2018-2019 Rio Texas MFSA Theme

Addressing Systemic Injustice

Inside and Outside the Church

MFSA Monthly Meeting Thursday, September 13

A Special General Conference of the United Methodist Church will meet in February 2019 in an attempt to resolve the denomination’s differences over homosexuality.  This summer, the Love Your Neighbor Coalition (which includes MFSA and RMN) met at a convocation – For Everyone Born – that included planning the coalition’s witness at the Special GC.  At our meeting on Thursday, September 13, we will hear from Rev. Nancy Mossman, who attended the convocation and will report her impressions and the plans that are being made for witness by those supporting an inclusive church.

More than a dozen MFSA supporters from Austin have expressed their intent to travel to St. Louis for the Special GC in February.  We will discuss plans and needs for that important and historic witness in the life of the denomination.

Location:  Saint John’s UMC, 2140 Allandale Road, with snacks and mingling at 6:30p and the program at 7p.  All are welcome!  Hope to see you there!

Important Discussion at University UMC Austin


Sunday, September 16, 12:15 p.m.
University United Methodist Church (UUMC) Fellowship Hall
2409 Guadalupe St. Austin, TX 78705

In February 2019, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church will have a called special session to determine the future shape of the global United Methodist Church.  Our Council of Bishops have recommended a plan, drafted by the “Commission on a Way Forward” called the “One Church Plan.”  If adopted, this plan will create a step forward towards full inclusion of the LGBTQ community while at the same time allowing for theological differences to continue to coexist.  Leah Taylor, a University of Texas alumni and a Senior Representative for Texas Methodist Foundation was on the Commission that drafted the “One Church Plan.”  In her local church Leah served as Chair or Trustees, a member of Staff Parish and Administrative Council and is the former Lay Leader for the South Central Jurisdiction.

Also joining us for the discussion will be Jay Brim, former Lay Leader of the Rio Texas Annual Conference and a member of Westlake UMC in Austin.  He has been Chancellor of the Rio Texas Conference since 2016 and is a delegate to the called General Conference in 2019 in St. Louis.

All are invited to join your pastors, Leah Taylor and Jay Brim for lunch as we discuss and answer important questions about this plan.  What is it? How will it affect us?  How can we support this plan?  What are the alternative plans being presented to the General Conference and why would they be harmful to the UMC?

Donations will gratefully be accepted to cover the cost of the food.

Register: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07efmztk6gb83b6b86&oseq=&c=&ch=

Peoples Climate Movement March


Join us on Saturday, September 8 at a Peoples Climate Movement march near you! Learn more and RSVP today.

WHAT: Peoples Climate Movement, Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice marches

WHEN: Saturday, September 8, 2018 *please note, some marches are taking place on different dates

WHERE: A city or town near you (find the closest event here)

This important march will come after a summer that saw record heat waves, historic wildfires, massive flooding, and countless other impacts from worsening climate change. This summer, the effects of climate change are not so subtle.

The September 8 marches will take place just four days before the start of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

So, in the lead up to this pivotal event — a moment that could change the face of and the fight for climate action — it’s especially important to stand together and show our elected officials that we will continue fighting for a just and sustainable future to protect the health and well-being of generations to come.

Sign up for a Peoples Climate Movement march near you on September 8.

Whether you’ll be with us at the flagship march in San Francisco or at a sister march in your city or town, September 8 will be an opportunity to show the administration, fossil fuel companies, and their allies in Congress that we are resilient, we are resolute, and we won’t allow them to destroy the progress we’ve made in combating climate change. We hope to see you there!

Common Ground for Texans

“Advocating positive solutions through civil engagement”

At our next meeting, on Saturday, Sept. 8, join us for a discussion with Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir, the head county official for elections.  A new voting system called ExpressVote was recently approved by Travis County Commissioners and is expected to be ready by November 2019.  Learn about this system’s features and why it was selected.

In a recently published report, Texas earned a grade of “D” for election security. How will the new system affect this grade, and what else can we do to improve it?  What are the risks we face this year from election hacking?  Come and listen to Dana DeBeauvoir explain her perspective on these issues.

Election Security in Texas

When: Sat, Sep 8, 2018, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Where: Old Quarry Branch, Austin Public Library, 7051 Village Center Dr, Austin, TX 78731 (map)

We hope to see you there!

The event is sponsored by Common Ground for Texans, a nonpartisan nonprofit based in Austin.

Austin Interfaith

Central Texas Interfaith

Action Agenda Assembly

Sunday, September 9th 2:00 – 4:00 pm

St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, 8724 Travis Hills Dr., Austin TX 78735


Central Texas Interfaith is an initiative of Austin Interfaith, an alliance of 37 congregations, public schools, labor unions, and social service agencies in Central Texas.  Our purpose is to train leaders to organize their communities around addressing common concerns such as poor street conditions, living wage jobs, and access to health care.

At this assembly, we will develop our agenda of actionable issues based on concerns raised in small group discussions across Western Travis County that will guide our organizing efforts and a non-partisan voter engagement campaign. If you have an interest in working with your neighbors to advance practical political solutions to common issues, please join us!

A light meal will be provided. Please RSVP: cleal.austininterfaith@gmail.com or 210.508.8516

From Texas Impact

RUN LIKE THE DEVIL, by award-winning independent film-maker Stephen Mims, documents the 2018 US Senate race between Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke.

A non-partisan deep dive that goes beyond the political campaigns, the film threads the stories of the candidates with those of their respective political parties during a historic period of national political tumult.

Participants include O’Rourke, Cruz, Evan Smith (Editor, Texas Tribune) Mark McKinnon (political consultant), David Richards (Ann Richard’s ex-husband and redistricting litigator) Bob Moore (former editor, El Paso Times) and Texas Impact’s own Josh Houston.


Courts & Ports

Witness with Texas Impact’s Border Initiative

Recently, Texas Impact staff and volunteers traveled to the border to witness the ongoing catastrophe of detention and deportation.

Now we’re inviting you to come with us on a two-day trip to the Rio Grande Valley to experience the crisis on the border for yourself–and return to share your experiences with your congregation and community.

Texas Impact’s Courts & Ports program features two full days of programming. Attendees will be trained by the ACLU and serve as court observers in federal court; receive a briefing from local advocates; visit a respite home for asylum-seekers; cross the bridge to stand with asylum-seekers attempting to enter the US; and participate in worship and discussion about the theological and practical implications of our nation’s current immigration policies.

To register for Courts & Ports or for more information, contact Project Coordinator Erica Nelson at erica@texasimpact.org.


Texas Freedom Network

Wesley Choir Celebration

The Wesley Intergenerational Choir
41 years of discipleship.

My Grateful Heart Sings

September 23, 2018
4:00 p.m.

Habitat for Humanity

Austin is in a housing crisis.
Everyone knows it. Everyone feels it.

This is why we have come together in partnership with Foundation Communities, Meals on Wheels Central Texas, LifeWorks Austin, Caritas of Austin, HousingWorks Austin and Keep Austin Affordable to advocate for what can be one of the biggest investments in our community for generations: the Affordable Housing Bond.

“Affordable Housing Bond” may sound complicated and over the next few months, you’ll see and hear us talking about it a lot. We’ve put together FAQs that you can use to become informed and to better understand why we are advocating for this — Proposition A — to be voted into effect.

Sign up for our advocacy list to stay up-to-date with the Bond and how you can get involved.


NAMI Walks Austin


When:             September 29, 2018

Distance:       5k

Location:     The Long Center Austin, TX


NAMI Austin
P.O. Box 302398 | Austin, TX 78703
Christina Schneider
Community Relations Coordinator
512-420-9810 Ext 1006


On behalf of Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT), we cordially invite you to our fall fundraiser A Night Under One Sky on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at UMLAUF Scuplture Garden and Museum at 6:30pm. Join us for a night of music, dinner and dialogue in celebration of the relationships we have, and those we hope to build. Over the past year, events in our world have shined a light on the vital importance of iACT’s mission: to cultivate peace and respect through interfaith dialogue, service and celebration. Let us come together to appreciate our unity.  http://interfaithtexas.org/anuos/




The Red Bench: 

Divine Presence


Join us at 6:30pm on Tuesday, September 25 for a courageous conversation on the topic of Divine Presence at First Baptist Church of Austin (901 Trinity St, Austin, TX 78701).

If you plan to attend, please RSVP





Our next big housing repair project will be Raise the Roof on Saturday, October 20, 2018. We will be painting and doing minor repair work to a number of homes in Austin. If you are ready to register a team for this event, please fill out this form. If you would like to volunteer for this event as an individual, there is no need for you to register. Simply show up at our sheds (701 Tillery Street, 78702, very back of complex right by the dumpsters) on October 20 for a half day or full day of volunteering. Full day: arrive between 8am and 8:30am. Half day: arrive between 1 and 1:30pm.  We will have waivers there for you to sign and will administer your project address in person

Texas Gun Sense

Vice News has released “Fear and Loading: Women and Guns in America“.  The piece was filmed in Austin in April during the week of the National School Walkout.  The Vice team traveled to Texas to explore both sides of the gun issue from the perspective of women.  Interviews included Texas Gun Sense board member and gun violence survivor, Susan R. Nelson, a group of women at a “Girls and Guns” conference and the Austin students who organized the National School Walkout at the Texas Capitol.

We are grateful to our supporters and for all you do.   Texas Gun Sense is ready to fight for common sense gun laws during the upcoming legislative session.   Please consider a one-time or sustaining donation today – the work we do relies on the generous support of donors like you.

Texas Gun Sense is a statewide nonprofit and nonpartisan organization advocating for common sense, evidence-based policies to reduce gun injuries and deaths.   For more information, visit www.txgunsense.org.

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

The State of Texas has put eight individuals to death this year, accounting for more than half of the executions nationwide and surpassing the total number of people put to death in 2017.  There are currently seven additional executions scheduled to take place in Texas through December.

According to the Texas Tribune, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) recently purchased 15 new doses of pentobarbital, the drug used in lethal injections.  In June, the Texas Supreme Court declined to overturn a lower court ruling that a pharmacy that supplied drugs to TDCJ in 2014 must be revealed under the state’s public information law.  The state has filed a motion for rehearing.

Executions Scheduled in 2018

September 12: Ruben Gutierrez
September 26: Troy Clark
September 27: Daniel Acker
October 10: Juan Segundo
October 24: Kwame Rockwell
November 7: Emanuel Kemp
December 4: Joseph Garcia

In case you missed it

Former prosecutor, committee chairman supports abolition
State Representative Joe Moody, who represents House District 78 in El Paso and serves as the Chairman of the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, recently published a powerful opinion piece explaining why he has “moved from longtime support of capital punishment to the moral certainty that it’s time for Texas to abolish the death penalty.”

The piece has been published in the Texas Tribune (TribTalk), the El Paso Times, and the Austin-American Statesman.  Thank Representative Moody for his leadership by emailing him at joe.moody@house.texas.gov or posting a supportive comment on one of the media outlets listed above.

September 12: Public lecture by exoneree Anthony Graves, University of Incarnate Word, San Antonio.  Download the flier.

From Third Coast Activist


Date: September 6, 2018

Time: 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm

Starting on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, as the community grapples with the death of Michael Brown, “Do Not Resist” offers a look at the current state of policing in America and a glimpse into the future.

The screening, which begins at 6:30 pm and will be followed by a discussion, is part of the “Controversy & Conversation” series, a collaboration between the Austin Public Library and the Humanities Institute’s Difficult Dialogues Program at the University of Texas. More information online.

Location: Austin Public Library, Terrazas Branch, 1105 East Cesar Chavez St., Austin, 78702



Date: September 12, 2018

Time: 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Even as the horror of family separations fades from the news, hundreds of immigrants children are still separated from their parents and the Trump administration is moving forward with plans to build new prisons for asylum-seeking families.

Panelists will include state Sen. Sylvia Garcia, attorney Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch, Grassroots Leadership Immigration Programs Director Claudia Muñoz, and editor Forrest Wilder and immigration reporter Gus Bova from the Texas Observer. More information on the Facebook event page.

Location: Central Presbyterian Church, 200 E. 8th St., Austin, 78701



Date: September 15, 2018

Time: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

A coalition of nonpartisan organizations will host a “Texas Counts: Census 2020 Workshop” to highlight the need for an accurate resident count in 2020. Speakers will include Austin Mayor Steve Adler, demographer Ryan Robinson, and Rebecca Briscoe from the US Census Bureau.

Census-derived data is the basis for political representation under the U.S. Constitution, determining the number of Texas representatives in Congress. Policymakers use census data to identify community needs and to distribute federal program dollars to states and localities.

For more info, contact Joanne Richards, joanne@cg4tx.org, or Maria Milner, maria@vocestejas.org.

Location: Agard-Lovinggood Administration Building, Huston-Tillotson University, 900 Chicon St, Austin, 78702



Date: October 16, 2018

Time: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

A panel on “Climate Change, Extreme Weather Events, and Inequality” will feature Eric Klinenberg, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, followed by reactions from local speakers. Klinenberg is the author of Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago and Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life.

The program is sponsored by the University of Texas Humanities Institute’s Difficult Dialogues program and Planet Texas 2050, an interdisciplinary collaboration and research around climate change, extreme weather, population, and resource management. RSVP online.

Location: Texas Union, Quadrangle Room, University of Texas, Austin