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.