Join Us to Watch the Movie, Selma

selmaOn Monday, January 19 – MLK afternoon – we will meet at the Gateway Theater for the 3:30pm showing of Selma: One Dream Can Change the World The theater is located at 9700 Stonelake Blvd. in North Austin. Contact Janice Curry at if you have questions. Please consider seeing the movie with us, or another time. Dutch treat. We still have much to do about racism.

Chapter Meeting in January Examines Social Issues for Annual Conference, General Conference

umc_logoHave you ever wondered how policy of the United Methodist Church gets made? Have you ever wondered if you could make a difference?

The answer is, Yes, you can make a difference!  “Any organization, clergy member, or lay member of the UMC may petition the General Conference” (¶507, The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church 2012).

Please join us for the next meeting of the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) on Thursday, January 8, at Saint John’s UMC, 2140 Allandale Rd, Austin.  We will be discussing MFSA’s plans for legislation that may be introduced at the 2015 Rio Texas Annual Conference in Corpus Christi and at the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon.  Jay Brim, the Rio Texas Conference Chancellor will be present to discuss the process, schedule, and possible topics that may be addressed.  As he is a delegate to the 2016 General Conference, we will also be asking Jay for insights on that worldwide meeting.

Please join us at 6:30p for snacks and mingling; the program starts at 7p.  For more information, contact Anne Mund

Hope to see you there

Join MFSA at the MLK March in Austin – Monday, Jan. 19


Join SWTX MFSA on Monday, January 19 at 9am at the MLK Statue on the UT Campus to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.  After a brief ceremony, we will march to Huston-Tillotson University, where there is a community festival planned.

NOTE: The MLK March WILL NOT go to the Capitol this year due to the preparations for the Gubernatorial Inauguration on the following day.

This year, organizers are asking marchers to help by donating can goods or non-perishable food items, which will be donated to the Capital Area Food Bank. Help to give to those in need by helping the Capital Area Food Bank fill their shelves with non-perishable food items.  Donation receptacles will be available at The University of Texas where the march begins.

Contact Janice Curry at if you are interested in carpooling to the march from Saint John’s, or if you have questions. Hope to see you there.

Have you considered what commitments you’ll make to combating racism in 2015?

Peace Through Pie

peacethroughpieAmerica’s Sunday Supper and Peace Through Pie Social

Sunday, January 18

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Trinity UMC | 4001 Speedway | Austin, TX 78751



“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Inspired by the legacy of Dr. King, America’s Sunday Supper invites people from diverse backgrounds to come together to share a meal, discuss issues that affect their community, and highlight the power each one of us has to make a difference.  Join us at Trinity United Methodist Church (4001 Speedway) on January 18, 2015 from 6-8 pm, for Sincere Ignorance and Conscientious Stupidity: A Conversation on Race, Privilege, and Power – an open conversation and guided discussion on racial dynamics and how to combat racism and other forms of systemic discrimination in our community here in Central Texas.  As they did last year, Jeremy Solomons and Dr. Kazique Prince will create a safe space and provide thought-provoking questions and activities. This is a potluck Peace Through Pie Social – so bring a pie (savory or sweet) to share!

Please RSVP at if you are planning to attend. Everyone is welcome and an RSVP is not required in order to attend, but it will help us get a general sense of how many folks for whom we should plan.

Selma: One Dream Can Change the World

selma[Movie opens in Austin January 8]

Selma is the story of a movement.  The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition.  The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernay’s Selma tells the real story of how the revered leader and visionary, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history. (Check theater schedules for times)

Allies Against Slavery – Events Scheduled

allies@2xAllies Against Slavery have big plans for 2015

  • Mapping slavery across Texas: We’re starting the Texas Slavery Mapping Project to gather data needed to disrupt traffickers and improve care for survivors.
  • Expanding survivor support: We’re continuing to support survivors at all stages of recovery, connecting them with resources and meeting direct needs alongside our partners. We’ll also explore new ways to fill in gaps in care that still exist in our community.
  • Launching the Slave-Free City Network: Slavery is too complex for one organization to solve on its own. That’s why we’re coordinating partners from 8 sectors to develop collaborative solutions and move our city closer to the slave-free goal.

Upcoming Events:

Voices of Innocence: A night celebrating hope after life in human trafficking

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

7:00pm  10:00pm

The Long Center

It’s an evening to remember. Join us as we raise awareness in Austin and beyond.  We invite you to be a part of our hopeful journey to end this horrible crime against children.

The Slave-Free City Summit

Fri, Apr 17, 2015 8:00am – Sat, Apr 18, 2015 9:00pm

For the City Center

500 E St Johns Ave.  Austin, TX, 78752

A two-day gathering of leaders, survivors, practitioners and community members who want to deepen the conversation about working together to create lasting solutions to slavery. Register here!

Nebraska Wesleyan Choir – Saint John’s UMC

Monday, January 12, 7pm

The Emmy-nominated Nebraska Wesleyan University Choir will be singing a free concert at Saint John’s at 7 p.m. Monday, January 12.  Annually the choir does national tours and has done extensive international travel.  Their music offers great variety, and is rich in its global diversity.  The Saint John’s Chancel Choir is hosting this group for dinner and an overnight stay in Austin.  Please come and welcome our very talented singing guests.

Congratulations to First UMC Austin

you_are_here_175_244First UMC Austin 175th Birthday Celebration

In early 1840, the City of Austin was about a month old and the State of Texas didn’t yet exist.  And the Reverend John Haynie was granted a request to form a charge conference on January 18-19, 1840 for what is now First UMC Austin.

On January 18, 1840, FUMC Austin will be celebrating its 175th birthday, with Bishop Jim Dorff serving as the guest preacher.  Our guest preacher for Sunday, January 18th, will be Bishop Jim Dorff. Bishop Dorff, a native of Oklahoma, spent the majority of his ministry serving large churches in the North Texas Annual Conference.  In 2008, he was elected a bishop by the South Central Jurisdiction and assigned to the Southwest Texas and Rio Grande Annual Conferences, known as the San Antonio Area.  During his tenure, he honored the work begun by his predecessor, Bishop Joel Martinez, to merge these two conferences, and on the first of January, these efforts will culminate in the official creation of the new Rio Texas Annual Conference.  All are invited to share in this celebration.

Other Special Guest Pastors will be:

February 22nd: Bishop Mike McKee
March 8th: Bishop Mike Lowry
April 12th: Reverend Dr. Kim Cape


Check here for other celebration events:

No Trial for Bishop Talbert! Complaint Resolved!

talbertJust Resolution reached for complaints filed against Bishop Talbert

(from Reconciling Ministries Network)

January 5, 2015–Complaints filed against Bishop Melvin Talbert alleging he violated the sacred trust of his office for officiating a same-sex wedding have been resolved, avoiding trial. In the agreement, Bishop Talbert “holds steadfastly to the conviction that his actions were just and right,” and Bishops Wenner and Wallace-Padgett maintain that “pain exists throughout the entire connection, including among those who support the actions of Bishop Talbert, and those who object to the actions.”  Read more here.

Point In Time Count Addresses Homelessness


Saturday, January 24th

The Austin/Travis County Point in Time (PIT) Count is part of the national effort to eliminate street homelessness spearheaded by the Federal Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Veterans Affairs (VA). By knowing who is on the street, where they are, and what they need, ECHO and its partner agencies can most effectively target services to those that need them the most. Teams generally consist of at least three members. Volunteers observe and count homeless individuals within a defined area of Austin or Travis County. Volunteers will choose from three available shifts.

§  Shift 1: Saturday, January 24th, from 3:00 to 7:00 a.m., downtown/urban areas

§  Shift 2: Saturday, January 24th, from 5:00 to 8:00 a.m., rural/suburban/urban areas

§  Shift 3: Saturday, January 24th, from 5:00 to 8:00 a.m., furthest parts of the county

ECHO will provide volunteer training and assign volunteers to areas they know well, if possible. All teams will receive maps, clipboards, pens, flashlights, and all necessary forms. All Volunteers will be required to attend at least one Volunteer Training prior to participating in the count. To register for the 2015 Point In Time Count, visit


Habitat For Humanity – 2015 Methodist Build


Several Austin UMCs, including First UMC and Saint John’s, have committed to participating in the Habitat Methodist Build for 2015.  The 2015 Habitat Methodist Build will begin April 11th, 2015. The house will be built in the Gilbert Lane neighborhood off of Highway 969 past the 130 toll road. We will learn the name of the family in February.

Austin Habitat for Humanity helps low-income people who qualify according to Habitat’s selection criteria to become first-time homeowners. They participate in financial education classes, and they must contribute to the building of other Habitat houses before they are approved for their own home. Habitat homeowners are an asset to the communities in which their houses are built. Homeowners take more pride in their houses and surrounding property, and they are the rocks on which community is built.

What does participating in a Habitat build mean? First, it entails a financial commitment. Habitat houses cost $65,000 (building materials only, land is already provided). Sponsors help provide that amount through financial donations. Second, it entails volunteers to help construct the house. Volunteers will work with other Austin District United Methodists, as well as with volunteers from some other faith communities.

MFSA encourages Capital District churches and members to participate in the 2015 Methodist Build!

Texas Impact

Join Us for Legislative Session Opening Day Events:
Service of Public Witness and Legislative Training

Faithful engagement with civil power has always held in tension the prophetic and the pastoral, the pragmatic and the pure.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 is the opening day of the 84th Texas Legislature. Join us at 9:00 a.m. on the South Steps of the Capitol for our Interfaith Service of Public Witness, featuring prayers and wisdom from leaders of diverse religious traditions about our shared responsibility to work together for the common good.

UMW Legislative Event

UMW-2015-Logo27th Annual United Methodist Women’s Legislative Event

Sunday, January 25, 1:00pm — Tuesday, January 27, 12:00pm


Onward into the next quarter-century!

UMW Legislative Event registration is open!

As usual, Legislative Event 2015 will be packed with expert policy presentations, practical advocacy training,  conversations with top Texas lawmakers, and time at the Capitol.

The 2015 Legislative Event will be held at our new home, the Austin Holiday Inn Midtown (at the old Highland Mall). Registration is not capped, and in 2013–our first year in the new location–attendance topped 225. There’s plenty of room for everyone…even if you can’t stay for the whole 3 days. We are offering day passes again, and this year for the first time we are offering a tour of the Capitol led by Texas Impact staff on Saturday afternoon before the event.  Legislative Event is not just for Methodist Women!

Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT) Events


Red Bench: Intention

Tuesday, January 27, 2015, 6:30pm-8:30pm

Topic: Intention

Location: University United Methodist Church

2409 Guadalupe, Austin, TX 78705


You’re Invited! Austin’s Second-Annual

Preach-Off on Climate Change

In February 2015, religious communities across the U.S. will participate in the national Interfaith Power & Light Preach-In on Climate Change. Clergy and lay leaders from many different traditions will highlight the importance of religious leadership on one of the most pressing challenges of our time. It’s one of Interfaith Power & Light’s most-beloved annual programs.

In Austin, we’re taking it up a notch.

Austin’s Interfaith Environmental Network and iACT (Interfaith Action of Central Texas) are inviting religious leaders to share their tradition’s wisdom with not just their own congregations, but with the entire community.  Back by popular demand, we are holding our second-annual Preach-Off on Climate Change—and we invite you to come!

Sunday, February 8, 2015, 4:00 p.m.

The Sanctuary

2614 Exposition Blvd.
Austin, TX 78703


For more information, to R.S.V.P., or to ask about participating as a speaker, please contact Yaira Robinson or Sarah Macias.

Update on JFON

JFONIt’s been just about two years since a group of three of us, at the urging of Bishop Dorff, began working on JFON.  And this year has been a whirl-wind for JFON-Austin.

In the spring, we hired our staff attorney and started hosting our clinics in April.  Shortly after that, the undocumented children crises came to light, and our attorney was able to take a very active role in helping provide advice and legal counsel to many of these children.

We’ve been blessed with support, and in many ways, despite being such a young organization, we are now being held up as a model for JFON clinics throughout the country.  In fact, we have garnered such trust that we have recently been awarded a grant by UMCOR that has allowed us to hire an additional attorney on a one-year contract to help expand our services, primarily to help undocumented children.

Our JFON clinic has been blessed with a talented and active board, and I’m excited to see what happens in 2015.  – Brooks Schuelke