MFSA Actions For January

There will be no traditional meeting in January.

Justice-seeking Christians will need to be active and involved in 2017, so join us at any or all of these activities in January – or the many others highlighted in this newsletter:

  • Texas Impact Advocacy Training January 8
  • Texas Tribune Symposium on Race and Public Policy, January 13-14
  • The MLK Marches in Austin, San Antonio, and other cities, January 16
  • The Women’s March on Texas, January 21
  • Other actions that promote justice and equality; we plan to provide alerts and updates for witness opportunities as they arise.

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

TCADP 2017 Annual Conference

tcadpThe TCADP 2017 Annual Conference – a must-attend event for anyone interested in ending the death penalty in Texas – will take place at St. David’s Episcopal Church in downtown Austin on Saturday, February 18, 2017.  Take advantage of pre-registration rates until February 8, 2017.

If you can’t join us for the full day, consider purchasing a ticket for our awards luncheon and keynote address by Brian Stolarz. Stolarz served as habeas corpus counsel to Alfred Dewayne Brown, who was exonerated in June 2015 after spending 10 years on Texas’ death row. Stolarz’s book about his relationship with Brown, Grace and Justice on Death Row: The Race Against Time and Texas to Free an Innocent Man, is a Washington Post best-seller.  Brown is the recipient of our 2017 Courage Award.

Here’s a preview of some of the workshop sessions we’ll be offering during the conference:

  • The national death penalty landscape
  • An in-depth look at wrongful convictions
  • Mobilizing networks to create change
  • Legislative advocacy
  • The intersection of mental health and the criminal justice system

Learn more about the conference, including details on our panelists, keynote speaker, sponsors, and award winners. Register today!

Featured events

January 10: 85th Texas Legislature convenes.  Stay tuned to TCADP for legislative updates.

January 16: TCADP will provide an information booth at the 24th Annual MLK Community Celebration in Austin at Huston-Tillotson University.  The festival will take place from 11 AM to 3 PM.  Email TCADP Communications Coordinator Vanessa Akins at if you would like to help with the booth.

January 16: TCADP members will march in the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade in Houston. For more information about the parade and celebration, please visit

January 24 and 25: Join the TCADP Lobby Corps as we deliver copies of the TCADP year-end report to all 180 legislative offices at the State Capitol.  A brief orientation session will take place at 9:30 AM both mornings in the Capitol Extension.  Email TCADP Executive Director Kristin Houle at to volunteer.

February 18: TCADP 2017 Annual Conference; St. David’s Episcopal Church in Austin; 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

MLK Commemoration in San Antonio

MLKOn Sunday, January 15, 2017, two historic congregations, Travis Park UMC and St. Paul UMC (San Antonio), will gather for one worship service at 10 am in Travis Park’s sanctuary. The featured speaker will be United Methodist Bishop Woody W. White (retired), a noted episcopal leader and an advocate for social justice and civil rights.

The worship service will honor the amazing life and witness of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and celebrate Human Relations Day with a special offering to help all of God’s children realize their full potential.

Bishop White is a retired bishop-in-residence at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. An active leader in the Civil Rights Movement, every January White writes a “birthday letter” to Martin Luther King, Jr., chronicling the strides and missteps in matters of race during the previous year. White has also written extensively for both popular and scholarly publications. Each year, White also takes seminary students to Selma, Alabama to participate in the annual march across Edmund Pettus Bridge in commemoration of Bloody Sunday.

The service precedes the city-sponsored MLK, Jr. Commission yearly march and commemorative program, which is held the following day, Monday, January 16. The march begins at 10:00 am at the MLK Academy located at 3501 MLK Drive, and ends at Pittman-Sullivan Park, 1101 Iowa.

San Antonio hosts the largest MLK, Jr. march in the nation, with approximately 300,000 participants. The parade is made up of families and individuals, corporate and non-profit organizations, schools, churches and civic groups, colleges and universities, and community members. For questions about the march, call 210.207.7084.

Marches Celebrate MLK Legacy

MLK marchThe Annual Community March celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy while uplifting diversity and multi-culturalism in our city. The MLK Community March kicks off on Monday, January 16, 2017 at 9 a.m. with a short program at the MLK Statue on the University of Texas campus.

We will then march to the south steps of the State Capitol for a short program and marchers will continue on to the historic Huston-Tillotson University, where exciting activities are planned. All businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals are invited to march and celebrate Dr. King’s legacy.

More information on the Austin events here.

Information on the San Antonio events here.

Austin Friends – Join Rio Texas MFSA at the MLK Statue and march to the Capitol with us!
Contact Janice Curry – with questions.

Women’s March on ATX


Women’s March – Austin, TX

Start: January 21, 2017 • 12:00 PM

Texas State Capitol

1100 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701

Host Contact Info:

Click to access dayofmarchv4.pdf

Saturday, January 21, noon – 3 p.m.

State Capitol, 1100 Congress Ave., Austin, 78701

This is a statewide companion rally to the Women’s March on Washington.

Its purpose is to “stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”  Male allies are welcome to participate!


Women’s March on Washington

(From event organizers, more information here.)

womens-marchOn January 21, 2017 we will unite in Washington, DC for the Women’s March on Washington. We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us–immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault—that our communities are hurting and scared.  We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.

In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new administration, Congress, Senate, State and Local governments on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.


We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society.  We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all. HEAR OUR VOICE.

Other “Sister Marches” in Texas in Brownsville, Denton, and El Paso…

Weekly Witness: Mondays At The Capitol

The 2017 legislative session promises to be a time of high stakes and hard choices.  It’s never been more important for people of faith to be informed and engaged.

Weekly Witness is your opportunity to put faith into action and advocate for the common good at a time when your state needs it!  Here’s the game plan:

Every Monday starting on January 16, Texas Impact will hold a short, focused advocacy training in a meeting room at the Capitol.  We–and often colleagues from our partner organizations–will present timely, insider information on a “focus issue of the day,” as well as updates and next steps on other issues that are on our legislative agenda.

Following the training, participants will make scheduled or unscheduled legislative visits with their own legislators and other key members, and sometimes attend committee meetings or take advantage of other timely opportunities.

Can’t make it to Austin every week–or ever?  Our trainings are broadcast live on Facebook, and our website will have handouts and advocacy materials like phone and email scripts and social media messages.

Sign up for Weekly Witness today!

Weekly Schedule:

  • January 9: Health Care
  • January 16: Civic Participation and Voting (Martin Luther King Day)
  • January 23: Hunger, Poverty and Payday Lending (UMW Legislative Event)
  • January 30: Religious Freedom
  • February 6: Immigrants, Refugees and Human Trafficking
  • February 13: Foster Care and Domestic Violence (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Legislative Event)

We will provide additional issues for emphasis in our next newsletter, or get them online.

Mens’ Musical

2017 Mens’ Musical

January 20 @ 7:15 pm – 8:30 pm

Enjoy an evening of musical performances by Austin area Men’s choirs and chorus groups.  This event is free and open to all.

Date:  January 20

Time:  7:15 pm – 8:30 pm

Wesley UMC

1164 San Bernard Street
Austin, TX 78702 United States + Google Map


Charles Murphy

Worship Design Workshop with Dr. Marcia McFee

The Worship Design Studio LIVE! 
with Dr. Marcia McFee

University UMC – Austin

On Saturday, January 21, worship designer Dr. Marcia McFee will present a workshop on how to create worship that is deeply fulfilling and meaningful in whatever context your church setting finds itself.

Dr. McFee is an author, worship designer and leader, professor, preacher and artist. Her engaging and interactive style has been called “refreshing,” “inspiring,” and “unforgettable.” Marcia combines her background and experience in professional companies of music, theater and dance with a variety of worship and preaching styles in order to bring a fresh experience of the Gospel to each worship setting. Marcia has provided worship design and leadership at numerous international and regional gatherings.

In this one day event we will  learn how to:

  • Creating Worship with Deep Soul
  • Thinking Like a Filmmaker
  • Using the Rhythms of Liturgy and Life
  • The Politics of Change
  • and more!

All pastors, worship leaders, worship planners, and directors are invited to attend this one day event.

Register Now!

The Red Bench: Grace

redbench_logo-300x79Join us on Tuesday January 31 for a courageous conversation on the topic of Grace

at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

If you plan to attend, please RSVP

6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

From Third Coast Activist…


Date: January 19, 2017

Time: 6:00 pm  to  8:00 pm

The Citizens Climate Lobby is sponsoring an open-ended discussion on climate change over beverages and food at ABGB. Gather at the Earth photo at a table at the south end, and bring a question or topic to put on the discussion list. The climate group is buying the first pitcher of beer and cheese pizza.

For more information, contact Jeff Baker , or (512) 751-2154.

Location: Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co., 1305 West Oltorf, Austin, 78704



Date: January 19, 2017

Time: 6:30 pm  to  9:00 pm

The Austin LGBT Bar Association, UT Outlaw, Equality Texas, AGLCC, and ACLU are sponsoring an evening of speakers and conversation to discuss LGBT advocacy in the new political environment.

Location: Eidman Courtroom, University of Texas School of Law, 727 E Dean Keeton St., Austin, 78705



Date: January 19, 2017

Time: 7:00 pm  to  9:00 pm

The documentary “A Plastic Ocean” examines the devastating effects of plastic on the world’s oceans. The film is narrated and directed by journalist Craig Leeson and produced by Adam Leipzig, former president of National Geographic Films.

The Surfrider Foundation Central Texas Chapter

will host the screening. More details and tickets online. Tickets need to be purchased by January 12 to ensure the screening.

Location: Alamo Draft House Slaughter Lane, 5701 W. Slaughter Lane, Austin, 78749



Date: January 26, 2017

Time: 8:30 pm  to  10:00 pm

The Austin Sanctuary Network, a group of 20 faith communities and organizations that supports asylum-seekers fleeing violence, will host a benefit concert featuring singer/songwriter Carrie Newcomer and pianist Gary Walters Tickets are $22 and can be purchased online. Childcare available.

For more information, contact Richard (512) 917-6018,

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



Date: February 3, 2017

Time: 7:00 pm  to  9:00 pm

The First Unitarian Universalist Church’s Green Sanctuary Committee will screen the documentary “Sand Wars,” which details how the worldwide construction boom fueled by emerging economies and increasing urbanization has led to intensive sand extraction on land and in the oceans, with damaging environmental impacts.

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



Cover Texas Now

Earlier this month, leaders from the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to all governors and state insurance commissioners requesting input on potential changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid. The U.S. Senate Committee on Finance sent a separate letter seeking similar input to members of the Republican Governor’s Association.

As Congress prepares to take up federal health care laws, the Cover Texas Now coalition submitted a detailed letter to Governor Abbott, and Texas Insurance and Health and Human Services Commissioners Mattax and Smith, urging them to voice support for policies that will create a more stable, affordable, and high-quality health care system that builds on recent progress, while making improvements.

Cover Texas Now is opposed to:

  • Congress repealing the ACA without simultaneously passing a replacement plan that would ensure no loss of coverage or loss of consumer protections, and
  • Congress fundamentally altering and reducing federal funding for Medicaid, either through a block grant or per capita cap.

Cover Texas Now is a coalition of consumer and faith-based organizations that desire to see the state of Texas implement a sustainable health care system and provide quality affordable health coverage to its citizens.

From The League Of Women Voters

League of Women Voters:  STOP VOTER SUPPRESSION

Across the country, there has been a concerted effort in many states to stop some voters from voting, or to make it much harder for them to participate – and  there promises to be more to come in 2017. Legislators and election officials have purged existing voters from the rolls, made cuts to early voting, reduced polling places, put in place strict voter photo ID laws and levied onerous voter registration restrictions.

All of these actions have been made easier by the Supreme Court’s decision to gut key provisions of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. The 2016 election was the first presidential election in 50 years without full protection of the right to vote.

The League remains committed to fighting suppression tactics that threaten our democracy and the right to vote. In addition, throughout 2016, the League worked to make sure voters impacted by new laws were aware of these restrictions. In Ohio, the League made thousands of phone calls to inform voters about that state’s purge. In Virginia, the League conducted outreach so voters knew how the state’s new voter photo ID law might affect them. In Kansas, the League fought tirelessly to protect the rights of voters caught in the crosshairs of the state’s illegal and discriminatory attempts to restrict voter registration Across the country, thousands of League volunteers served as non-partisan poll observers, staffed voter protection hotlines, and made sure get-out-the-vote phone banks reached as many voters as possible.

The League is gearing up to take a stand in Congress, statehouses and courtrooms nationwide to ensure no voters are left behind. Stand with the League in our fight to ensure our elections are always free, fair, and accessible.

iACT Passport Program

passport-front-coverThank you for your interest in the Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT) Passport Program!  We invite you to join us on this journey which will go on for the next 12 months, and will give participants the opportunity to travel to the houses of worship and various community celebrations of many different faith traditions.

By the end of the year, all Passport Program participants will have had twelve opportunities to visit different congregations and four separate opportunities to attend community celebrations.  Those who attend will earn a stamp in their iACT Passport book for each visit.

It is our hope that exposure and interaction amongst people of diverse faith traditions, cultures, and institutions will help build a deeper understanding and appreciation for all of our neighbors in communities across Austin.  Please check this page regularly for updates on where the next Passport destination will be!

Upcoming Passport Destination:

Service at Triumphant Love Lutheran Church on Sunday January 22, 2017

UMW Legislative Event in January

Join United Methodist Women from all over Texas in Austin for three days of learning, engagement, and advocacy. The UMW Legislative Event is an informative and inspiring event that is right here in Austin, January 22-24, 2017. You can attend all three days or any part of the event. The 2017 keynote speakers are the Hon. Leticia Van de Putte and the Hon. Hope Andrade!

The event includes workshops on the environment, health, poverty, and social media for civic engagement; strategy meetings by Senate district; presentations on state budget priorities, addressing poverty, protecting religious freedom, displaced people, and caring for creation; and legislative visits to the Capitol.

29th Annual Legislative Event


Program planned and produced by Texas Impact

JANUARY 22-24, 2017

Austin, Texas

The Way Texas Works

Join Women from All Around the State
To Engage Issues That Matter

Register at: