Chapter Meeting in February Features Rolando Perez

Rolando-PerezThe Rio Texas Chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action will continue its focus on Racism/White Privilege at its meeting on Thursday, February 11 at Saint John’s UMC, 2140  Allandale Road.  Our speaker will be Rolando Perez, a local civil rights worker and member of Trinity Church.  Rolando’s talk is entitled Identity, Power and Privilege: Perspectives on Racism.  Come, listen, ask, discuss, and learn more about this urgent justice issue in our community and around the country.

Snacks and mingling begin at 6:30pm, followed by the program at 7:00.  Bring friends of any (or no) faith tradition.  We hope to see you there!

Documentary Screening – An Act Of Love

Saint John’s UMC

5:30 p.m. Sunday February 21act of love_Poster_3000_URL_RGB

Free admission

Join us for the screening of An Act of Love, a documentary about the trial that rocked the United Methodist Church and the minister, Rev. Frank Schaefer, who risked it all for his son. Cosponsored by: Saint John’s Reconciling Team, Rio Texas MFSA, and Rio Texas Reconciling Ministries Team.

 Why this film is important now

We now have marriage equality in all 50 States, but the U.S.’s 2nd largest protestant denomination is still sharply divided on this issue.

Full equality for the LGBTQ community cannot exist in the U.S. without the support of the Christian community. Laws may be passed that provide more rights and protections, but those rights will be routinely ignored in places where the community does not agree that LGBTQ citizens should be treated as equals under the law and under God. Just as the struggle for racial and gender equality made huge strides forward once they gained the support of influential religious communities – so will the LGBTQ movement.

We hope that this film will be a strategic and important tool used to elevate the conversation about LGBTQ rights in one of the most significant Christian denominations in the U.S. – the United Methodist Church.

In May 2016, at the denomination’s General Conference, there will be another chance for the rules of the UMC to change and allow for ordination of LGBTQ clergy and for same-sex marriage within the Church. We created this film with this critical turning point in mind.”

Matthew Vines to Speak

mattvines_aboutFriday, Feb. 5th

University Christian Church

Labyrinth Progressive Student Ministry, TX Freedom Network (UT Chapter), and University UMC Campus Ministry will host a free keynote lecture by Matthew Vines, LGBTQ+ activist and author of, “God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same Sex Relationships.”  The lecture will be held at University Christian Church (2007 University Avenue) on February 5, 2016 at 7:30pm.  All are welcome!  No RSVP necessary.

University UMC’s 5th Anniversary as a Reconciling Congregation


Please join UUMC on February 7th as we celebrate 5 years of being a Reconciling congregation.  We have invited former Youth Director and Justice Associate, M Barclay, to be our guest preacher for the day.  M will be preaching at both the 8:30am and 11am services.  M now works for the Reconciling Ministries Network as their Director of Communication. During the Sunday School hour, all are invited to the Fellowship Hall as M engages us in dialogue around RMN’s efforts and plan for General Conference 2016.  On February 7th the congregation will also have the opportunity to become an Individual Reconciling Member.  This gives the Reconciling Ministries Network a better idea of how many individual supporters there are as opposed to church groups.  If you would like to register to be a Reconciling Individual today follow  this link!

Getting Ready for General Conference

United Methodists Gather in Portland for General Conference Briefing

From Reconciling Ministries Network Flashnet (1/26/2016)

In January, nearly 400 delegates, agency representatives, and communicators gathered in Portland, Oregon for a briefing on General Conference legislation and practices. Alongside other important legislative conversations on fossil fuels, global restructuring, and an alternative legislative approach, discussion of policies regarding LGBTQ persons were front and center. The Commission on General Conference, which plans the legislative gathering, hopes its Group Discernment Process might provide a template for dealing with other contentious issues in the life of the church.

On Friday, January 22nd, the gathered heard a panel on “Conversation about Topics Related to Human Sexuality.”  Dr. Dorothee Benz, representative of MIND in NY, opened by reminding those listening that a more apt title for the panel would be “Whether and how The UMC will continue discriminate against LGBTQ people.” The diverse panelists were given the opportunity to share their convictions, answer questions, and respond to one another.

Dr. Benz was a courageous presence on the panel as the only queer voice. She used the opportunity not only to share about her own call to ministry being denied in the church, but to also lift of up the stories of LGBTQ asylum seekers facing violence in their home countries and youth struggling with suicide because of church teachings. Benz was also able to articulate a precise and compelling explanation of why acts of Biblical Obedience are the most authentic way forward for those who are invested in justice for LGBTQ persons in The United Methodist Church.

The full panel is now available for viewing here. We invite you to tune-in to this important conversation and then visit our website to tell your delegates to let them know your own conviction, story, and response.

Successful panels are important for expanding education and building relationship, but after over forty years dialogue and discrimination, #ItsTime for change.

General Conference 2016 News:

Love Your Neighbor Coalition

The Love Your Neighbor Coalition (LYNC) has released an Epiphany statement, “An Open Letter to the African Bishops of The United Methodist Church”, in response to the Africa College of Bishop’s “A Statement on the state of global UMC and our common world”. You can read LYNC’s response here:

Resources on Homosexuality and the Church

To learn more about the controversy around the church policy regarding homosexuality, watch:

PBS documentary, Dividing the United Methodist (2014)

Gay Marriage: The Battle For The Methodist Church’s Soul (2012)

We have not drawn swords. by Sue Laurie (1/26/2016)

Advance Daily Christian Advocate (including legislative petitions)

Everything you want to know and more about General Conference 2016 in this 1488 page document posted at: There were 999 petitions about sexuality submitted, but they have been combined in the following way.

Human Sexuality – page 305 Daily Christian Advocate

Amend the Book of Discipline, 2012 ¶ 161.F Human Sexuality as follows:

BOD 2012 ¶ 161.F Human Sexuality—We affirm that sexuality is God’s good gift to all persons. We call everyone to responsible stewardship of this sacred gift. Although all persons are sexual beings whether or not they are married, sexual relations are affirmed only with the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage. We deplore all forms of the commercialization, abuse, and exploitation of sex. We call for strict global enforcement of laws prohibiting the sexual exploitation of children and for adequate protection, guidance, and counseling for abused children. All persons, regardless of age, gender, marital status, or sexual orientation, or gender identity are entitled to have their human and civil rights ensured and to be protected against violence. The Church should support the family in providing age-appropriate education regarding sexuality to children, youth, and adults. We affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God. All persons need the ministry of the Church in their struggles for human fulfillment, as well as the spiritual and emotional care of a fellowship that enables reconciling relationships with God, with others, and with self. The United Methodist church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers his practice incompatible with Christian teaching. Though faithful United Methodists remain in disagreement regarding our understanding of homosexuality, We we affirm that God’s grace is available to all.  We will seek to live together in Christian community, welcoming, forgiving, and loving one another, as Christ has loved and accepted us. We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons.


Disagreements on human sexuality among United Methodists will continue as discussions continue. Removal of this inflammatory language will help facilitate removal of animus during holy conferencing and acknowledge that we “agree to disagree.” The current statement no longer reflects the beliefs of all United Methodists.

Since adoption of the current ¶161.F. [For Group Discernment Process (p. 1187)] Petition Number: 60825-CB-¶161.F-G; Cramer, Phil -Nashville, TN, USA for Belmont UMC. 999 Similar Petitions



 Lake Travis UMC- 1502 RR 620 North

Austin, Texas 78734

Saturday, February 13

9:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Workshop registration requested by February 3rd, 2016

To register for workshops, click here 

Rev. Jasmine Smothers is the keynote speaker for the Capital District leadership training. While there are 10 workshops, we will highlight two of them here.


Undoin RacismPISAB-logoIntroduction to Undoing Racism & Community Organizing

Charlotte Caples 


Through dialogue, reflection, role-playing, strategic planning and presentations, a 2.5 day Undoing Racism intensive training challenges participants to analyze the structures of power and privilege that hinder social equity and prepares them to be effective organizers for justice. In this Introduction to Undoing Racism® Community Organizing, participants will gain an understanding of the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, its vision and a foundation for how the Institute helps individuals, communities, organizations and institutions move beyond addressing the symptoms of racism to undoing the causes of racism so as to create a more just and equitable society.


therefore_goUMC General Conference Legislation

Abel Vega

This workshop will provide an overview of General Conference 2016, the legislative process and framework of key legislative proposals as well as the Jurisdictional Conference episcopal election process. It will look at the emerging shifts of the UMC as a global church and its relationship to the mission field.  With this backdrop, conversation will be facilitated regarding implications, challenges, and opportunities for the Rio Texas Conference UMC in the 21st century in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.   Workshop participants can visit to familiarize themselves with General Conference 2016.

Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT) Events

FriendsInFaith_logo_800wFriends in Faith – Tues. Feb 16, 2016

Our fifth annual Friends in Faith Luncheon on Feb. 16th is an event for local faith leaders as a way to help nourish and support their growth, as well as to connect and encourage them in building relationships with other faith leaders in our community.

We extend our thanks to Sharon Watkins, owner of Chez Zee, who has continued to support iACT in fulfilling its mission.

iACT is committed to connecting Austin’s diverse faith communities and promoting healthy interfaith relationships. We are devoted to strengthening these relationships and bringing in new faith communities.

The Red Bench: Religious Intoleranceredbench_logo-300x79

Join us on February 23rd at First United Methodist Church for a courageous conversation on another pressing issues of our time:religious intolerance.

Please RSVP in advance!

February 23, 2016

6:30 pm – 8:30pm

First United Methodist Church – Family Life Center1300 Lavaca St

Reconciling Ministries Network Training

rmncoaching1-copy311February 20th,  9am to 4pm

Buda UMC – Buda, TX

Do you want to help increase the number of Reconciling churches, communities and campus ministries in your area? Join us as SCJ Regional Organizer, Laura Young, facilitates a training designed to help participants coach congregations, Sunday school classes, and other groups as they journey through the Reconciling process. The training will include skills building around topics common in the Reconciling process including: complex identities, framing, the steps of the Reconciling process, graceful engagement, and conflict management.

Click here for more information and to register.

Book Talk with Author Deepa Iyer


Restorative Justice at the Crossroads

ut-ssw-logoDean’s Lecture Series: Thalia González

Monday, February 15 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Restorative Justice at the Crossroads: From Practice to Policy to Systemic Reform

Light lunch will be served starting at 11:30am. Please RSVP to 

Restorative justice in the United States is at a crossroads; it is no longer simply viewed as a grassroots practice, but instead as a policy solution in such areas as school discipline, youth justice, child welfare, violence, policing, racial disparities, mass incarceration, and recidivism.  In this lecture, Professor González will discuss the growth of the restorative justice movement, its shifting focus, and how restorative justice is currently being used across the United States in a diverse range of systems.  She will also highlight the tensions between aspirational and practical understandings of restorative justice, as well as the versatility of restorative approaches to address some of the most pressing contemporary issues.

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

antony_gravesA Conversation from the Heart: An Evening with Anthony Graves” will take place at The Health Museum (1515 Hermann Dr.) in Houston’s Museum District on Friday, February 19, 2016.  The event will feature an exclusive screening of “Graves Injustice: A One Man Stage Narrative,” which tells the story of Anthony Graves.  Mr. Graves spent 18 years in prison, including 12 years on Texas’ death row, and faced 2 execution dates as an innocent man.  Since his exoneration in October 2010, he has served as a powerful advocate for criminal justice reform. This event is sponsored by TCADP; Anthony Believes; Pete and Lyn Mefford; and The Health Museum.  Proceeds benefit TCADP and Anthony Believes. Seats are limited, so purchase your ticket today!

Annual Conference: TCADP will once again meet as an annual conference, this time at Unity of Houston on Saturday, February 20, 2016. The committee has planned an excellent conference with a tremendous array of presenters, workshop leaders and award recipients. For more information, please visit our conference page.

Austin Interfaith Delegate Assembly

Austin Interfaith2February Delegates Assembly for the Austin Interfaith Coalition

Monday, February 15, 6:45 pm – 8:30 pm

St. John’s/San Juan Lutheran Church, 409 W. Ben White Blvd.

On February 15, United Methodist congregations will join with the other congregations, schools, workers’ associations and unions that make up Austin Interfaith to hold a Delegate’s Assembly at 6:45 pm at St. John’s/San Juan Lutheran Church, 409 W. Ben White Blvd. At this Delegates Assembly leaders will ask public officials to commit to working on important issues affecting central Texas families – like education, healthy neighborhoods, immigration reform, living wages for all, affordable housing, and more.

Austin CROP Hunger Walk 2016


February 28, Sunday
2:00 pm: Registration
2:30 pm:  Step Off

Location for 2016

Camp Mabry

2200 West 35th Street.

Camp Mabry(View Larger Map)

Register and Raise Funds Online

For more information or assistance with raising funds online, contact