MFSA Meeting on Thursday, March 9

Under The Gun

Join Rio Texas MFSA on Thursday, March 9 at Saint John’s UMC, 2140 Allandale Rd. for a presentation and discussion on gun violence.  Andrea Brauer, the Executive Director of Texas Gun Sense will introduce Lonnie and Sandy Phillips, whose daughter was killed in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre.

Together we will watch the documentary film “Under The Gun”, which examines the events and people who have kept the gun debate fierce and the progress slow, even as gun deaths and mass shootings continue to increase.  Through the lens of families impacted by the mass shootings in Newtown, Aurora, Isla Vista and Tucson, as well as those who experience daily gun violence in Chicago, the documentary looks at why politicians are finding it difficult to act and what is being done at the state and local levels.  The film is executive produced and narrated by Katie Couric and directed by Stephanie Soechtig.

Join us at 6:30p for snacks.  The program begins at 7p.  All are welcome.

Advocacy and Resistance Events from Progress Texas

Since the new administration has come into power, Texans across the state are taking peaceful action to stand up for social justice issues — we have come together, resisting the politics of fear and hate. We have seen a regressive legislative agenda in Texas in the past, but it seems even more harmful this year.

Join the resistance and show the opponents in our Capitol this session that they don’t represent our values. Find an issue that’s important to you and register for an advocacy and resistance event (and tell your friends):

Cover Texas Now Advocacy Day 2017

Monday, March 6 at 11:00 AM

Join health care advocates from across Texas on March 6 at 11 am at the Texas Capitol to advocate for health care for all Texans! Urge lawmakers to:

  • Defend the progress we’ve made under the Affordable Care Act;
  • Protect Medicaid for low-income children, seniors, pregnant women, and Texans with disabilities; and
  • Insist on expanding health coverage to the uninsured

Learn more about Advocacy Day, and RSVP to attend, here. If you can’t make it to Austin on March 6, but you’d still like to make an impact, please consider a $5 or $10 donation today, to help pay for the buses and meals to bring supporters to the Capitol. You can donate to Cover Texas Now’s campaign here

Transgender Advocacy Day at Texas Capitol

Monday, March 6 at 7 AM -7 PM

Girl Advocacy Day

Monday, March 13 at 9 AM – 1 PM

All In For Equality Advocacy Day in Austin

Monday, March 20 at 7 AM – 7 PM

Planned Parenthood Texas Lobby Day 2017

Wednesday, April 5 at 9 AM- 9 PM

Blue Ribbon Lobby Day 2017

April 10 at 8:30 AM – 6 PM

March for Science

Saturday, April 22 at 10 AM – 1 PM

MFSA at the Rio Texas Annual Conference

Rio Texas MFSA will provide witness for Social Justice once again at the Rio Texas Annual Conference in Corpus Christi, June 7 – 9, 2017.  We will sponsor the 7th Annual Peace and Justice Luncheon on Thursday, June 8, at noon.  We are excited that our luncheon speaker will be John Hill, Assistant General Secretary of Advocacy and Organizing for the UMC General Board of Church and Society.

Also, our Book Fair will return this year!  Contact to donate gently used religious or spiritual books for this MFSA event.

Look for more information in our next newsletter!

One Human Race

12:30-3:30, March 11, 18, and 25
First United Methodist Church – Austin
1300 Lavaca Street

12:30-3:30, May 13, 20, and 27
Saint John’s UMC – Austin
2140 Allandale Rd.

Attendance is free, but registration is required.

Reserve your spot today at

One Human Race

iACT Red Bench

The Red Bench: Mental Health
Join us on Tuesday March 28 for a courageous conversation on
the topic of Mental Health at Greater Mt. Zion Baptist Church
If you plan to attend, please RSVP

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

SCOTUS Rules Duane Buck Entitled to New Sentencing Hearing in Texas Racial Bias Death Penalty Case

(Washington, D.C., February 22, 2017) Today, in a 6-2 decision in Buck v. Davis, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Texas death row prisoner Duane Buck, who was sentenced to death after a Houston jury heard false and unconstitutional testimony from a defense “expert” that Mr. Buck was more likely to be a future danger because he is Black. Today’s ruling means Mr. Buck will either be resentenced to life imprisonment, or receive a new sentencing hearing untainted by racial bias.

See more.

March 28: Join TCADP and Texas Impact at the State Capitol in Austin for our second Faith Leader Advocacy Day on the Death Penalty.  Together, we will make sure legislators hear the loud and growing chorus of voices in opposition to the death penalty. Register online today.

Executions Scheduled in 2017
John Ramirez – Stay granted
March 7: Rolando Ruiz
March 14: James Bigby
April 12: Paul Storey
May 16: Tilon Carter
May 24: Juan Castillo

June 28: Steven Long
July 19: Kosoul Chanthakoummane

Justice For Our Neighbors

Austin Region JFON has announced that Virginia Raymond will be the new ARJFON legal director.

“We expect Virginia to be a very capable leader.  In addition to having years of legal experience in the immigration field, Virginia also has a diverse educational and professional background.  In addition to her law degree, Virginia has an MA and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas Department of English.  In addition to practicing law, she also taught at UT, St. Edwards, and Austin Community College, among others.

We’re very excited about all that Virginia brings to JFON.”

Free Store / Common Good Community Development

The Free Store is back!

The Free Store found a new home at Memorial UMC, 6100 Berkman Drive, Austin.  On Wednesday, March 8, we’ll have our first shopping day in the new space.

You can follow all the news about the Free Store’s relocation at our website:

From District Lay Leader Brooks Schuelke:  When we started the Free Store, we never wanted it to be a ministry by itself.  Instead, we created Common Good Community Development, Inc.  We imagined it as a hub and spoke type arrangement.  Common Good was the hub. The Free Store was the first spoke, but it was never intended to be the only spoke.

Over the years, we’ve been approached by a number of different groups with different ideas about how they could also partner with Common Good and the Free Store.  Up until now, we’ve not found the right fit.

Until now.

I am happy to say that our first real partner, and the next spoke in our hub, is the Hope Food Pantry.

Many of you are already familiar with the Hope Food Pantry.  It’s housed in Trinity and is supported by a number of our churches throughout the district.

In many ways, nothing will change.  Hope Food Pantry will continue to operate as it has.

But our working and coordinating together also brings endless possibilities of how Hope and the Free Store can work together.  We don’t know exactly what that will look like, but we’re all excited about the future.

To learn more about us, visit our website:

Texas Impact 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.

Texas Impact 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 at noon starting on January 16, Texas Impact will hold a short, focused advocacy training in Murchison Chapel at First United Methodist Church, Austin. 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.

Weekly Witness will take place in Murchison Chapel at First United Methodist Church, Austin (directions).

Check out the 2017 Texas Impact Legislative Priorities –

Weekly Schedule:

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

Alms and Advocacy

Texas Impact serves as a resource to bridge the gap between you and your neighbors across the state. Through our Weekly Witness briefings, our Lobby Days at the Capitol, our Rapid Response Calls-to-Action, and more, we provide concrete ways for you to make a difference.

For the next forty days, join Texas Impact in our 2017 Lenten initiative “Alms and Advocacy.” Each day, we’ll be posting seasonal prayers, reflections and legislative calls to action on our Facebook page. We hope you’ll make use of these resources in your own Lenten discipline, and that you find advocacy for God’s children to be a meaningful addition to your spiritual practice. To commemorate the Lenten discipline of charitable giving, we encourage you to support our work financially as well.

Alms and Advocacy will culminate in Texas Interfaith Advocacy Day on April 20. Join people of all faiths at the Capitol to learn about the Legislature and advocate for issues that matter to you.

Hope Food Pantry

Join us on Sunday, April 2, 2017, 5:30p.m., Trinity Church of Austin for a dinner and silent auction to support the pantry and its mission to help alleviate hunger in our community.  Tickets will go on sale in February/March 2017.

If you have a silent auction item to contribute please contact Stephanie at email below.

Other ways to help:
1. Volunteer once a month or more on Thursday or Friday a.m.
2. Coordinate a Food Drive through a group/work/community.
3. Randall’s Remarkable card holders: place #3830 on your card and donate to Hope.  A Randall’s employee can help you.

Contact: Stephanie at