No Chapter Meeting In April

earth-day-2015Since this is an extremely busy month for social justice events, and we are sponsoring the BOPA recycling event, there will be no formal chapter meeting of the Rio Texas MFSA Chapter in April.Members and friends are encouraged to participate in one of the many social justice opportunities highlighted in this newsletter. Remember Earth Day on April 22 and every day!

MFSA BOPA Recycling Event

DSC06557 (2)MFSA Will Sponsor the 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,

Gather at the River! August 6-9, 2015

GATHERlogoWEB2Thursday, August 6 – Sunday, August 9, 2015

Pre-day forum begins at 9AM on Thursday

Event begins with Worship 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.

Early registration deadline extended to April 16!

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 !

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

Workshops:  Music, Worship, LGBT Issues, Anti-Racism, Israel/Palestine, Preparing for Gen Conf

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 Ministries Team Offer Scholarships to Gather at the River 2015

gfm_logo_300dpiThe 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, there are two ways to donate. You may send a check to the MFSA 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.Or, you may donate online at

If you are interested in applying for one of these scholarships, please download the application at and apply by May 30.

Annual Conference 2015


Riotx-districts-2014The 2015 Rio Texas Annual Conference will begin the evening of Thursday June 11th with Registration and Worship and will conclude with Worship on Sunday morning June 14th at 10:45 am.   These dates reflect one fewer weekday and one additional weekend day.  It is hoped that this will allow more participation from lay persons who find it difficult to take part in Conference because of their work schedule.  The Worship Services and Business Sessions are held at the American Bank Center and Selena Auditorium in Corpus Christi. First United Methodist Church of Corpus Christi is the host congregation. Visit for more information.

MFSA Annual Conference Luncheon

Wellsprings of Justice

Friday, June 12, 2015 – Noon

American 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

MINERVA-CARCANO-IMMIGRATION-facebookWe 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)

Book Fair At Annual Conference

MFSA is collecting books for a book fair at annual conference

booksaleThe Rio Texas Chapter of MFSA will again sponsor a Book Fair at Annual Conference in June.  We ask members and friends to box up their gently used religious and spiritual books, and we haul them to Corpus Christi.  It becomes like a treasure hunt at our tables!  People contribute to us according to what they think the books are worth to them.  It has been quite successful for the past 6 years, but to make it happen, we need your books!

Contact Rowland Curry and we will arrange to pick them up.

“Religious Refusal” in Texas

rmncoaching1-copy311Religious Refusals in Texas: People of Faith Learn to Speak Out

Travis Park UMC – San Antonio

April 10 @ 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

As you’ve likely seen on local news and social media, discriminatory bills are currently being considered by the Texas Legislature. These bills, commonly nicknamed “religious refusals” are proposed amendments to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and, if passed, would be highly discriminatory toward our LGBTQ friends throughout the state of Texas.

Organized by The National LGBTQ Task Force, Reconciling Ministries Network is working with Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and the United Church of Christ to help educate Texans about the potential harm represented in these religious refusal bills and offer opportunities to raise our collective voices of faith to prevent their adoption. We hope San Antonio area friends will consider attending this training event and helping Texans of faith speak up for equality and justice for LGBTQ citizens and neighbors.

Important! Read this before you register!

WHAT                Help prevent religious refusals from becoming law in Texas

WHEN                Friday, April 10th, 6:30pm to 9:00pm

REGISTER        Register below by April 9, 2015

CONTACT         Laura Young – – 312-448-5309


Texas Social Justice Series

Economic Inequality

Date: April 7, 2015

Time: 7:00 pm  to  9:00 pm

The second of a four-part series on the fight for social justice in Texas will focus on economic inequality, a concern that disproportionately affects women and racial minorities. Panelists will discuss labor movements, legislative milestones, and efforts to reclaim political and economic rights.

Moderator Jim Harrington of the Texas Civil Rights Project will be joined by panelists Merline Pitre, professor of history and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences at Texas Southern University, and Sonia Hernandez, a native of the Rio Grande Valley and a professor at Texas A&M University specializing in the intersections of gender and labor in the U.S.-Mexican borderlands, Chicana/o history, and modern Mexico.

This program is presented in partnership with the Social Justice Institute at the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Civil Rights Project. More information online.

Location: Bob Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Avenue, Austin, TX, 78701 (Congress and MLK)

– See more at:


Save the Date:

Texas Social Justice Series: Justice in Education

Date: May 7, 2015

Time: 7:00 pm  to  9:00 pm

Texas Social Justice Series: Right to Vote

Date: May 2, 2015

Time: 7:00 pm  to  9:00 pm

Leadership Workshops at University UMC Austin

Leadership Workshops with Rev. Susan Beaumont

University UMC – 2409 Guadalupe St, Austin

Friday, April 17, 6 to 9 pm, & Saturday, April 18, 9 am to 3 pm 

Join us for a weekend of workshops with Rev. Susan Beaumont, author of “Inside the Large Congregation.” Beaumont is a consultant, author, coach and spiritual director who has consulted with over one hundred congregations and denominational bodies across the United States and Canada. She is known for her ground-breaking work in the leadership dynamics of large congregations. Before establishing her own practice, Beaumont worked for nine years as a Senior Consultant with the Alban Institute.

I AM A GIRL – Film Screening

Thursday, Apr 23 – 07:30 pm

Arbor 8 @ Great Hills – Austin

iamgirlI AM A GIRL is an inspirational feature length documentary that paints a clear picture of the reality of what it means to be a girl in the 21st century. Feminism may have promised equality and sought a better and fairer world for women but the reality is that girls make up almost a quarter of the world’s population yet still face the greatest discrimination of any group in the world. Technology and science offer unimaginable potential but we still struggle to ensure men and women are afforded equal opportunities. Yet in spite of these obstacles, girls have found extraordinary ways to persevere and in our documentary we hear their stories of strength, hope, courage and a refusal to be second best. Reserve your tickets at:

Three Mystics Walk Into a Tavern


Coffee with the Author will return to Holy Grounds at St David’s Episcopal Church in April. Check here for more details: On April 30, Rev. Sid Hall, activist and pastor of Trinity UMC-Austin, and Jim Harrington, a human rights attorney and director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, will discuss their book, Three Mystics Walk into a Tavern: A Once and Future Meeting of Rumi, Meister Eckhart, and Moses de León in Medieval Venice

Thurs. April 30, 2015 – Noon

Three Mystics Walk into a Tavern: A Once and Future Meeting of Rumi, Meister Eckhart, and Moses de León in Medieval Venice

SidHallIn Three Mystics Walk into a Tavern, Jalal ad-Din Rumi, Moses de León, and Meister Eckhart–three of the greatest mystics of all time–meet in Venice for an imaginary night-long conversation that will inspire everyday individuals of the twenty-first century to find their own spirituality and realize that everyone can be a mystic. Although the mystics came from different backgrounds and religious traditions (Islam, Judaism, and Christianity), their spiritual paths led them to similar understandings of union with the Divine. The three mystics have a timeless and timely message for people who walk the earth eight centuries after they did, no matter an individual’s religious background or even if they have none. It is a message of connecting with the “divine spark” deep within us and within the universe.

Holy Grounds is located in the main building of St. David’s Episcopal Church. You can park in our surface lot in front of the St. David’s main doors. 301 East 8th Street, Austin, TX 78701

Note:  There will also be a book signing at noon on April 12 at Trinity UMC Austin.


Texas Impact

Clergy Mondays at State Capitol

In response to growing demand from clergy around the state, Texas Impact has launching Clergy Mondays at the Capitol in Austin for clergy and other religious professionals. This new initiative is designed to give clergy and other religious professionals opportunities for ongoing interaction with legislators and their staffs through the rest of the current legislative session and beyond.

Each Monday from now until the end of the legislative session (May 31, 2015), Texas Impact will host interested faith leaders for a short briefing on one key issue or bill. Participants will receive a list of legislative offices to visit, instructions for successful visits, and talking points on the week’s priority issue. Participants may be asked to attend committee hearings or engage with legislators outside the House and Senate chambers.

The program will start at 11am in Room E2.018 in the Capitol Extension, and end at 2pm in the Capitol Chapel. Each week will start and end with prayer or meditation by a participant. Participants are encouraged to eat together in the Capitol Grille if necessary. They are free to come to the Capitol early and stay as long as they want to.

For more information, please contact Bee Moorhead at Texas Impact to help with logistics or coordinate a meeting to connect with other faith community representatives at the Capitol.

First UMC – Austin Celebrates 175 Years

 you_are_here_175_244These special guests will be returning to First United Methodist Church Austin to help celebrate their 175 anniversary in worship during the 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. services.

April 12th: Reverend Dr. Kim Cape

May 17th:  Bishop Mike McKee

Events From Equality Texas

equalityTxFreedom 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:

The 2nd Annual Contemporary Relationships Conference

Creating Healthy Dating, Relationship, and Family Experiences

Within the LGBTQ Community

Saturday, May 16  •  Austin, Texas  •  Optional Pre-Conference Institutes on Friday, May 15

Don’t miss your chance to get valuable information on LGBTQ dating, relationships, and family – presented by 32 thought leaders from across the country. The conference is open to LGBTQ singles, those in a relationship, and the allies and mental health professionals that affirm them (6-9 CE credits available). The Equality Texas Foundation is the conference host. The Early Bird registration rate ends April 7th.  Find out more at:

Building a State of Equality in Texas

The Spirit of Texas Brunch brings together influential LGBT and ally Texans, speakers, and award honorees for an enjoyable champagne brunch to celebrate diversity! The Brunch is Equality Texas’ annual statewide celebration and an opportunity for you to make an important impact on improving the lives of Texas’ diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population.

Please join us as we say “thank you” to Texas leaders who have worked to advance equality for Texans in their workplaces, families, and communities! All funds raised at the event support Equality Texas’ work toward a state where all Texans are treated equally, with dignity and respect.

The 9th Annual Spirit of Texas Brunch
Sunday, May 17, 2015
VIP Reception: 10:30 am
Brunch Program: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm
Historic Pearl Stable
307 Pearl Parkway
San Antonio, TX  78215
Early-bird ticket sales end in TWO 1/2 WEEKS!

While there 20 bills before the 84th Texas Legislature that would subject LGBT Texans to discrimination, the regular session has seen more pro-LGBT bills, filed by more authors, than ever before seen in the history of the body. These 35 bills represent a huge step forward for equality in Texas.  Take a look at these bills at: