MFSA Meeting on Thursday, November 9

PERSIST! – Racism in the United Methodist Church

The November meeting of the Rio Texas MFSA will be Thursday, November 9, at Saint John’s UMC Austin.  Continuing the yearlong PERSIST! theme, the speaker will be Dr. Barbara Finlay.  Dr. Finlay is a sociologist with degrees from Texas Tech, UT-El Paso, and the University of Florida and minors in history and religion.  In addition, she has a Master of Divinity degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.  Her career in academia included teaching at the University of Florida, Oregon State University, and Texas A&M, where she served for 26 years on the Sociology faculty.  The author of five books, Dr. Finlay has a particular interest and expertise in race and gender issues.  She retired from TAMU in 2008.  We hope you can join us for her revealing presentation.

We invite you to join us at Saint John’s UMC, 2140 Allandale Rd. in Austin for this special discussion. Contact Rowland Curry with questions.

For our San Antonio friends:  Susan Aguilar is offering a ride to Austin and back for the Nov 9 meeting with RSVP – Text or leave a message at 210-717-8604.

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

BOPA Recycling

BOPA Recycling Event – Crestview UMC – 1300 Morrow St, Austin

November 11, 9 -11am

BOPA Recycling will be offered in the Crestview parking lot on Saturday, November 11, from 9 -11 am or when the trailer is full, whichever comes first. Bring Batteries of all kinds, Oil, Paint and Antifreeze (the last three in closed containers). Crestview is conducting this drive with the Crestview Neighborhood Association.

Justice For Our Neighbors Fundraiser

Stand with Us!

3rd Annual Benefit Dinner

Sat, November 11, 2017

6:30 PM – 9:30 PM

Asian American Resource Center

8401 Cameron Road

Austin, TX 78754

Austin Region Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON Austin) is a non-profit law office, welcoming refugees and immigrants into our communities by providing free, high-quality immigration legal services, education, and advocacy.

In the last year, JFON Austin provided twelve Know Your Rights Information sessions and over 80 individual immigration legal consultations. We also represented 110 refugees and immigrant clients in 140 cases. Our core programs offer consultations, emergency preparedness, and immigration legal representation to immigrants across Central Texas. JFON Austin aims to strengthen our individual representation of clients and our education to the immigrant community regarding steps to mitigate harm to their families in the event of raids, detention, or removal.

We invite you to experience how JFON Austin keeps immigrant families together. We hope that you will be able to join us for this event!

Trinity Austin Celebrates 25 Years Reconciling

Tickets available now for our Anniversary Fundraiser

Join us for an evening with Bishop Karen Oliveto – the first openly gay bishop in the United Methodist Church. We’ll celebrate Trinity’s historic vote to become a Reconciling congregation with dinner, a silent auction – and even fun prizes for “best dressed.”

The Trinity community is a radically inclusive church in the heart of Austin, affiliated with the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ. For 25 years Trinity has been a leader in the movement to fully include those who identify as LGBTQ in the church.

In 1992, Trinity committed to be a radically inclusive community, and this evening is a fundraiser to help us continue that mission.

Join us Saturday, November 18th
at 6:00pm at the UT Alumni Center

Register using the link below, or if you have any questions or need a scholarship, email


Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

TCADP November 2017 Alert:
Lowest public support for death penalty in 45 years

In the November edition of the TCADP monthly newsletter, you’ll find information about scheduled executions, recent Gallup poll data, and the TCADP 2018 Annual Conference. You’ll also find a list of upcoming events in El Paso and San Antonio.

Continue reading 


Scheduled Executions
The State of Texas is scheduled to execute one person this month:

  • On November 8, Ruben Cardenas is scheduled to be put to death for the 1997 murder of Mayra Laguna in Hidalgo County. In accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, as a Mexican-national, Cardenas had the right to contact the Mexican consulate upon arrest. He was unaware of this right. As a result, he was interrogated and confessed without any form of legal representation.

Take action: Write letters to Governor Abbott and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to stop the execution of Ruben Cardenas. For talking points and case details from Amnesty International, click here.

Texas accounts for 6 out of the 21 executions nationwide thus far in 2017. Currently, there is one execution scheduled in Texas in December.

Attend a vigil in your community on the day of executions. Information and updates on cases are available on our website and through Facebook and Twitter.

Upcoming Events:

February 17, 2018: TCADP 2018 Annual Conference in Dallas Register Today!

Click here for more information on upcoming events

iACT Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

Join iACT for the 33rd Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

Sunday November 19, 2017
Service: 3:00 – 4:30pm

Riverbend Church
4214 N. Capital of Texas Hwy.
Austin, TX 78746

Reception: 4:30 – 5:30pm

Please bring your favorite dish, ready to serve and labeled
for those with dietary restrictions.
(No pork or shellfish please!)

Free, family-friendly and all are welcome!

Volunteers needed: If you can volunteer, please fill out this form.

Celebrate & Give Thanks as One Community


News from Texas Impact

 Texas Impact Joins Interfaith Coalition
in Amicus Brief to 5th Circuit on SB 4

Immigrants across Texas are withdrawing from religious and community life for fear of being targeted by immigration officials and putting their children in jeopardy.

Read More

Join Women from Across Texas to Engage Issues That Matter!Registration is Now Open for
United Methodist Women’s Legislative Event

JANUARY 28-30, 2018, Austin, Texas

Register by January 6, 2018 for the early-bird registration price.

Women ages 15-35 may qualify for a scholarship. Registration Form

Healthcare Message From MFSA

Healthcare is a Basic Human Right!

Over the last several months you have called, emailed, marched and tweeted your faithful support for healthcare access for all people. Thank you for your partnership in justice-seeking.

Our work is not over. Now we need to mobilize people of faith for a robust open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act. We need you to raise awareness about Open Enrollment and drive traffic to, assisters, navigators, and brokers, and community enrollment events.

Budgets for advertising these open enrollment periods have been drastically cut from 100 million dollars to ten million dollars, and the enrollment period has been reduced. This puts critical life-giving healthcare access in jeopardy for millions. We need people of faith and to educate our communities.

Here are some tangible ways you can help us get the word out!

Download this Toolkit with Faith Resources

The Interfaith Healthcare Coalition of which MFSA is a partner created this toolkit to provide strategies and templates for use in outreach to media and your community in order to raise awareness about Open Enrollment and drive traffic to, assisters, navigators, and brokers, and community enrollment events. Download the toolkit here. 

Social Media

Help us get the word out on social media by posting this email or tweeting the information below.

The Open Enrollment window for coverage beginning January 1, 2018: November 1 – December 15, 2017

Visit HealthCare.Gov, call 1-800-318-2596 or find in-person help at to shop for plans and sign up.

People of Faith Call In 

Encourage clergy and people of faith to join a call with US Rep. Clyburn on Monday, November 6 at 7:30pm. Rep. Clyburn will be hosting a call with clergy and people of faith around the country to talk about the importance of healthcare for people of faith and help people promote enrollment. The number will be 712-451-0436 with access code 845827. Please share to your networks so that those who are interested can engage in open enrollment.

Contact Us

Methodist Federation for Social Action
212 East Capitol St.NE
Washington, District of Columbia 20003
(202) 546-8806

GBCS Faith In Action Newsletter

Welcome to the Faith in Action newsletter, a biweekly update of Church and Society’s work pursuing peace, seeking justice and living faith.

Visit our website at for all the latest news. You’ll also find more information about the issues Church and Society is working on and ways for you to put your faith into action.

Christmas Bazaars and Markets!


Saint John’s UMC Austin

2140 Allandale Road


Saturday, December 2 – 10:00-3:00

Sunday, December 3 – Noon – 3:00

  • Shop handmade goods and crafts from international vendors
  • Support artisans worldwide earn a fair income
  • Gift cards support local charitie
  • Bake shop with home-baked treat


Buda UMC Christmas Bazaar  – November 18

United Methodist Women

Invite You to a Christmas Bazaar

8:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M.

United Methodist Women have been working hard making crafts all year long to sell for the benefit of our various mission projects locally and globally. Holiday and non-holiday items are available. Great place to shop for Christmas.

Prayer Shawl Ministry Holiday Bazaar
Wesley UMC 1164 San Bernard Street -Austin

November 11 @ 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Please join the Prayer Shawl Ministry for the 2nd Annual Holiday Bazaar.  Afghans, shawls, ponchos (women and girls), hats and scarves, earrings, jams and jellies will all be available for purchase. All of the items have been created/prepared by ministry members, and proceeds will go towards supporting the ministry in 2018. For additional information about the Prayer Shawl Ministry visit


Judicial Council Releases Decisions on LGBTQ-Related Items

by Reconciling Ministries Network | Oct 29, 2017 |

As The United Methodist Church Judicial Council gathered in Los Angeles last week, they examined three items related to LGBTQ people, among others on the docket. Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) and our allies have once again been in prayer since the closed meeting started, hoping that the Judicial Council would take a small step towards recognizing the gifts and graces that LGBTQ United Methodists bring to churches across the connection by issuing rulings that do not allow continued harm.

In this particular set of rulings released from the October docket, the Judicial Council has declared the following:

  1. Constitutional challenge on “incompatible with Christian Teaching” – The Denmark Conference’s question regarding the constitutionality of the “incompatible with Christian teaching” language in the Book of Discipline was untouched by the Judicial Council. They regarded the question itself outside of the authority of the Conference to ask and thus outside of the authority of the Council to rule upon. The language stands.
  2. Ruling of law in Baltimore-Washington – The Council affirmed the ruling of law from Bishop Latrelle Easterling of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference which declared that a clergy session cannot vote on a candidate for ministry that the Board of Ordained Ministry (BoOM) has not put forward for that annual conference session.
  3. Ruling of law in Iowa – The Council also affirmed the ruling of Bishop Laurie Haller in the Iowa Annual Conference who argued that it was not within her authority to reopen the complaint process completed by a prior Bishop against Rev. Anna Blaedel for being a “self-avowed practicing homosexual.”

Rev. Anna Blaedel reflected on the ruling by saying, “I am relieved to have this dehumanizing, disempowering process resolved, for now. However, I proudly remain a ‘self-avowed, practicing homosexual.’ I delight in my queerness, and my relationship with my beloved. I lament the use of loopholes to hide any aspect of queer life and love. Queer and trans people are sacred, holy, and fully compatible with Jesus’s teachings, ministry, and witness. Any practice, policy, loophole, or ruling that suggests otherwise is harmful and incompatible with God’s kin-dom.”

Jan Lawrence, Interim Executive Director of RMN, expressed gratitude that the Judicial Council affirmed the ruling in Iowa. She also said, “We rejoice that the Rev. Anna Blaedel no longer has the threat of a charge being reopened hanging over their head. While we celebrate with Anna, we are also saddened that the Judicial Council did not take up the constitutionality of ‘incompatible with Christian teaching’ question asked by Denmark and CalPac, and that the Judicial Council affirmed the ruling in Baltimore-Washington. It is disappointing that the church so faithfully served by LGBTQ United Methodists continues to do harm through its Judicial Council rulings.”

T.C. Morrow reflected on the rulings, “In continuing to respond to God’s call on our lives, my LGBTQ siblings and I follow Christ into all corners of the world and seek to encourage others to do the same.” Lawrence also added that, “It is the ministry of those who refuse to be denied their calling, like Rev. Anna Blaedel and T.C. Morrow, that inspires us to do the work that we do for affirmation and justice in the church.”

As always, the impact of the Judicial Council rulings remains in the hands of United Methodists across the connection. There is no way to simply receive and obey the laws of the church and remain faithful to the way of Jesus Christ as long as discrimination is embedded within the United Methodist Book of Discipline. It is the responsibility of each individual, church, board, and committee to decide how to be in ministry with all people according to Christ’s way of justice and liberation.

Though the church may attempt to “prevent” full inclusion through rulings and legislation, our faithfulness will prevent us from abiding by any rules that destroy! We carry on together in the work of freeing our church from prejudice and its LGBTQ members from being ruled upon as objects of law. We celebrate LGBTQ lives and loves and all who labor for the day when the church does the same.

Notes from Third Coast Activist


Date: November 10, 2017

Time: 7:00 pm  to  9:00 pm

James Croft—a leader of the Ethical Society of St. Louis, the largest Ethical Humanist congregation in the United States—will speak on “What Kind of World Do We Want to Live In and How Do We Get There?”

The event is sponsored by the Ethical Society Of Austin with partners Huston-Tillotson UniversityInterfaith Action of Central Texas – iACTCenter for Inquiry | Austin (CFI) and Austin Oasis. More information and RSVP online.

Location: Agard-Lovinggood Auditorium, Huston-Tillotson University, 900 Chicon St, Austin, 78702. Free parking across the street.


Date: November 12, 2017

Time: 2:30 pm  to  4:30 pm

The Austin chapter of Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee will show Tom Hayes’ documentary on Israel and Palestine, Two Blue Lines.

Shot over a period of 25 years, Two Blue Lines examines the human and political situation of Palestinian people from the years prior to the creation of Israel to the present day. By primarily featuring the narratives of Israelis whose positions run counter to their country’s official policy, the documentary provides a portrait of the ongoing conflict not often depicted in mainstream media.

Location: Texas State Employees Union, 1700 S 1st St, Austin, Texas 78704


Date: November 16, 2017

Time: 7:00 pm  to  9:00 pm

The 1917 Balfour Declaration, viewing “with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,” was a colonial intervention which had the effect of gradually displacing indigenous inhabitants of Palestine from their ancestral homes and led to the conflict we see today. This photo exhibit, presented by the Interfaith Community for Palestinian Rights of Austin, shows Palestinians in the early 1900’s, a fertile and thriving society, and again in 1948 and in 2017.

Location: Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3208 W. Exposition Boulevard, Austin, TX, 78703