austin

Becoming Carbon Positive

The documentary, Becoming Carbon Positive, represents the values and actions of Austin’s faith community in tackling the challenges of climate change.  Clergy and church communities have joined across central Texas, forming the Interfaith Environmental Network to spur awareness and action in reducing their congregational carbon footprint.

Global UMC Responses

Faith Community Responds To The Border

If you don’t subscribe to the Austin American Statesman, then you might have missed the submission by Bishop Dorff and Rev. Laura Merrill, the District Superintendent for the McAllen District.

You can read the article here.

UMC Ebola Response

The United Methodist Church is helping our brothers and sisters in Western Africa respond to the ebola crises.  As you know, our partners in Diecke, Guinea, which borders with Liberia, are in the heart of the affected areas sp many of you may be interested in these developments.

You can read about the responses at the following links: