Chapter Meeting in March Features PLUM Cares!


Plum Care Logo finalPLUM Cares is a collection of non-profits and community projects centered at Parker Lane United Methodist Church

The March meeting of the Rio Texas Chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action will feature John and Lee Ann Musler, members of University UMC-Austin, who will share their story about becoming involved with PLUM Cares, the justice ministries of Parker Lane United Methodist Church in Southeast Austin.  What started as a small outreach to area residents has mushroomed into vital ministries, including a ministry to immigrants. See the description of the participating non-profits and their work at:

The MFSA meeting will take place on Thursday evening, March 12th at Saint John’s UMC, 2140 Allandale Rd.  Refreshments begin at 6:30 and the program starts at 7:00.  Come and hear about the wonderful ministries at PLUM Cares!

You are also invited to attend the Lenten Dinner prior to the MFSA meeting in the Great Hall at Saint John’s, 5:30-7:00pm. At the dinner on Thursday, March 12, Rev. Ralph Underwood and Rev. Paul Escamilla will speak on the Parable of the Pharisee and Publican, Luke 18:9-14. Read more about the dinner and make a reservation at

Gather at the River! August 6-9, 2015


Thursday, August 6 – Sunday, August 9, 2015
pre-day forum begins at 9AM on Thursday
Event begins at 7PM Thursday

Gather at the River is a national conference that will meet at Travis Park United Methodist Church, an historic, open and justice-seeking community of faith in downtown San Antonio, steps away from the renowned River Walk entertainment and cultural district. Housing and additional meeting space will be at the Sheraton Gunter Hotel next door.

Methodist Federation for Social Action and Reconciling Ministries Network members and friends in the Rio Texas Conference are preparing to provide extravagant hospitality for Gather at the River participants. Gather at the River will also include the participation of kindred groups in the Love Your Neighbor Coalition. Gather at the River is a multi-generational gathering. Program activities for children (ages 3-rising 6th grade) and youth (middle and high school) will be led by professionally-trained staff.

Register Now at!  Early Registration Discount ends April 1.

The lineup of worship leaders, preachers, speakers, and entertainment is AWESOME!

Worship Leaders:  Marcia McFee & Mark A. Miller

Preachers:  Rev. Peter Storey, Rev. Theon Johnson, Nikilas Mawanda, Rev. Sarah Thompson Tweedy

Speakers: Bishop Minerva Carcaño, Rev. Grace Imathiu, Bishop Melvin Talbert, Rev. Frank Schaefer

Entertainers:  Jennifer Knapp, IlluMen, Campanas de América

Youth & Children’s Programs:  Shelley Walters, Carol Kohrs

Hosts:  Chett Pritchett (MFSA), Matt Berryman (RMN)

If you have been to convocation or one of the joint MFSA/RMN events such as Sing a New Song in 2011, you know what a treasure it is to have this conference in our backyard!

Place the dates, August 6 to 9, 2015 on your calendar now!


Rio Texas MFSA and Reconciling Team Offer Scholarships to Gather 2015The Rio Texas MFSA Chapter and Reconciling Ministries Team will offer financial assistance for deserving Rio Texas youth, young adults and adults who would like to go to the Gather at the River Conference in San Antonio, but cannot attend due to financial circumstances. The amount that we can give depends on the amount we raise for this purpose.

If you or your congregation would like to contribute to this effort, please send a check to the treasurer, Janice Curry, 1509 Mearns Meadow Blvd., Austin, TX 78758. Make the check to Rio Texas MFSA and write Gather 2015 scholarships on the memo line.

If you are interested in applying for one of these scholarships, please contact Janice Curry at or Joy Butler, by May 15.


50th Anniversary of the March on Selma – March 7, 2015

50th Anniversary of the March on Selma – March 7, 2015
In 1965, the eyes of the nation watched as thousands of ordinary people took to the streets of Selma to march for voting rights.

On March 7, Reverend Hosea Williams and John Lewis stepped from the pulpit of Brown Chapel Church and led a group of 600 toward Montgomery. After just six blocks, when they crossed the now infamous Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River, Sheriff Jimmy Clark’s deputies and state troopers dispatched by Gov. Wallace attacked the group with nightsticks and tear gas, injuring dozens. The violence stopped the marchers’ first attempt, but they would not be silenced or stopped for good.

The event came to be known as “BLOODY SUNDAY”. Two weeks later, under the protection of Alabama National Guardsmen and Army troops, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. set off again from Selma and marched 54 miles along U.S. Hwy. 80 to Montgomery.

At 1:25 pm on March 25, 1965, the crowd then gathered without incident in front of the Alabama state capitol and by that time was 25,000 strong.

Not long after, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law.

The March continues. Civil Rights of 50 years ago and today provide moving examples of what ordinary people can do.

An opportunity to participate in a re-creation of the March on Selma

The Round Rock Black History Organization commemorates the 50th anniversary of the March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, with an afternoon of activities. Guests or congregations are invited to participate in an afternoon of activities commemorating this historic event, which took place in 1965.

The Mays Street bridge will be closed for the duration of the march. The march will begin at noon and proceed onto Main Street and into Sharon Prete Plaza. After arriving at Prete Plaza, the program portion of the afternoon will include the reading of a mayoral proclamation in recognition of the event and voter registration.

Members of the community can also share their personal memories of Bloody Sunday. A keynote speech on the marches is offered by Dr. Calvin Kelly from St. Edward’s University. The worship portion of the program features Sweet Home the Pinnacle of Praise’s Voices of Worship choir. Following the choir’s performance, Pastor Keith Ferguson from City View Bible Church provides words of encouragement and reflection. The program closes with a performance by the Round Rock Ballet Folklorico.

For more information contact Bobby Sams, 512-671-3345 or

At Selma, Alabama on March 7, 2015

President Barack Obama and Former President George W. Bush will join in the reenactment of the March on Selma on March 7 for the 50th anniversary of the voting rights marches.

Bush and his wife, Laura, will join a large, bipartisan congressional delegation for part of a three-day civil rights pilgrimage to Alabama, according to Robert Traynham, a spokesman for the Faith and Politics Institute in Washington, which is organizing the event.

The Faith and Politics Institute, a bipartisan, interfaith nonprofit focused on racial and political reconciliation in Congress, has organized the pilgrimage every year since 1998.

“MARCH TO FREEDOM” CIVIL RIGHTS EXHIBIT – February 27 – April 15, 2015

Lyndon B. Johnson Library (LBJ);  2313 RED RIVER ST, Austin, Texas 78705

In honor of Black History Month, a new exhibit by UT Austin’s Briscoe Center and the LBJ Presidential Library celebrates the 50th anniversaries of the civil rights marches in Selma, Alabama, and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

“March to Freedom” features rare photographs of the “Bloody Sunday” Selma-to-Montgomery march (March 7, 1965), documents, quotes, and images that celebrate subsequent marches, and photos from the LBJ Library’s 2014 Civil Rights Summit.

Through the words of Congressman John Lewis, former head of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and through the camera of James “Spider” Martin, “March to Freedom” follows a determined and undaunted group of marchers, both black and white, as they try on three different occasions to take their cause to Montgomery and the steps of the Alabama Statehouse.

Their peaceful demonstrations attracted media coverage, particularly when they were met with violent opposition, which helped garner the support necessary for the passage of voting rights legislation. The Selma-to-Montgomery marches for voting rights represent the political and emotional peak of the modern civil rights movement, which opened the door for the signing of the Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965.

Texas AFT (American Federation of Teachers) – March 9 & 16

Texas AFT invites all educators and support staff to join us in Austin on the first Monday of spring break, March 9, for the 2015 Texas AFT Lobby Day. It is our turn to educate the legislature about our priorities, and tell them to do what’s right.

See the Texas AFT Legislative Agenda at:

Cover Texas Now Advocacy Day – March 12

 Texans deserve health insurance. 

More than 6 million Texans are uninsured, the highest rate in the U.S. But what did Texas’ elected officials do when they had a chance to cover uninsured Texans? They refused and turned their backs on more than 2 million hard-working Texans and left $100 billion of our tax dollars going to other states. In the 2 million, state politicians abandoned veterans and their spouses, workers in retail, construction, child care, hospitality, healthcare and food service. NOW is the time to rally together and fight for the health coverage millions of Texans deserve!

The goal of the day will be to bring a public, statewide voice to the Capitol regarding the need to close the Coverage Gap for low-income workers, caretakers, college students and Texans living with disabilities.

Meet at the state Capitol at 10:00 am on March 12 and finish at 3:30 pm. Register here if you plan on attending, or would like to get involved.

Freedom Advocacy Day – Monday, April 13

First UMC Family Life Center – 1300 Lavaca St

11:00am – 4:00pm

Equality Texas invites you to participate in YOUR government and to come to Austin on Monday, April 13, to meet face-to-face with those who represent YOU and talk to them about how the freedoms we value as Texans are affected by discrimination in based on bias against sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

Advanced registration is required in order to prepare constituent-matched materials and make strategic lobbying team assignments. Equality Texas will provide lunch.

If your organization would like to partner with Equality Texas for Freedom Advocacy Day please contact

Find more information at:

IEN Symposium Series

Austin Interfaith Environmental Network  Presents
“Food, Faith & Climate”
Thursday, March 12

 Our Spring, 2015 Symposium Series Begins March 12th. Join us for this first of four monthly symposiums as we focus on the connections between our food, our faith, and our climate. Kicking us off will be Dr. Molly Jensen, Assistant Professor of Religion at Southwestern University; and Edwin Marty, City of Austin’s new Food Policy Manager.

Dr. Jensen will guide us in making the connections between food, faith and climate as it relates to Lent, a season of prayerful observation preceding Easter. She will include a discussion of Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Native American indigenous traditions in addition to Christianity.

Mr. Edwin Marty will emphasize the food and climate change connection based on his work at the Office of Sustainability.

Feel free to come at 6:30pm (before the symposium begins at 7pm) for a tour of the Third Day Community Garden on the grounds of The Sanctuary – located at 2614 Exposition Blvd., Austin, TX 78703.

IEN’s mission is: “Inspiring and assisting Austin’s religious communities to lead the effort to care for the earth and to transform ways of life that cause climate change.”

For much more about IEN, including beautiful video of our recent Clergy Climate Preach-In 2015, visit