May Meeting To Focus On Austin JFON


The May meeting of the Rio Texas Chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) will take place Thursday, May 14, at Saint John’s UMC, Austin.  The program will focus on the Austin Region Justice for Our Neighbors (ARJFON) clinic, which is part of a national United Methodist network of legal clinics based in United Methodist churches around the country.  Kevin Reed, who serves as the chair of the ARJFON board, will share the journey that the Austin program has been on since its beginning in 2012.

The goal of the JFON clinics is to provide hospitality and compassion to low-income immigrants through immigration legal services, advocacy, and education.  The Austin clinic is hosted on the last Saturday of each month at Servant Church, and the legal staff is housed at Parker Lane UMC in south Austin.

Please join us to learn about this much-needed ministry.  Snacks and mingling begin at 6:30p; the program will start at 7p.  Hope to see you there!

MFSA Joins Protest With JFON In Dilley


MFSA Chapter President Anne Mund and many other friends of MFSA and JFON joined in a protest on May 2 in Dilley, TX.   United Methodists, faith and immigrant support groups were there to protest the shameful practice of family detention. In collaboration with a coalition of national advocacy and faith groups.  The Dilley detention camp (a former “man camp” for oil workers) is now being built into the largest immigrant detention center in the U.S.

We are called to witness!

Annual Conference 2015


MFSA will have a strong presence at the 2015 Rio Texas Annual Conference, June 11-14, in Corpus Christi. We will be present in the following ways to:

·       Share space in the vendor hall with the Rio Texas Reconciling Team

·       Share ideas and educational materials with others about social justice ministries

·       Offer tables full of books for browsing and taking (donations accepted)

·       Cosponsor the 5th annual Peace & Justice Luncheon with the Rio Texas Conference Transforming Communities Vision Team

·       Welcome a United Methodist champion for social justice, Bishop Minerva Carcaño, Bishop of the California-Pacific Conference of the UMC (see below)

If you’d like to be part of this, please let Anne Mund, our chapter president, know by email  Opportunities are available to help even if you can’t attend any of the events.

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


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)

Reconciling Annual Conference Events and Worship Service

RMN logoAll are welcome to visit with members of the Rio Texas Reconciling Team on June 12 & 13 during Annual Conference in Corpus Christi at our display tables in the American Bank Center exhibition hall. Reconciling United Methodists plan to gather for a Friday night dinner (RSVP to by June 7 if you are interested).

RMN’s African Central Conferences Coordinator, Dennis Akpona, will give a testimony during the 2nd Annual Conference Reconciling Worship Service, hosted by Trinity UMC Austin in room 225 on Saturday, June 13 at 7AM.

Book Fair At Annual Conference


MFSA is collecting books for a book fair at annual conference

The 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.

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 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.

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

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!

Gather At The River Workshops Announced!

Workshops are intended to provide hands-on training opportunities to learn and hone skills for vital congregational ministries, advocacy for LGBTQ equality, engaging persons in the intersections of justice issues, and/or preparing a progressive witness for the 2016 General Conference.
Workshops will happen on Friday afternoon, August 7, and will be 75 minutes in length.


A1: Creating Rituals for Life Passages of Individuals and Communities – Marcia McFee

A2: Twenty-First Century Worship Leading and Soul Justice Singing – Mark Miller

A3: Breaking Down Barriers: Practicing Inclusion
Sharon McCart

A4: REFUEL: A Filling Station for the Overworked
Ruth Airhart

A5: Inclusion from Inception: Church Planting for Today
Brittany Isaac

A6: The Reconciling Process – Using the “Building An Inclusive Church Toolkit” – Helen Ryde

A7: “Where Do I Belong?” Creating Vital Communities of Accountability & Responsibility Across Difference
Vernice Thorn, Robyn Morrison, cathy knight

A8: Making God’s Vision Ours – Rev. Max Blaylock


B1: Southern Initiative in RMN Organizing – Laura Young & Helen Ryde

B2: Hate, Hope and Religion in Africa & USA – Dennis Apopka, Bishop Joseph Tolton, Ann Craig, M.Div.

B3: Troubling the Waters–Disruption 101: Basics of (Non)violent Direct Action – Rev. Amy E. DeLong & Rev. Dr. Julie Todd, Love Prevails

B4: Troubling the Waters- Disruption 201: Strategies and Techniques of (Non)violent Direct Action – Rev. Amy E. DeLong & Rev. Dr. Julie Todd, Love Prevails

B5: Preparing for General Conference – Rev. Steve Clunn and Kevin Nelson

B6: Building Bridges with Evangelicals and Moderates – Dave Nuckols & Giselle Lawn

B7: Who Ya Gonna Call? Navigating the Complaint/Legal Process in the UMC – Rev. Scott Campbell, Rev. Paul Fleck & Kevin Nelson


C1: Cultural Competency – Rev. Amy Stapleton

C2: Reproductive Justice: What’s Faith Got To Do With It?
Rev. Kathryn Johnson

C3: Palestinian & Israeli Voices: Impact of the Israeli Occupation on their Lives – Hashem Abushama & Dalit Baum, Ph.D.

C4: United Methodists and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement – David Wildman & Lisa Bender

C5: The Widow, the Orphan, the Stranger: Legal Ministry from a Spiritual Perspective – Piper Madison, Austin JFON

C6: Ending Mass Incarceration – Get Your Church/Campus Involved – T.C. Morrow

C7: Not Just a One Night Stand: Expanding Ministry with the Poor and Marginalized – Dr. John Flowers & Rev. Karen Vannoy

C8: Todos Somos Esperanza/We Are All Hope: Nepantla Strategies for Overcoming Injustice – Graciela Sánchez & Rachel Jennings


D1: The Gay Family Next Door – Rev. Sara Thompson Tweedy

D2: Queer Voices of Color – Rev. Theon Johnson III ( moderator) and panelists Bridget Cabrera, Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey., Jorge Lockward, Dr. Mark Miller, Dr. Randall Miller & Alex Shanks

D3: Transgender Basics – Paula Buls, C. Kristian Clauser & Colin Jon david Stewart

D4: Deepening Ministry with Gender Diverse Persons – Giselle Lawn & Alex Shanks

D5: Family Acceptance Project: Revolutionizing How We Support LGBT People in Families & Faith Communities – Caitlin Ryan, PhD, ACSW

D6: LGBTQI Asylum and Global Congregations – Seeking Global AFFIRMATION – Ann Craig, M.Div.

D7: Communities of Color Journey Toward Full Inclusion – Jorge Lockward & Rev. Vicki Flippin

Rio Texas MFSA and Reconciling Team Offer Scholarships



The 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.

Texas Impact

Clergy Mondays at the 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.


Action Alert: Good Health and Bad Medicine

Medicaid expansion is currently stalled, but legislators are considering a number of bills that would keep Texans healthy. Call your legislator and urge support!

On the down side, legislators are considering a host of bills that would encourage inappropriate government involvement in religion. Proponents say the legislation is needed to protect religious freedom…but these bills would create religious winners and losers. Tell lawmakers “religious freedom” means everyone.

Find legislator phone numbers, bill information and more at

Texas Water Management 101: You and the State Water Plan

A Forum on Water Management and Conservation

Saturday, May 9, 2015   ●    9am – 5pm

Abiding Love Lutheran Church – 7210 Brush Country Road  Austin, TX 78749  ●   Free and Open to the Public  Lunch Provided  ●   RSVP Today!

Featured speakers include: Texas Water Development Board Commissioner Kathleen Jackson; Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon; Texas Parks and Wildlife Conservation Education Manager Johnnie Smith; and more!


Closing the Texas Coverage Gap 

New report from our friends at the Center for Public Policy Priorities

Wondering what ever happened to the Medicaid expansion? It’s not too late for Texas to do the right thing! This new report by CPPP’s Anne Dunkelberg will get you up to speed on developments in Texas and other states, how rural hospital closures factor into the equation, and what’s possible…even in just 30 days.

Events From Third Coast Activist

Screening of “Terms and Conditions May Apply”
Date: Thursday, May 7, 2015
Time: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
This documentary exposes what corporations and governments learn about people through internet and cell phone usage, and what can be done about it, if anything.
The screening is part of the “Controversy & Conversation” series, a collaboration between the Austin Public Library and the Humanities Institute’s Difficult Dialogues Program at the University of Texas. More information online.

Location: Austin Public Library, Terrazas Branch, 1105 East Cesar Chavez St., Austin, 78702
– See more at:

Texas Social Justice Series: Education
Date: May 7, 2015
Time: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
The third of a four-part series on the fight for social justice in Texas will focus on education. Panelists will discuss legal cases leading up to the Brown v. Board of Education decision and Texas’ role in shaping Supreme Court decisions of the era, along with analysis of the state of educational opportunity today. The panel will include University of Texas professors Eric Tang (African and African Diaspora Studies), Norma Cantu (Education and Law), and Leonard Moore (History).
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:

Jane’s Walk: East Austin History Tour

Date: Saturday, May 9, 2015
Time: 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Because of gentrification and increased transit access, East Central Austin, a vibrant area at the heart of Austin’s African American community, is in transition. This tour celebrating that history is part of Jane’s Walk USA, a series of free neighborhood walking tours aimed at bridging social and geographic gaps and creating a space for cities to discover themselves.

Tour guides will be Bertram Allen (W.H. Passon Historical Society), Tara Dudley (UT School of Architecture), Stephanie Jarvis (former director of the French Legation Museum), and Harrison Eppright (African American Cultural Heritage Center). The tour lasts about three hours. Organizers plan to stop for lunch at the end of the tour for those who want to eat together. More information online.

Location: meet at the French Legation Museum, 802 San Marcos St., Austin, 78702
– See more at:

Screening of “At the Death House Door”

Date: July 2, 2015
Time: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
This documentary investigates Texas’ 1989 execution of Carlos DeLuna, after prosecutors ignored evidence about another man who bragged to friends about committing the crimes of which DeLuna was convicted.
The screening is part of the “Controversy & Conversation” series, a collaboration between the Austin Public Library and the Humanities Institute’s Difficult Dialogues Program at the University of Texas. More information online.
Location: Austin Public Library, Terrazas Branch, 1105 East Cesar Chavez St., Austin, 78702
– See more at:

First UMC – Austin Celebrates 175 Years


Bishop Mike McKee will preach on Sunday, May 17th, during the celebration of the 175th anniversary of First UMC-Austin.  Bishop McKee, a native of Ft. Worth, Texas, attended the University of Texas, Austin, from which he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1973. As a young adult, he worshipped at First Church and volunteered in youth ministry.

He answered a call to ordained ministry and graduated from seminary at Perkins School of Theology, SMU, in 1978. His years of service as a pastor were spent in his home conference, Central Texas, where he served a variety of churches, including fifteen years as senior pastor of a fast growing congregation, First UMC, Hurst, from which he was elected bishop. Following his election, Bishop McKee was assigned to the Dallas area to serve as bishop of the North Texas Conference.

Events From Equality Texas


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:

Hope Food Pantry Event


Bolz-Weber To Speak At Annual Conference In Houston


The Breaking the Silence Dinner at Texas Annual Conference

Featuring the 8th Annual John Fellers Lectureship Speaker:


Monday, May 25, 2015

Dinner begins at 5:00 p.m.

Registration Fee: $25 per person

Scholarships are available.  For information, contact 

Rev. Glynden Bode at

Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber is the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, CO. She is author of Salvation on the Small Screen? 24 Hours of Christian Television and the New York Times best selling theological memoir, Pastrix: the Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint. Her writings can be found in the Christian Century, The Lutheran Magazine and She is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).