Chapter Meeting Thursday November 12 – What Is Life Like for an African American in Austin in the 21st Century?

noracism (1)Come to the November meeting of the Rio Texas chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action to get a glimpse of reality for our black sisters and brothers.  A panel of three African-American United Methodists (Willie Johnson, Adama Brown, and Jarell Wilson) have agreed to talk about some of their personal encounters with racism in recent years.  Under the skilled facilitation of Jeremy Solomons (,  the panelists will educate all of us about the discrimination and prejudice they continue to experience.

Please join as we continue our focus on Racism and White Privilege.

The program will be at Saint John’s UMC, 2140 Allandale Road, on Thursday, November 12 beginning at 7:00p.  Come at 6:30p for snacks and mingling.

Spread the word…………all are welcome!

Allies Against Slavery Events

 Happy Hour with Alisa Jordheim

Thursday, November 12, 2015

4:00pm  6:00pm

Vulcan Gas Company

Join us for Happy Hour to meet Alisa Jordheim, the executive director of Justice Society and author of Made in the USA: The Sex Trafficking of America’s Children. Alisa will present and have copies of her book available to sell. Members of Allies Against Slavery, Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, and Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International will be present to participate in Q&As and discussion.

Tickets are $20 and include two drinks and appetizers. Nonprofit and government workers will receive a special $10 discount.


 6th Annual Christmas Market

Saturday, December 5, 2015

9:00am  4:00pm

Shop responsibly with us this holiday season at our free, public event! The Christmas Market features 25+ fair trade, direct trade, and social enterprise merchants who use their businesses to promote employment and well-being for people in Austin and around the world.


Local and socially-conscious vendors offer art, jewelry, music, clothing, purses/bags, toys, cosmetics, coffee, paper goods, housewares, photo prints, and much more.

For more information, visit our web page:


TCADP – Common Ground for Texans

“Advocating positive solutions through civil engagement”

What: Considering the Death Penalty in Texas and the US
When: Saturday, November 7th, 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Where: Yarborough Library, 2200 Hancock Dr, Austin TX (see map)

Join Common Ground for Texans at our next meeting, Saturday, November 7, for a discussion of the death penalty in America — an issue that has received increased attention in recent months, with Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer saying, “it’s time to revisit the issue” and President Obama also publicly questioning its application.

We’ll consider whether elected judges are more likely to impose the death penalty, whether racial biases in the justice system result in the death penalty being disproportionately used against people of color, and other questions. As always, we strive to discuss contentious issues with civility and respect for differing opinions.

We’ll hear from Les Breeding of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and hopefully from an advocate for the death penalty (TBD). It should be a lively discussion — we hope you can join us!

MFSA Announces Shoe Drive

MFSA Announces Shoe Drive Drop Locations

The Rio Texas chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) is sponsoring a SHOE DRIVE to benefit Redemptive Work, a nonprofit housed at Parker Lane UMC in southeast Austin (  RW is part of a social enterprise plugging people into jobs here in Austin and in other countries.

The shoes will be sent to poor communities around the world where they will be repaired, cleaned, and distributed to those in need, or broken into raw materials for micro-industries.  From the revenue earned for donating the shoes, RW will fund its services to the displaced in the Austin area, such as financial management training, job services networking, computer training, cultural coaching, subsidizing of employment opportunities, transportation solutions, and English language practice in professional settings.

Please band your gently used shoes together in pairs and drop them off at Saint John’s UMC, 2140 Allandale Road or Parker Lane UMC, 2105 Parker Lane any time between now and November 22.

It’s a win/win/win situation:  free up some space in your closet by donating shoes you no longer wear, fund services for the down-and-out in the Austin area, and create jobs for the destitute in poor communities around the globe.

Contact Anne Mund (512-343-0803, or Rev. Dr. Mindy Johnson-Hicks (806-252-1534,

Vital Conversations on Racism with Dr. Robin DiAngelo

The General Commission on Religion and Race has just begun a powerful video series about racial justice, diversity, and effectiveness in your congregation or community.  GCORR began this series In October with Dr. Robin DiAngelo. Watch the first video here.

The UMC looks to GCORR to facilitate, resource, guide, and support discussions on how to move to efficacy, justice, and courageous, positive action.  It is our hope that these videos transform lives, congregations, and communities.  Participation in our Vital Conversations: A Video Series will jumpstart the conversation about racial justice, diversity, and effectiveness in your congregation or community. GCORR begins this series with Dr. Robin DiAngelo.

Dr. Robin DiAngelo is the author of What Does it Mean to Be White? Developing White Racial Literacy and has been an anti-racist educator, and has heard justifications of racism by white men and women in her workshops for over two decades.  This justification, which she calls “white fragility,” is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves.  These moves include outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation.


From Safe Spaces to Brave Spaces: A New Way to Frame Dialogue Around Diversity and Social Justice, by Brian Arao and Kristi Clemens. This text explores the practices of establishing guidelines for conversations that seek to promote diversity and racial justice activities.

Conversation Guide for Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity by Shakti Butler, PhD. This conversation guide and glossary is designed to support organizations that are using this film to introduce the concept of systemic inequity to a diverse audience and deepened the conversation on race.

Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander.

The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege, by Robert Jensen.

The Strange Career of Jim Crow, by C. Vann Woodward.

White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son. Using stories from his own life, Tim Wise demonstrates the ways in which racism not only burdens people of color, but also benefits, in relative terms, those who are “white like him.” Wise explores the ways in which whites can challenge their unjust privileges, and explains in clear and convincing language why it is in the best interest of whites themselves to do so.

The movie, White Like Me, shown at the October MFSA meeting, is available to use with your Sunday School class or other group. It is very informative about how white privilege is embedded in our institutions and systems. Contact Anne Mund at if you are interested in borrowing the movie.

Immigration Discussion at First UMC Austin

“Forgotten Citizens: Deportation, Children,
and the Making of American Exiles and Orphans”

WHEN:  November 8, 2015 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

WHERE: First UMC – Austin – Murchison Chapel: 1201 Lavaca St Austin TX 78701

Presented by Dr. Luis Zayas, Dean of the School of Social Work, University of Texas at Austin. Children born in the United States are citizens under the Constitution.  But children born to undocumented immigrant parents do not fully enjoy the benefits of citizenship or the feeling they belong.  Dean Zayas will discuss his book on the topic during this 90 minute presentation.  Books will be available for purchase, but purchase is not required to attend the presentation.

Austin Interfaith News

Austin Interfaith2Wine & Cheese Fundraiser

Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 05:00 PM · $20.00 USD

360 Condominiums in Austin, TX

buy tickets


Austin Interfaith Leaders Meeting

Thursday, November 19, 2015 at 07:00 PM

St. Albert the Great Catholic Church in Austin, TX


Social Justice Movies/Documentaries

 LBGT & United Methodist Church Documentary

The documentary, Dividing the United Methodist Church, shown on PBS’s “On the Contrary, presents a special documentary about LBGT and the United Methodist Church.

From the PBS website: “The United Methodist Church remains officially opposed to homosexuality, same sex marriage, and self-avowed gay pastors. It’s official rulebook – the book of discipline states – “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” But not all United Methodist congregations agree with the church’s view on the issue. The fight on this issue is testing the faith more than ever and Dividing the United Methodist Church.’

You can watch it at:



An Act of Love: A Documentary, about The United Methodist Church, Frank Schaefer, and his trial(s), premiered at the Mill Valley Film Festival on October 9th & 12th. Now they are beginning a national campaign of screenings in churches, community centers, and other non-theatrical venues. They also want to send copies of the film to all of the United Methodist Church delegates who will be participating in the 2016 General Conference. That way everyone involved in making decisions regarding the UMC’s policies towards the LGBTQ community has an opportunity to view the film prior to the Conference. We’ll watch for a Texas showing.



November 8, 2015 6pm and November 15, 6pm

Westlake UMC is co-sponsoring along with seven other Austin churches, two showings of the documentary film, The Hunting Ground. It details the problem of violence and assault on college campuses as well as the institutional suppression of these incidents. One reviewer states: “This film has the power to fuel the movement to end campus assault, but we need to show a strong turnout at theaters to demonstrate the growing public concern and demand institutions change their ways.” While another says: “Any parent sending a child off to college should consider this required viewing.” Please plan on educating yourself and supporting the effort to end assaults on college campuses by attending one of the two showings: Sunday, Nov. 8 and Nov. 15 at 6pm at The Sanctuary, 2614 Exposition.

Watch the trailer at:


Texas Impact – Neighbors of Oil and Gas

Neighbors of Oil and Gas is a new resource for introducing people living near oil and gas development to the different state and local agencies that enforce environmental rules for the oil and gas industry. This collaboration between The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the Rio Grande International Study Center (RGISC), and Texas Impact-Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy is dedicated to helping residents and communities of the Eagle Ford Shale recognize and effectively report incidents and changes in environmental quality resulting from oil and gas activity. Neighbors of Oil and Gas offers a series of bilingual workshops that address: how to report suspected contamination and workplace hazards; agency investigation procedures; baseline water quality assessment and monitoring; and documenting odors and recognizing poorly operating flares.

Join us at a Neighbors of Oil and Gas event near you!

Nov. 17 – Gonzales

Nov. 18 – Cuero

Out Of Exile: Facts, Family, Friends and Faith

A conference focused on providing the information, ideas and inspiration faith communities need to engage & provide support to persons who are isolated by mental health disorders

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2015 | 9 – 4:30 PM

Temple Beth Shalom | 7300 Hart Lane
on the Jewish Community Center campus

$20 person | Scholarships available

Click here to download a flyer to share.


    “Mental Illness and the Role of the Faith Community”
    “Mental Illness and the Human Condition”

SPONSORED BY:  NAMI Austin, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Seminary of the Southwest, Temple Beth Shalom, Hope Presbyterian Church, Austin Travis County Integral Care, PLAN of Central Texas and the Diocese of Austin


Workshop – Engaging Religious Difference

Austin Presbyterian Seminary

Engaging Religious Difference

November 20-21, 2015

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, McCord Community Center

100 East 27th Street, Austin, 78705

Registration will begin at 9:00 am

Cost: $150/person (meals and lodging included); $75 (meals only)

During this two-day workshop participants will learn about power dynamics in interfaith relationships. Specifically, we will start by acknowledging that in this culture Christians always come to the table with more power and privilege. We will also unearth a host of other factors that influence power dynamics, such as gender, race and economic status.

The aim is to shine light on often unexamined inequalities operating in interfaith relationships so that we can enter into more mutual, life-giving relationship with each other.

Aimed at clergy, church leaders, and activists, this workshop will blend lectures, group discussions and experiential exercises with multimedia technologies.

Led by Dr. Christine Hong and Dr. Tiffany Puett


Recommended for: clergy, religious leaders and all those committed to interfaith engagement

By registering for this event, you are granting Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary the permission to publish group pictures taken during the event on Facebook.

Click here to register

Events from Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT)

redbench_logo-300x79Red Bench Dialogue
December 1
The Red Bench: Reverence 


Read a reflection on September’s Red Bench Conversation about Racial Intolerance

interfaith Thanks31st Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service and Celebration!

Sunday, November 22, 2015, 3:00 p.m.

St. John Regular Baptist Association

7501 Blessing Ave., Austin, TX 78752

Free, family-friendly, all are welcome!

LYNC – General Conference 2016



The deadline to submit legislation for consideration at General Conference has passed. So many submissions were made that the online platform shut down and final submission had to be made by email!  Once all legislation is published, look for MFSA’s analysis (think early January).

The Love Your Neighbor Coalition consisting of twelve partner organizations, including MFSA and RMN, join together to offer an alternative witness and advocate for policy changes that would lead the denomination to the embodiment of God’s love and justice for all people in our church and beyond.

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Go to the Love Your Neighbor Coalition website and endorse the vision statement.

2. Sign up to be a volunteer for the coalition. If you are able to come to Portland, OR anytime during May 10-20, 2016, please consider signing up to volunteer with the coalition (legislative tracking, witness, and support to justice-seeking delegates).
You can register to volunteer now!

Alternative Gift Markets – Austin


 Crestview UMC, 1300 Morrow St, Austin, TX

November 7, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

Sponsored by Crestview United Methodist Women to benefit Mission Projects

·       Quality Handmade Gifts for the Holidays and Year-Round

·       Homemade Jams and Jellies; Baked Goods and Frozen Casseroles

·       Quality Vendor Booths and Donation Quilts

·       Kitchen open for Breakfast and Lunch

·       Kidz Krafts Table for Fun During Shopping


 Women and Fair Trade Festival

Date: November 21 & 22, 2015

Time: 10:00 am  to  6:00 pm

Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera will sponsor the 12th annual Women and Fair Trade Festival. Eight cooperatives, formed by women adversely affected by globalization, will come from all over the world to tell their stories and sell handmade crafts, toys, pottery, jewelry, clothing, textiles and weavings. Women and their representatives gather in Austin to meet local buyers, enjoy local musicians, and celebrate cultural exchange. The market festival will also feature live music, poetry, and raffles. More information online.

Location: First Unitarian Universalist Church, 4700 Grover Ave., Austin 78756

– See more at:


Saint John’s UMC – Gifts of Hope

Saturday, December 5 & Sunday, December 6

Join your friends and neighbors this December for a lovely holiday tradition, the Saint John’s UMC Annual Alternative Gift Market. Scheduled for December 5-6, the Market supports charities and artisan groups both at home and around the world and celebrates the true meaning of this most meaningful season of our year. In addition, the Market supports Saint John’s own missions outreach through the sale of handmade items and crafts made by Saint John’s members and wonderful holiday treats are always available in the Bake Shop.

Hours are 10 am-3 pm on Saturday, December 5 and noon until 3 pm on Sunday, December 6.


 University UMC Alternative Gift Market
Sunday, December 6

UUMC’s Alternative Gift Market is a chance for you to buy Christmas presents that “give twice.”  When you buy an item from the Alternative Gift Market, you will be helping an artisan earn a fair wage for their product. There is something for everyone on your Christmas list — from shirts and jewelry to coffee and handbags. We are your one-stop shop — see you at the market! If you have an interest in being a vendor, please contact Rev. Heather Lee at

Events from the Third Coast Activist

 Coffee with the Author and Book Signing

Date: November 5, 2015

Time: 12:00 pm  to  1:00 pm

KUT Radio’s Jennifer Stayton will interview University of Texas professor Robert Jensen about his new book, Plain Radical: Living, Loving, and Learning to Leave the Planet Gracefully at the Holy Grounds coffee shop. The book sketches the comprehensive radical politics of Jensen’s late friend and comrade Jim Koplin. Drawing on first-hand stories and the nearly 3,000 pages of correspondence that flowed between the two men between 1988 and 2012, the book is part love story, part intellectual memoir, and part political polemic—an argument for how we should understand problems and think about solutions to create a decent human future, if there is to be a human future at all.


Location: St. David’s Episcopal Church, 301 E. 8th St. Austin, 78701

– See more at:


 Green Movie Night featuring “Greedy Lying Bastards”

Date: November 6, 2015

Time: 7:00 pm  to  9:00 pm


The First Unitarian Universalist Church’s Green Sanctuary Committee will screen the documentary “Greedy Lying Bastards,” which investigates the reason efforts to tackle climate change have stalled despite consensus in the scientific community. The film details the people and organizations that cast doubt on climate science and claim that greenhouse gases are not affected by human behavior. A discussion group will follow the film. For more information, contact or (512) 288-4080


Location: First Unitarian Universalist Church, 4700 Grover Ave., Austin 78756

– See more at:


 Naomi Klein on Climate and Capitalism

Date: November 11, 2015

Time: 7:00 pm  to  9:00 pm


Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist, and author of several books, including her 2007 New York Times bestseller, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Her most recent book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, won the 2014 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction and was shortlisted for the 2015 PEN Literary Awards in the nonfiction category. Klein is a contributing editor for Harper’s and a reporter for Rolling Stone, and she writes a regular column for The Nation and The Guardian. In 2014 she received the International Studies Association’s IPE Outstanding Activist-Scholar award, and in 2015 she received the Izzy Award honoring outstanding achievement in independent journalism and media. The event is sponsored by the Texas Institute for Literary and Textual Studies and the Humanities Institute at the University of Texas.


Location: University of Texas, Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium, 2313 Red River, Austin, 78705

– See more at:


 “Uniting Our Divided City: Addressing Health Disparities”

Date: November 13, 2015

Time: 12:00 pm  to  1:30 pm


Although Travis County and Austin have reputations for healthy populations, many residents are being left behind. This program features health care providers, advocates, and University of Texas faculty working to address racial and ethnic health disparities. Panelists include Christie Garbe, Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Central Health; Miyong Kim, Associate Vice President for Community Health Engagement, UT; William Lawson, Associate Dean of Health Disparities, UT’s Dell Medical School; and Sal Valdez, Chief Operating Officer, The Latino HealthCare Forum. The moderator will be Sherri Greenberg from the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Attendance is free and lunch is provided, but seating is limited and an RSVP is required.


Location: University of Texas, LBJ School of Public Affairs, Room 3.122, 2300 Red River St., Austin

– See more at:


 Campaign to End the Death Penalty Conference

Date: November 14, 2015

Time: 8:00 am  to  5:00 pm


The theme of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty conference is “Fighting the Death Penalty and Mass Incarceration.” Discussions will focus on police violence, abuse of prosecutorial discretion, harsh sentencing, execution methods, solitary confinement and prison conditions, and more. Register online ($25 regular, $10 for students and family members of prisoner or former prisoners). For more information, contact Lily Hughes,


Location: Huston-Tillotson University, 900 Chicon St., Austin, 78702

– See more at:


 Jessica Gordon Nembhard on African American Cooperatives

Date: December 9, 2015

Time: 7:00 pm  to  9:00 pm


Jessica Gordon Nembhard, a professor at John Jay College of the City University of New York and author of Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Thought and Practice will speak about her vision for a sustainable economy in which Black lives matter. In her research and activism, Nembhard focuses on community economic development, wealth inequality, Black political economy, popular economic literacy, and community justice. Nembhard was a founding member of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives and is co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland, College Park. The event is sponsored by Cooperation Texas. More information online.


Location: Dickey-Lawless Auditorium, Huston-Tillotson University, 900 Chicon St., Austin, 78702

– See more at:


 US Human Rights Network National Conference

Date: December 10 – 13, 2015

Time: 8:00 am  to  5:00 pm


The biannual conference of the US Human Right Network will be held in Austin December 10-13, with a focus on economic, social and cultural rights. This national network of organizations and individuals works to build and strengthen a people-centered human rights movement in the United States. PODER (People Organized in Defense of Earth and her Resources) will serve as the local anchor organization for the conference. Scholarships are available.


Location: Hilton Austin, 500 E. 4th St., Austin, 78701

– See more at: