Rio Texas MFSA to Focus on Racism and White Privilege in 2015-2016

Robert Jensen to Speak on Racism and White Privilege

Saint John’s UMC – 2140 Allandale Rd. – Austin

Robert-JensenRobert Jensen, a professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, will speak on racism and white privilege at the September 10 meeting of the Rio Texas MFSA. Jensen is the author of the 2005 book, The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege, and the recent article “Two Things White People Should Never Say” in YES! Magazine. Jensen’s book has been described as “an honest look at U.S. racism and the liberal platitudes that attempt to conceal it”.

At UT, Jensen teaches courses in media law, ethics, & politics.  In his research, Jensen draws on a variety of critical approaches to media and power. In addition to teaching and research, Jensen writes for popular media, both alternative and mainstream. His opinion and analytic pieces on such subjects as foreign policy, politics, and race have appeared in papers around the country. He contributes to local organizing in Austin, TX, through his work with the Third Coast Activist Resource Center, Jensen’s articles can be found online at

Please join us to delve into this social justice issue.

Snacks and mingling begin at 6:30p; the program will start at 7p.  Hope to see you there!

Gather at the River a Success!

For many months, we on the planning team had wondered if folks would be willing to come to San Antonio in the middle of a Texas summer to attend this event.  The answer was a resounding “yes” as 700 gathered at Travis Park UMC for this wonderful weekend!


More Photos:


Congratulations to Two of Our Rio Texas Friends!

DSC09868Joy Butler receives RMN Voices in the Wilderness Award

Joy Butler, chair of the Rio Texas Reconciling Team, was named the recipient of the RMN Voices in the Wilderness Award presented at the Gather at the River conference in San Antonio. The national award, given by Reconciling Ministries Network, recognizes an individual who stands against injustice to “proclaim the rightness of inclusion for all people in the church.” Thank you Joy for your passion, skill, and perseverance!


Rev. Dr. Mindy Johnson-Hicks Transfers Clergy Credentials

At a worship celebration in the sanctuary of Travis Park UMC on Friday, August 7, Rev. Dr. Mindy Johnson-Hicks, transferred her clergy credentials to the Church Within A Church Movement. There to support Mindy were spouse Amy, and friends and well-wishers from around the country. Mindy is on the Board of the Rio Texas MFSA. Congratulations, Mindy!  To learn more about the Church Within A Church Movement, visit:

Austin Pride Parade – 2015


On Saturday, August 29, Rio Texas MFSA led a group of Methodists in the Austin Pride Parade. Saint John’s UMC, Trinity UMC, & Journey of Faith marched side by side, with First UMC & University UMC up ahead. We survived the heat and had a great experience giving smiles, hand hugs, water, beads, and fans to those in the crowd.

See photos at:

Justice for Sandra Bland Vigil

On August 20, a group of Austin Methodists, organized by Joy Butler, took a road trip to Waller Texas.  We didn’t let rain keep us away from our quiet vigil at the Waller County Sheriff’s office.  Four Austin UMC pastors, Michael Mumme, Cathy Stone, Hilary Marchbanks, and John Elford offered prayers and support for a Methodist pastor from Houston, Hannah Adair Bonner, who has provided a presence at the Waller County Sheriff’s Office since the first day after Sandra Bland’s death there on July 13.


‪#‎sandySTILLspeaks ‪#‎sandyspeaks ‪#‎sayhername ‪#‎sandrabland‪#‎whathappenedtosandrabland ‪#‎justiceforsandrabland

Justice for Sandra Bland


MORE THAN 4,200 PEOPLE so far have signed our petition demanding justice for Sandra Bland!  Click here to add your name!  Share the petition with your friends so we can reach 5,000 signatures.  Also, we are planning to deliver the petition to Texas DPS in Austin on Sept. 10.  Donate to help us make the trip! For more information, contact Mary Moreno at (832) 829-4174,

Invisible in Austin

Launch of Invisible in Austin: Life and Labor in an American City

Date: Friday, September 4, 2015

Time: 7:00 pm  to  9:00 pm

Location:  BookPeople

, 603 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, 78703

In Invisible in Austin, University of Texas sociologist Javier Auyero and a team of graduate students explore the lives of those working at the bottom of the social order: house cleaners, office-machine repairers, cab drivers, restaurant cooks and dishwashers, exotic dancers, musicians, and roofers, among others. The book makes visible the growing gap between rich and poor that is reconfiguring Austin, as low-wage workers are forced to the social and symbolic margins.

The panel discussion will feature co-authors Auyero and Katie Jensen, professor and Ph.D. student from the UT Department of Sociology; Pierette Hondagneu-Sotelo, University of Southern California sociology professor; Melissa del Bosque, Texas Observer reporter; and Cristina Tzintzún, executive director of the Workers Defense Project.

Robert Reich Lecture at UT Austin

Robert Reich Speaking at UT

Date: September 8, 2015

Time: 7:00 pm  to  8:30 pm

Location: LBJ Library, Lady Bird Auditorium, University of Texas, 2313 Red River St., Austin

The University of Texas’ Plan II Honors Program is hosting Robert Reich for the 2015 Liz Carpenter Distinguished Lecture.  Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, is a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley.  He is the author of Beyond Outrage: What Has Gone Wrong with Our Economy and Our Democracy, and How to Fix Them and was featured in the documentary “Inequality for All.”

No tickets are required for this free event.

If you can’t make it to the LBJ Library, Reich will also be interviewed for KLRU’s Overheard with Evan Smith at the KLRU studios at 2:45 pm on September 8.   Event is free but reservations required.  More information:

One Human Race Workshops

SEPTEMBER 12, 19, 26
TIME: 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm
LOCATION: St. John’s Episcopal Church, 11201 Parkfield Drive, Austin
(Open to Public) – No Cost to Attend, Registration Required

one-human-race-workshops-87Three workshops focused on race reconciliation using materials from the PBS Series: Race: A Power of An Illusion. Materials have been updated and modified. If you are looking for a safe and friendly environment to start on continue a conversation about race reconciliation, this may be the ideal solution for you.

We recommend you attend at least the first workshop. Attendance to all workshops is not required, but recommended. To learn more about this movement, visit:

Sponsored by: The Myra McDaniel Chapter, which is an affiliate of the national organization, the Union of Black Episcopalians. The Chapter advocates for and encourages greater involvement and participation of members of the African Diaspora in all levels of the Episcopal Church.

iACT – The Red Bench Conversations

redbench_logo-300x79Join us for a special Red Bench conversation as a part of Peace Day Austin!

Tuesday September 15, 2015, 6:30pm-8:30pm

Topic: Peace

Location: St. Edward’s University (Maloney Room, 3001 Congress Ave.)

International Day of Peace


Monday Sep, 21 2015

Building Green Justice Forum

Building Green Justice Forum: Cultivating Food Justice

Date: September 24, 2015

Time: 8:30 am  to  4:00 pm

Location: Dickey-Lawless Science Building, Huston-Tillotson University, 900 Chicon St., Austin, 78702, with free parking in the Chalmers Avenue lot and free street parking around campus.

Huston-Tillotson University will host the Second Annual Building Green Justice Forum, this year focusing on food justice. Activists, community members, students, and researchers will explore food access, local and global food systems, community-based solutions, nutrition, and health impacts.

Registration and coffee begins at 8:30 am, with speakers, panels, and workshops throughout the day. A full schedule is coming soon.

The forum—which is sponsored by Green is the New Black, The Dumpster Project, and the Third Coast Activist Resource Center—is free but please register online. For more information, contact Karen Magid,

First UMC – Austin Meeting on General Conference 2016

What to Expect at General Conference 2016 Sunday

September 27th 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Murchison Chapel

Presented by Jay Brim

Every four years, delegates from all over the world meet to decide on law and policy for the United Methodist Church.  Next year that meeting will be in May in Portland, Oregon.  Jay Brim is Chancellor of the Rio Texas Annual Conference (essentially the Bishop’s lawyer), a member of Westlake UMC, and a lay delegate to the 2016 General Conference.  He will inform us about the issues that General Conference is likely to address.  There is no charge for the course and there are no materials to purchase.

For more information, contact:

Voices of Tamar

Can We Talk? Sexual Violence & Abuse

What’s Your Dating IQ?

(It’s more than just RED FLAGS)

Often Young Women and Men Get Caught in Relationship Nightmares,

Or are Unable to Awaken From the horror of Past Abuse.



September 27, 2015

2:00-4:30 PM

University United Methodist Church

2400 Guadalupe AUSTIN 78705

(use north entrance next to small parking lot)

Voices of Tamar, a faith-based ministry addressing violence in relationships.

Special Guests:    Imani Boyette and Chris Adams    

Cost: FREE


Texas Impact – Better Neighbors Event

Better Neighbors Immigration Event in San Antonio, September 28, 2015

Time:  Monday, September 28, 2015, 6:30pm – 8:00pm

Place:  University Presbyterian Church.
300 Bushnell Ave, San Antonio, TX 78212

Texas Impact is coming to San Antonio to talk about programs to help strengthen our community!  This event will feature representatives of Texas Impact, discussing refugees, asylees and immigration in Texas. Texas Impact staff will also present details about the Community Partner program to assist eligible residents to access Texas benefits on-line.

The entire presentation is a part of Texas Impact’s Better Neighbors initiative.  Better Neighbors seeks to educate and engage local congregations to be “Better Neighbors” – by reaching out to people through direct service and policy implementation.  Each month Texas Impact provides resources for a “Focus of the Month” campaign on unique topics to inform local communities of faith how they can partner with the state to implement public policy at the local level.

This month’s Better Neighbors newsletter, focusing on immigration, may be found online at

To see previous Better Neighbors newsletters, go to

For more information on Texas Impact, the presentation, or to RSVP, please contact our Congregational Outreach Director, Scott Atnip, at or by phone at 512.472.3903 x109