Immigration – A Christian Conversation


Join the Healing Justice Ministry of Parker Lane UMC &

Austin Region Justice for Our Neighbors (ARJFON)

Immigration: A Christian Conversation

Sunday, March 22 at 4pm

Parker Lane UMC,

2105 Parker Lane, Austin, TX 78741

What is the issue with immigration anyway?

·       An estimated 11-12 million immigrants seeking legal status currently live in the US.

·       Stepped-up enforcement with immediate deportation and automatic bans on legal return has added hardship to families, especially when parents are separated from their minor children.

·       Since the 1990s, the complexity of applications, the length of backlogs and wait times, and fees for applications have all increased.

Join the conversation about the work of JFON to address these justice issues and find out what we all can do as people of faith.


Help for unaccompanied migrant children

Faith in Action, GBCS

February 10, 2015

Austin Region Justice for Our Neighbors Receives Grant from UMCOR


AUSTIN, Texas — In June 2014, the number of unaccompanied children (UAC) apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border reached its highest level to date: 10,622 in one month. After spending weeks in a government-approved shelter, most would be released to live with family members in the United States. While striving to adjust to their new lives, new schools and new friends, these children also had to cope with their grueling and interminable deportation proceedings.

Approximately 350 of these unaccompanied children were sent to live with relatives here. Many of them were fleeing horrific gang violence or family abuse. If deported back to Honduras, El Salvador, or Guatemala, they would face torture, brutality, even death. These children needed help. They needed advocates. Most of all, they needed good lawyers.

Without legal representation, unaccompanied children have little hope for a happy ending to their story. Those fortunate enough to have attorneys are nearly five times more likely to be allowed to stay legally in the United States than those without.

Enter Austin Justice For Our Neighbors (ARJFON), which announced its intention to focus on UAC cases in July. It was a logical and natural step for them, explains Julie Flanders, ARJFON’s legal director, as so many of their cases “involve women and children who have suffered abuses, making them eligible for special protections.”

flandersjulieJulie herself has a strong background in representing unaccompanied children, and she has spent a significant amount of time at the border, developing relationships with the Office of Refugee Resettlement, with other immigrant aid groups, and with all the major players in the UAC crisis. “I knew exactly what needed to be done,” Flanders says. “We just didn’t have enough attorneys to do it.”

Enter the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), which offered a $100,000 grant to National Justice For Our Neighbors. In partnership with a JFON site, the grant would address the need for legal representation for unaccompanied children. But, first, NJFON and ARJFON had to write the proposal.

Thanks to UMCOR, Austin JFON now has a new attorney, Rebecca Rosenberg, to focus entirely on its UAC program. ARJFON also has a new community liaison/legal assistant, Piper Madison. Due to the partnership with UMCOR and NJFON, Austin JFON is now in the position to become a leading voice in UAC legal representation, not just for the JFON network, but for the immigrant legal aid community.

Read the complete story here:

Austin JFON will be presenting the program at the May 14 MFSA meeting at Saint John’s UMC.

Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT) Events

rb-webpost-02-2yhwtm1qsgjmjz6hh42breRed Bench: Legacy

Tuesday, March 31, 2015, 6:30pm-8:30pm

Topic: Legacy

Location: Congregation Agudas Achim

(7300 Hart Lane, Austin, TX)

hope-2015-banner02Hope Awards

iACT’s Hope Awards

“Forgiveness through Faith”

Tuesday, May 5, 2015
6:00 – 9:00 PM
Four Seasons Hotel Austin
98 San Jacinto Boulevard

The Hope Awards provides support for iACT’s outstanding community service programs. Hands on Housing repairs the homes of impoverished seniors and people with disabilities. iACT for Refugees provides basic educational assistance to newly arrived refugees from around the world. The Red Bench dialogue program encourages meaningful conversations that matter.

We will honor Michael Morton, who was wrongfully convicted in 1987 in a Williamson County court for the brutal murder of his wife. His faith gave him the strength to endure hardship and the mercy to forgive.

Locked away in Texas prisons for a quarter century, he had years to ponder questions of justice and innocence, truth and fate. Though he was virtually invisible to society, a team of dedicated attorneys spent years fighting for the right to test DNA evidence found at the murder scene.

He was exonerated by DNA evidence which supported his claim of innocence and pointed to the crime being committed by another individual. Morton was released from prison on October 4, 2011, and the prosecutor was convicted of contempt of court for withholding evidence after the judge had ordered its release to the defense.

Become A Sponsor or Purchase Tickets

Save the Date – MFSA Recycling Event

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MFSA Will Sponsor 6th Annual
(Batteries, Oil, Paint, Antifreeze) Recycling Event

Saturday, April 18 – 8 am to 10:30 am
Memorial UMC, 6100 Berkman Dr.

Start cleaning the garage and find those batteries, oil, paint, and antifreeze and bring them to the MFSA BOPA event on Saturday, April 18, at Memorial UMC, 6100 Berkman Dr, Austin, TX from 8:00 – 10:30 am. View a Map.

If you would like to help with this event or have questions, please contact Anne Mund,

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

23 February 2015

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Stays Execution of Rodney Reed


Today, February 23, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals halted the execution of Rodney Reed, which was scheduled to take place on March 5th.  The court issued the stay to consider new evidence that may establish Reed’s innocence in the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites.

Here’s a statement from Reed’s lawyer, Bryce Benjet, a staff attorney with the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law:

We’re extremely relieved that the court has stayed Mr. Reed’s execution so there will be proper consideration of the powerful new evidence of his innocence. We are also optimistic that this will give us the opportunity to finally conduct DNA testing that could prove who actually committed the crime.

The new evidence includes affidavits that confirm Reed’s romantic relationship with Stites and statements from three forensic examiners who reviewed the case and believe Stites was likely killed hours earlier than previously thought, challenging the timeline of her death as presented at Reed’s trial.

Six judges on the Court of Criminal Appeals agreed to the stay, which is “pending further order of this court.”

Read more about today’s ruling from the Texas Tribune and the Austin American-Statesman.

A copy of the court’s order is available at

Allies Against Slavery – Summit Scheduled

allies@2xAllies Against Slavery


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!

The Slave-Free City Summit is powered by Allies Against Slavery and is a unique gathering that focuses on the issue of human trafficking and slavery in the United States.  Allies believes that a Slave-Free City is made possible when stakeholders from eight key sectors across public, private, and volunteer domains of that city come together to contribute unique insight, skills, and resources to create opportunities and solutions at those very intersections. That cross-sector coordination is the focus of the Summit: creating solutions and opportunities at the intersections of society.  The Summit addresses the topics such as the disruption of unjust systems, race, history, art, faith, immigration, transitional justice, tech, enterprise, and other issues that intersect with the problem of human trafficking in the United States.

Hope Food Pantry Event

Save the Date for Hope’s Annual Fundraiser

An Evening of Hope
Feed your neighbors, Feed your soul

Sunday, May 17th, 2015, 5:30p.m.

Tarrytown United Methodist Church

2601 Exposition Boulevard – Austin

MFSA Annual Conference Luncheon Registration Open


Friday, June 12, 2015 – NoonAmerican Bank Convention Center

Corpus Christi, Texas

5th Annual Peace and Justice Luncheon

Sponsored by

Methodist Federation for Social Action, Rio Texas Chapter &

The Rio Texas Conference Transforming Communities Vision Team


Bishop Minerva Carcaño

We are very pleased to have as our speaker Bishop Minerva Carcaño, who is currently serving as Bishop to the Los Angeles Area, the California-Pacific Conference. Bishop Carcaño became the first Hispanic woman to be elected to the episcopacy of The United Methodist Church in 2004. She is a fierce advocate for human rights and social justice.

A native of Edinburg, TX, Bishop Carcaño spent her early years aspiring to make a difference in the lives of persons who faced poverty and discrimination. Not forgetting her roots and early hopes, her ministry has always involved work with the poor, with farm workers, immigrants, and refugees, even as she encourages congregations to work ecumenically and to be active in community organizing. Of her tireless work, she has said, “The road of ministry has not always been easy, but it has always been an incredible blessing, and it has always been home.”

Join us for this on-site luncheon. In addition, we will honor the recipients of the MFSA “Building a Just Community” Awards. The luncheon flyer is available:


Luncheon Registration Information

Cost:      $12.00 in advance (by June 6) – Check or cash      Need Spanish Translation?

$15.00 at the door (limited number available)

Or, pay by credit card*

*Credit Card fee of $1.65 will be added to the cost ($13.65 total)