Chapter Meeting in April Features Rev. Hannah Bonner

HannahBonnerThe Rio Texas Chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action will continue its focus on Racism/White Privilege at its meeting on Thursday, April 14 at Saint John’s UMC, 2140  Allandale Road.  Our speaker will be Rev. Hannah Adair Bonner, who serves on staff at St. John’s UMC in Houston.

Since July 2015, Rev. Bonner held vigil in solidarity with Sandra Bland, who died that month in the Waller County (TX) Jail.  Very recently, Sandra Bland’s sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho inducted Rev. Bonner as an Honorary Member.  And WomanPreach! Inc. honored her with the Parthia Hall Justice Award “to a woman minister whose prophetic voice has been obvious and effective in the public arena.”

Rev. Bonner’s current witness is focused on her role as Curator of The Shout, a spoken word poetry focused arts and justice movement, which “has as its goal nothing less than the cultivation of a community of diverse people committed to transforming our world.”

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

Rio Texas Conference Delegation LISTENING SESSIONS

therefore_goAs the Rio Texas Conference Delegation prepares to attend the 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church in Portland, Oregon – May 10 thru 20, the Delegation is hosting three Listening Sessions. You are invited to participate while gaining information from our constituents of the Rio Texas Conference regarding proposals of General Conference. These sessions will be on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. A brief summary will be provided regarding what information / proposals fall within the listening session topic.

The Listening Sessions will cover the following topic areas:

·       April 5th        UMC Restructuring Related Proposals

·       April 12th       Human Sexuality and LGBTQI Proposals

·       April 19th       Global Discipline & Other Miscellaneous Topics

Learn more and register as a participant or presenter.

These Listening Sessions will all be conducted as a webinar via ZOOM – online video conferencing. There is no limit to the total number of participants for each session. Each session will be recorded and archived for later viewing.


Those registering as webinar participants will be able to see and hear the presentations and discussion. Depending on the number of participants and presentations, you may have the ability to ask questions through text-based Q&A or by audio and video. Upon registering, ZOOM connection information will be sent as a confirmation of registration.

Click on the session below to register as a participant. You will be redirected to the Zoom Webinar Page.


Love Your Neighbor Coalition

justlove_lynThe Love Your Neighbor Coalition consists of United Methodists committed to the embodiment of God’s love and justice within and through the people and mission of The United Methodist Church.  The core of our faith is found in Jesus’ response to the question “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” – to “love God with all our heart, soul (being) and mind” and to “love neighbor as self” (Matthew 22:36-40).  These hold ancient “law and prophets” together with our contemporary Book of Discipline, Social Principles, and Book of Resolutions.  Our mission is to assure The United Methodist Church is fully open to the presence, love and grace of God offered to all people.

LYNC is a coalition of thirteen partner organizations, and each has agreed to work together around the intersections of common justice issues and shared values.

For more information, see:

“It’s Time” – RMN Initiatives


ItsTime_solidBG-1080x646The Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) invites us to participate in the “It’s Time” campaign in preparation for GC2016.  Resources are available to help write letters to your delegates, share your stories, and more.

For more information, go to

Prayer Service for General Conference

prayerOn Sunday, April 24, at 3 p.m., Saint John’s UMC Austin will host a prayer service in its chapel to gather hopes and concerns before The United Methodist Church’s General Conference, meeting May 10-20 in Portland, Oregon. The hour-long service, which will be led by Rev. Paul Escamilla and includes Holy Communion, is open to United Methodists across the greater Austin community. It will provide opportunities to pray for the guidance of the Spirit as the conference deliberates on matters of the church’s theology and policies. Child care will be provided.

Documentary Screenings – An Act Of Love

act of love_Poster_3000_URL_RGB

First United Methodist Church of Austin

Wesley Hall

6:00 p.m. – Sunday, April 17

Free Admission

You are invited to a screening of An Act of LoveThis powerful film documents the trial that rocked the United Methodist Church and the minister, Rev. Frank Schaefer, who risked his career and identity as a UMC elder to officiate his son’s marriage to his longtime partner.

Our local church has ties to this movie. First United Methodist assisted in funding this project with special contributions from several members of our congregation. Rev. Schaefer also preached at our Reconciling Service a few years ago.

A discussion with Q&A will follow with Reconciling Ministries Network board member, David Mauzy.

The timing of our showing of this film is significant. In May 2016, the United Methodist Church’s General Conference will once again debate the questions of same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBTQ clergy. Even though the United States now recognizes the right of same-sex couples to marry, our denomination still struggles with these issues. We encourage you to attend this screening to inform yourself about the issues that are of national and denominational importance. If you are interested in attending the screening please send your RSVP to RMN Chair Trevor Harper at

Additional Screening of An Act of Love – San Antonio

Travis Park UMC

2:30 p.m.  Sunday, April 24



No Book Fair at Annual Conference this year

no booksRio Texas MFSA will again have a presence at the 2016 Annual Conference meetings in Corpus Christi June 9 – 12.  Because of policy changes this year, we will be limited to only one table for our displays in the Exhibit Hall.  We will continue to provide information at our booth about our organization and our activities.  And we will sponsor our Sixth Annual Peace and Justice Luncheon (see below).

As a result of limited space, however, we will not have a book fair as we have for the past 7 years.  Please find other meaningful places to donate your used religious and spiritual books.

Rio Texas Annual Conference – Peace & Justice Luncheon

Where do we go from here?

Reflections on General Conference 2016

Friday, June 10, 2016 – Noon

American Bank Convention Center – Watergarden A (upstairs)

Corpus Christi, Texas

Sixth Annual Peace & Justice Luncheon

Methodist Federation for Social Action, Rio Texas Chapter

Rio Texas Conference Transforming Communities Vision Team


We are pleased to have these four United Methodists share their perspectives about General Conference 2016.

JayBrim·       Jay Brim is a member of Westlake UMC-Austin who currently serves as Chancellor to the Bishops of the Rio Texas Conference. He is a lay delegate to GC 2016.


laura-merrill·       Rev. Laura Merrill is District Superintendent of the El Valle District in the Rio Texas Conference. She is a clergy delegate to GC 2016.


SteveClunn·       Rev. Steve Clunn is the coordinator of the Love Your Neighbor Coalition, a partnership of 13 United Methodist Church related Caucus groups working for a just, inclusive and grace filled denomination.


jarell·       Jarell Wilson is a United Methodist candidate for ordination and a May graduate from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. This is his first General Conference.


Join us for this on-site luncheon. In addition, we will honor the recipients of the MFSA “Building a Just Community” Awards.

Luncheon Cost: $12.00 in advance (by June 3); $15.00 at MFSA booth (limited number available)


Purchase tickets with credit card Here

See luncheon flyer at:

MFSA Sponsors One Human Race Workshop in April

one-human-race-workshops-87Rio Texas MFSA is sponsoring the One Human Race Series on three Saturdays in April (16th, 23rd, and 30th) at St. Luke UMC, 1306 West Lynn, Austin, 78703. We will meet once a week or three weeks to create a safe environment to communicate about race using the following resources:

·     Watch PBS Series: “Race: The Power of An Illusion” in one hour segments;

·     Participate in group discussions with trained group leaders;

·     Examine the American concept of race;

·     Share feelings and experiences with a goal of building community and common ground.

You do not have to attend all three sessions. If you miss a session, you can register for it later at another location. Contact Anne Mund,, if you have questions.

Registration Link:


We look forward to seeing you on April 16, 23, and 30th.

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

Georgetown: The Sarofim School of Fine Arts at Southwestern University presents Dead Man Walking, a play by Tim Robbins based on the best-selling memoir by Sister Helen Prejean.  Performances will take place April 15-17th and 21-24th, 2016 in the Jesse H. and Mary Gibbs Jones Theater (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday performances begin at 7:30PM and Sunday performances begin at 3:00PM).

A panel discussion/talkback will take place on Sunday, April 17th at 5:30 PM following the matinee performance.  Panelists include TCADP Executive Director Kristin Houlé, Bishop Joe A. Wilson, Retired, United Methodist Church, and former Nueces County District Attorney Grant Jones.  Purchase performance tickets here.

Austin: TCADP will hold a member luncheon on Tuesday, April 26th at noon at The Egg & I Restaurant (Northcross, 2525 W. Anderson Ln., Austin, 78757). More details coming soon.  All are welcome!

Houston: The Houston Chapter of TCADP will meet Tuesday, May 3rd at 7:00PM at the Central Market Community Room (3816 Westheimer @ Weslayan). This meeting will feature a special presentation by Kathryn Kase, the Executive Director of Texas Defender Service.  For more information, please click here

Sister Helen Prejean at Southwestern University

sister helen prejeanThe Roy and Margaret Shilling Lecture Series is pleased to welcome Sister Helen Prejean to campus on Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. The title of the lecture is “Dead Man Walking—The Journey Continues.”

Sister Helen Prejean has been instrumental in sparking national dialogue on the death penalty and helping to shape the Catholic Church’s newly vigorous opposition to state executions.  She travels around the world giving talks about her ministry.  She considers herself a southern storyteller.

Tickets to the Shilling Lecture are free and open to the public. They will be available through the Wm. Chris & Tina M. Mathers Box Office at 512-863-1378. (Priority will be given to students, faculty, staff and friends of Southwestern. Available on a first come, first served basis.)   Ticket pick-up starts at 5 p.m. on the day of the event at the Alma Thomas Fine Arts Center Jim and Pat Walzel Lobby. Doors open for seating at 6 p.m.

Sister Helen’s books Dead Man Walking and Death of Innocents will be on sale before and after the lecture. She will be available to autograph copies after the lecture. All proceeds benefit her Ministry Against the Death Penalty.

More information

Earth Day 2016


Earth Day Toolkit

Trees for the Earth

Register your Event

Find an Event in Your Area

Billion Acts of Green

Countdown to 2020

The movement continues.

We are now entering the 46th year of a movement that continues to inspire, challenge ideas, ignite passion, and motivate people to action.

In 1970, the year of our first Earth Day, the movement gave voice to an emerging consciousness, channeling human energy toward environmental issues. Forty-six years later, we continue to lead with groundbreaking ideas and by the power of our example.

And so it begins. Today. Right here and right now. Earth Day is more than just a single day — April 22, 2016. It’s bigger than attending a rally and taking a stand.

This Earth Day and beyond, let’s make big stuff happen. Let’s plant 7.8 billion trees for the Earth. Let’s divest from fossil fuels and make cities 100% renewable. Let’s take the momentum from the Paris Climate Summit and build on it.

Let’s start now. And let’s not stop.

– See more at:


BOPA Recycling at Crestview UMC

BOPABOPA (Batteries, Oil, Paint, Antifreeze) Recycling in our parking lot at Crestview UMC, 1300 Morrow on Saturday April 23, starting at 9 am. We’ll close at 11 am or when our trailers are full, whichever comes first. We are conducting this recycling drive in partnership with the Crestview Neighborhood Association. Bring Batteries, Oil, Paint and Antifreeze (the last three in closed containers). We can accept only these items! They will be taken to the city’s hazardous waste recycling depot. Just drive up, give your zip code (requested by the city) and volunteers will unload your vehicle.

A collection of electronic items will go on at the same time and place, to benefit Wooten Elementary School. Items can be working or non-working cables, circuit boards, computers, laptops, LCD screens, modems, monitors, motherboards, networking hardware, telecommunication equipment, telephones, cell phones, printer cartridges and toner cartridges, electronic games.

The Mask You Live In

maskScreening and panel discussion of the film THE MASK YOU LIVE IN


St. Andrews Presbyterian Church – Austin

Sunday, April 26, 2015  at 4:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary


In 2011, Jennifer Siebel Newsom debuted her first film, MISS REPRESENTATION, which delved into the dangerous ways mass media reflects and enforces our culture’s belief that the value of women and girls lies in their youth, beauty, and sexuality. In a similar approach, Siebel Newsom’s newest film, THE MASK YOU LIVE IN, takes a look at modern masculinity. What are the messages our boys and men receive from popular culture, sports, and the media? What happens to kids when the traits we’ve feminized are devalued over and over again? In this film, men from various backgrounds share the impact of their upbringing, relationships with their fathers, their struggles, and the deliberate choices they’ve made in raising their own children. Experts in the field, including authors, doctors, and educators, provide research as well as observations on the challenges men and boys face in our society’s unrealistic expectations of hyper-masculinity.

This project reveals how our current course of male identity needs to be altered.  Trailer:

Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT)

iact-HopeiACT’s Hope Awards

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Hope Awards celebration and fundraiser 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 interfaith dialogue program encourages meaningful conversations that matter.

This year iACT will be holding its biggest fundraiser, The Hope Awards, on Monday, May 2, 2016 at Congregation Agudas Achim.  The celebration will honor the Stewart Family – Liz, Duff, Adam, Noah, and Grace, and will highlight the work of Mt. Zion Baptist Church.


More information here.