Allies Against Slavery – Summit Scheduled

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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.

Book Signing – “Grandfather Gandhi”


Reading and Signing of “Grandfather Gandhi” with Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus

Date: April 19, 2015

Time: 12:15 pm  to  2:00 pm

Arun Gandhi has many stories to tell of his grandfather, the Mahatma, and how his lessons set Arun on a path of teaching nonviolence. One of those stories, told in 2001 at the spiritual center Unity of New York, led Bethany Hegedus to work with Gandhi to craft a picture book that would speak to readers of all ages. More information about the book online.

Hegedus is an author and the director of The Writing Barn in Austin. Gandhi is a writer and speaker who has traveled the world spreading the message of non-violence.

The event is free for children and $5 for adults. To ensure seats, purchase tickets online. For more information, contact Heather McLeod,

Location: St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 14311 Wells Port Drive (exit off I-35, west on Wells Branch Parkway)

More information here.

Enneagram Workshop

suzanne_stabileThe Enneagram: Shame, Fear and Anger

May 2, 2015  9am-5pm

First Baptist Church Austin – 901 Trinity Street Fellowship Hall

Cost: $65

Cost includes lunch and handouts

Join us for a day with Suzanne Stabile as we explore intermediate concepts of the Enneagram.

Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT) Events


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

End Family Detention in Dilley!


Join United Methodists, the immigrant and faith community

in Dilley, Texas to End Family Detention

May 2, 2015

“My sister has been incarcerated for 9 months.  What did she do to deserve this?  She was escaping a terrible violence and now she is living another nightmare at Karnes with her son.”  Ana Jovel, sister of a detained mother, detained with her 10 year old son.

Join United Methodists, faith and immigrant groups for a march and protest in Dilley, Texas on Saturday, May 2. We will be there to protest the shameful practice of family detention. In collaboration with a coalition of national advocacy and faith groups, we will converge on the Dilley detention camp (a former “man camp” for oil workers) which is now being built into the largest immigrant detention center in the U.S.

Help us amplify the voices of the mothers and children detained at Dilley and in Karnes City, Texas and Berks, Pennsylvania.  We will demand that family detention, and ultimately the whole system of immigrant detention, be ended!

When: Saturday, May 2. The march and protest will last from about 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. However, folks traveling on buses from Austin, San Antonio and elsewhere should expect to be with us from early morning to late afternoon.

Where: Dilley, TX

Event Organizers:  Grassroots Leadership, Texans United for Families

What: We will march from downtown Dilley to the family detention camp where we will hold a rally with songs and chants, street theater, speeches from people directly affected by immigrant detention & deportation, and a time for prayer and statements from people of faith. If you are not able to march, there will also be a group going straight to protest site.

How to get there: United Methodists will have vans from Brownsville/McAllen and Austin.  Grassroots Leadership is organizing buses from Austin. They can also connect you to others in your area who are going to coordinate rides.  See UMC contacts below to let us know you are coming and coordinate transportation.


Other details: The organizers will provide lots of water and healthy snacks. If you need a more hearty lunch or have special dietary needs, plan on bringing your own food. Dress comfortably. It will be hot. Those with mobility concerns can ride directly to rally site on Grassroots Leadership busses, which will have accessible restrooms.  Those who cannot stand throughout the rally can rest on these busses.  Feel free to bring your own signs and banners.  We will also have UMC signs and organizational banners.

Learn more about family detention here and here.

RSVP through your UMC contact:

  • Justice for Our Neighbors: Melissa Bowe,
  • General Board of Church and Society and Rapid Response Network: Bill Mefford,
  • United Methodist Women: Carol Barton,

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

Texas Coalition To Abolish The Death Penalty

Four Executions Scheduled For AprilJoin MFSA and the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP) in April for a vigil  in your community for the four scheduled executions of Texas prisoners:

Information and updates on these cases are available on TCADP’s website.

TCADP – Texas Faith Leader Advocacy

On Monday, March 9, 2015, TCADP and Texas Impact held a press conference at the State Capitol in Austin to release the Interfaith Statement of Opposition to the Death Penalty, which was endorsed by more than 500 faith leaders across Texas. The signatories represent 25 different faith traditions, including Baptist, Buddhist, Catholic, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Reform Judaism, United Methodist, and United Church of Christ. More than 20 Jewish leaders in Texas endorsed the accompanying Rabbis’ Statement.  (Pictured here: Participants in our Faith Leader Advocacy Day at the Capitol on March 9; photo courtesy of Jeff Campbell Photography)

Many of the United Methodist clergy signatures were from clergy who attended the 2014 Peace & Justice Luncheon at the Southwest Texas Annual Conference after hearing the story of Anthony Graves, death row exoneree – Thanks for the witness of these and other clergy who stood in opposition to the death penalty.


Legislation advances in Nebraska, Delaware, Colorado, & MarylandNebraska – The Judiciary Committee of the Nebraska Legislature voted unanimously for the first time to advance a bill to repeal the death penalty!  The full legislature now will debate the bill.  Follow #nerepeal on Twitter for updates and share this graphic provided by EJUSA on Facebook to congratulate our friends at Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

Delaware – On March 26, Delaware’s Senate passed (11-10) a bill to repeal the death penalty, after amending it to exclude current death row inmates. Those who testified in support of the repeal cited racial disparities, a lack of deterrent effect, and the high costs associated with capital punishment. The bill will now move on to the House of Representatives, which is expected to consider the measure in April.

Colorado – On the same day, Colorado’s House Judiciary Committee voted (6-4) against a repeal bill. Legislators heard nine hours of testimony regarding the bill, largely from supporters of the measure. Seventeen states have either considered legislation to repeal the death penalty this year or will likely consider it in the next session.

Maryland – Earlier in March, a bill to repeal the death penalty passed the Maryland General Assembly, and the governor has pledged to sign it into law, making Maryland the 18th state to do away with the death penalty

2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions


10,000 People.  80 Nations.  50 Faiths.

RegisterSubmit ProposalsExhibitSponsor

What:     The 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions

When:    October 15 – 19, 2015

Where:   Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

The Parliament is the oldest, the largest, and the most inclusive gathering of people of all faith and traditions.

The first Parliament took place in 1893. Since, this historic event has taken place in Chicago, USA  • Cape Town, South Africa  • Barcelona, Spain  • Melbourne, Australia – and now in Salt Lake City, Utah!


“On The Road” With Rio Texas MFSA

“On The Road” With Rio Texas MFSA
OntheRoadThe Rio Texas MFSA Executive Committee has developed a Power Point presentation through which we will be sharing information about MFSA’s history and programs.

If you have a Sunday School class or another group that would be interested in hearing a presentation about the social justice work that the local and national MFSA organizations do, please contact Anne Mund,, and we will schedule a visit.

More News From MFSA And Friends

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MFSA National E-News Newsletter:

Current Faith in Action from General Board of Church & Society:

Reconciling Ministries newsletter:


Gather 2015 Scholarships for Rio Texas Applicants

Please submit this application by May 30. Applicant must be a resident of the Rio Texas Conference.  RIOTEXASSCHOLARSHIPGatherattheRiver2015.