November 14 Meeting – The Future of the UMC

Petitions have already been filed to make changes in the United Methodist Church at the 2020 General Conference.  We will discuss some of those proposals at our meeting on Thursday November 14.  Rev. Hilary Marchbanks, Jay Brim, Joy Butler, and Rowland Curry will describe some of the proposals, as well as what we can be doing in our churches between now and May 2020.  Join us to learn more about the challenging future in our denomination!

The meeting will be at Saint John’s United Methodist Church, at 2140 Allandale Road in Austin.

Snacks and mingling begin at 6:30 pm, followed by the program at 7 pm.

Discussions Ramp Up in Preparation for GC 2020

In February 2019 the United Methodist Church, assembled in St. Louis at a special General Conference, adopted the Traditionalist Plan which strengthened the anti-LGBTQ stance of the denomination.  In the months since, there has been intense discussion about the future of the church.  Several groups have drafted plans dealing with changes to the denomination’s laws, the Book of Discipline.  In May 2020, the global UMC will have a General Conference in Minneapolis where it will consider further changes.

If you are interested in the discussions about the future of our denomination, stay alert!

Progressive Resources:

United Methodist News Service:

Mainstream UMC:

UMC Next:

Hacking Christianity:

UM Insight:

UM Forward:

Judicial Council Meets

The United Methodist Judicial Council met last week and issued decisions on a number of cases before them.  Legislation setting special provisions for United Methodist churches deciding to leave the denomination took effect immediately at the end of the special General Conference last February, the church’s top court has ruled.
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Mainstream UMC Meets With Central Conference Bishops

Mainstream UMC Co-Founders, Rev. Dr. Nanette Roberts and Rev. Dr. Mark Holland, were able to bring their appeal for a moratorium on trials directly to Bishops from the central conferences (those outside the US) on Friday November 1.  Fifteen of the central conference Bishops from Africa, Europe, and the Philippines gathered just ahead of the full Council of Bishops (COB) meeting that began Sunday in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina.
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COB President Suggests Moratorium on Church Trials

UMC Council of Bishops president Kenneth H. Carter suggests a moratorium on church trials related to LGBTQ individuals, while at the same time loosening the denomination’s trust clause to allow congregations to leave with property.
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New Jersey Annual Conference Charts Way Forward

By an overwhelming majority, the Greater New Jersey Conference in a special session on October 26 voted to allow United Methodist churches to decide how to include and affirm LGBTQ people in every aspect of ministry while still allowing congregations the right to agree to disagree.
Read More


Austin JFON Gala













Sunday, November 10, 2019

5:30 PM – 7:30 PM CST

Crowne Plaza Austin

6121 North Interstate Highway 35

Austin, TX 78752

Purchase tickets here!

iACT Interfaith Day of Thanks

Join iACT’s 35th Interfaith Day of Thanks!

You are invited to join iACT for our 35th Interfaith Day of Thanks Service and Celebration!  This year’s event is hosted by the Austin Hindu Community and will be held at Riverbend Church (4214 N Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin, TX 78746).  The service and celebration will take place on Sunday, November 24, 2019 beginning at 3:00pm.  A reception will be held following the service at 4:30pm.  Bring your favorite dish to share, ready to serve and labeled for those with dietary restrictions. (No pork or shellfish please!)

This event is free and open to the public.  We look forward to coming together with all people as we celebrate what it is we are thankful for.

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Around Austin

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is November 16-24, 2019

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, sponsored by the National Coalition for the Homeless, is an annual program where people come together across the country to draw attention to the problems of hunger and homelessness. Participating groups spend the week holding a series of educational, service, fundraising, and advocacy events.

Did you know?

In the United States

Many Americans are living on the edge, forced to choose between basic necessities like purchasing food, paying rent, or going to the doctor.

43.1 million – Americans live below the poverty level

549,000 Americans are homeless on a typical night

42 million Americans are at risk of suffering from hunger

1 in 5 children in the U.S. live in poverty


While there has been slow but steady progress over the past thirty years, there are still a tremendous number of people around the world who live in extreme poverty.

795 million people do not have enough to eat

767 million people live on $1.90 a day or less

6 children die each minute of a hunger-related disease

65.3 million refugees have been driven out of their homes

What You Can Do

As a society, we have the resources and knowledge to end hunger and homelessnesss — we just need the collective will to make these ideas a reality.

Wednesday, November 13
The Hidden Homeless in Austin: Children & Families
Join the LBJ Future Forum as we learn about the solutions for families and children who are homeless in our community, what’s still needed, and what we can do as a community to help. Doors open at 6 p.m., the conversation is from 6:30-7:30 p.m., and a reception will follow. Free parking will be available in the LBJ Library visitors’ lot located at 2313 Red River Street. This program is sponsored by the Downtown Austin Alliance.

Sunday, November 17
26th Annual Homeless Memorial Sunrise Service
Caritas of Austin will be hosting the Annual Homeless Memorial Service to recognize the women, men and children whom have lived and died in Austin while homeless and living in poverty. Service will start at sunrise (around 6:58 a.m.), naming of all whom have passed this year (2019). Service will be at the following address: Homeless Memorial, 9307 Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail.

Foundation Communities

The holiday season is right around the corner! As you make plans with family and friends, we hope you’ll consider participating in our Holiday Assistance Program to help our residents fulfill their wish lists. With your support, we can make the holidays brighter for the families who live with us!

Here are four ways you can get involved:

Sponsor a Family

Sponsoring a family is a great way to engage your family, coworkers, friends, neighbors, congregation or civic club in a rewarding group service activity. Visit the Sponsor Registration Page for more information and to complete your sponsor form by Thursday, December 5. Sponsor forms received by November 22 will be matched before Thanksgiving. Sign up to sponsor today!

Donate to Our Holiday Gift Drive

Provide items like gift cards, household supplies, toys, and more for our residents. Gift deliveries will be accepted December 11-13. See our wish list.

Make a Holiday Donation

You can donate online and we’ll go shopping for you! Make a donation.

Help us Spread the Word

Forward this message to others! There is a great need in our community. The more people who participate, the more families we can serve.

Thanks for your generosity and support!


Meghan Hein

Community Building Volunteer Coordinator


P.S. – Check out our Stories of Hope videos to hear from our residents about how they’re thriving thanks to Foundation Communities and supporters like YOU!

Benefit Concert and Dinner

Northwest Hills UMC Austin

Hurricane Dorian Benefit Concert and Thanksgiving Dinner

November 17 – 4:00 pm

Northwest Hills Sanctuary

Free Concert accepting donations for victims who lost everything int the Hurricane Dorian.

Join us after the concert

FREE THANKSGIVING DINNER after the concert. RSVP for dinner at:

Texas Impact Information

San Antonio Interfaith Advocacy Training

You are invited to Texas Impact’s San Antonio Interfaith Advocacy Training Sunday, November 17 from 2-5pm at First Unitarian Universalist Church in San Antonio.

Register online at

Registration is free, but helpful in event planning.

Join us for a faith leader panel, Advocacy 101 training and breakout sessions.. Policy presentations will focus on immigration reform, public education/literacy, and health policy.

Additional topics, speakers and event sponsors will be listed here as they become available.

Email if you are interested in supporting the event or have ideas/suggestions to share.

Elgin Interfaith Advocacy Training

You are invited to Texas Impact’s San Antonio Interfaith Advocacy Training Saturday, November 16 from 10am-12pm at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Elgin. Register online at Registration is free, but helpful in event planning.

Join us for a faith leader panel, Advocacy 101 training and breakout sessions.. Policy presentations will focus on public education/literacy and rural health policy.

Additional topics, speakers and event sponsors will be listed here as they become available.

Email if you are interested in supporting the event or have ideas/suggestions to share.

Courts & Ports: Faithful Witness on the Texas-Mexico Border

Witness the Crisis First Hand

The Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy/Texas Impact invites you to participate in Courts & Ports: Faithful Witness on the Texas-Mexico Border.

This 2-day immersion experience engages people of faith to witness first-hand the legal and law enforcement processes related to immigration, detention, and deportation occurring in South Texas.

Click here for the: Courts & Ports One Pager

Ministry at the Texas-Mexico Border

Thanks to a team from Trinity Church in Austin that went to the Brownsville to work with Team Brownsville to feed over 1,000 asylum seekers in Matamoros on November 2.  Teams of volunteers do this every evening.

This note was posted to Facebook by Janet Cook, organizer of the Trinity Church group: “Just returned from the border after my Trinity Team Brownsville mates and I prepared and cooked casseroles at Good Neighbor Settlement House in Brownsville for 50 homeless, next did the same for 500 asylum-seekers trapped in Matamoros, took the meals across the border by pulling wagons, and served the food with another team that cooked for 700.

The migrants are living in donated tents touching other tents and are generally dependent upon others for food, water, clothing and bedding.  Healthcare primarily comes from volunteers.  There are thirty pregnant women and five newborns.  All this leads me once again to look deeply at the root causes of this humanitarian crisis and how to help change things for the better.

This weekend, I also saw much love in faces and actions.  I saw the needs and benefits of working together with others on levels that are both spiritual and material.  Am very grateful for this experience.”

You can help by donating to Team Brownsville on the facebook link below.  They provide breakfast and dinner at the bridge each day, provide a sidewalk school for children on Sundays, assist asylum seekers at the bus station, and provide for non-potable water to be hauled into the camp.

Thanks to Team Brownsville and thank you Trinity Church of Austin!  You can follow Team Brownsville on Facebook:

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

Upcoming events

October 29 to November 14, 2019: The Texas tour of “The Penalty” continues this week, with public screenings in San Marcos, San Antonio and Houston.

November 13, 2019: TCADP San Antonio chapter meeting, 6:30 PM

February 29, 2020TCADP 2020 Annual Conference.  Registration now open!

Click here for details on these and other upcoming events.

Executions in 2019

Scheduled (4)
November 6: Justen Hall
November 13: Patrick Murphy Contact the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
November 20: Rodney Reed – Sign this petition by the Innocence Project
December 11: Travis Runnels

Executed (7)
January 30: Robert Jennings
February 28: Billie Wayne Coble
April 24: John King
August 21: Larry Swearingen
September 4: Billy Crutsinger
September 10: Mark Anthony Soliz
September 25: Robert Sparks

Stays Granted/Dates Withdrawn (10)
January 14: Blaine Milam (execution scheduled for 1/15/19; stay granted by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals)
March 28: Patrick Murphy, Jr. (execution scheduled for 3/28/19; stay granted by the U.S. Supreme Court)
April 8: Mark Robertson (execution scheduled for 04/11/19; stay granted by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals)
April 30 and August 14: Dexter Johnson (execution scheduled for May 2 – stay granted by a federal judge; execution rescheduled for August 15 – stay granted by the Fifth Circuit on August 14)
September 23: Stephen Barbee (execution scheduled for 10/2/19; stay granted by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals)
October 3: Randall Mays (execution scheduled for 10/16/19; date withdrawn by trial court)
October 4: Randy Halprin (execution scheduled for 10/10/19; stay granted by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals)
October 22: Ruben Gutierrez (execution scheduled for 10/30/19; stay granted by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals; an earlier date of July 31 also was withdrawn

Read More

Central Texas Interfaith (CTI)

The CTI Delegates Assembly is Sunday, November 10th at 3pm at St. David’s Episcopal Church.  In this gathering of 400 leaders, we will ratify a preliminary agenda of issues we’ve been working on to guide our efforts as we head into the new year.  We will also ratify our 2020 nonpartisan electoral strategy and celebrate our launch as Central Texas Interfaith!

Let’s demonstrate the strength, diversity and power of our institutions!


We need YOU to RSVP AND work with your institution to bring a strong delegation so that we can increase voter turnout and make an impact on issues we care about from homelessness to climate change to wages, immigration and more.

Many of you made commitments for turnout to this assembly, ranging from 5 to 60.  Reach out to others in your institution to encourage participation and tell your organizer/or regional leader how many you are expecting.  Be bold and make announcements in PTA meetings, house meetings, and other gatherings!  Include the flyer in your bulletins!  Below are links to the latest flyer, sample announcement/bulletin insert and sign sheet. =)




With faith, much is possible.  Let’s make this launch a success!

Carlota García | Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic | 512-522-7565

Western Jurisdiction Summit in November

Western Jurisdiction to host ‘Fresh United Methodism Summit’ in November

What will the future of The United Methodist Church look like in the coming years? Who is shaping that vision, and what are the most important values?

From November 14 to 16, 2019, the Western Jurisdiction (WJ) Mission Cabinet is hosting a Fresh United Methodism Summit consisting of the WJ Leadership Team, WJ Workgroup Leaders, 2020 General Conference delegates from the WJ, and other emerging leaders. Beginning with reports from each Annual Conference and several WJ workgroups, attendees will be listening for areas of alignment and opportunity so that the jurisdiction can collaborate for broader impact. Then, participants will go through a process of envisioning and innovation around the next steps for the Western Jurisdiction and The United Methodist Church.

The Western Jurisdiction is known across The United Methodist Church for its diversity and justice-seeking spirit. With this event, we hope live into that reputation more fully by bringing together institutional leaders and some of the emerging voices that we need to hear today.

How will this event shape the future of the Church? We don’t know but we are convinced that this is a season where we need to hear new voices, fresh ideas, and perspectives.

United Methodists and friends beyond the denomination are excited about the possibility of attending this event. But the event facilities limit the number of participants and observers. For that reason, a formula mirroring the delegate allotment for General Conference was used to designate seat allotments for each WJ Conference. Respectively, a limited number of observers will be determined through a random name draw. Significant sessions of the Fresh United Methodism Summit will be live-streamed.

Go to to find details about the groups selected to participate, how to apply to be an observer, details about the location, and details about the live stream.


Media contacts for each Conference in the Western Jurisdiction are available at

Bazaars and Gift Markets


Buda UMC – UMW Christmas Bazaar

November 23, 2019

9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Fellowship Hall

302 Elm Street, Buda, TX 78610

Oak Hill UMC Agape Christmas Market

December 8, 2019

9:00 am





Saint John’s UMC, 2140 Allandale Road, Austin, TX

Hours: Saturday 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Sunday 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm



Date: November 23 & 24, 2019

Time: 10:00 am  to  6:00 pm

The Women & Fair Trade Festival is an annual Austin marketplace, now in its 16th year, invites women’s cooperatives to come from all over the world to tell their stories about globalization and to sell their handmade items.

The event is sponsored by Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera. More information on the Facebook event page.

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

Texas Gun Sense

Texas Gun Sense is very proud to release our new four-part video series

Surviving Gun Violence

Travis Park Church Roof Collapses

Shortly after midnight on October 25, heavy rains penetrated a weakened, aged roof, which recently underwent renovation, and collapsed a section of the south roof and wall at Travis Park.

Located on Travis Street and Navarro Street, the church in recent history has built a reputation for helping the downtown homeless population and migrants entering the country seeking asylum.

On Friday, the church’s migrant coordinator said no one was sleeping inside the church at the time of the collapse.

“It’s a blessing we did not have our migrant friends here last night,” said Cydni Bravenec.

Since March, the church offered food, shelter and water to some 22,000 migrants.

On Friday, city officials and structural engineers were busy assessing the incident and damage.

“We’ve had some catastrophic damage done,” Bravenec said.

From Pastor Eric Vogt: A number of clergy and lay leaders have asked how to help. The building remains closed to the public, but we aim to schedule a clean-up and moving day soon. And we’re humbled and thankful that some congregations have already taken up special offerings. You may also want to share that people can give financially at (there’s a designated button for building recovery efforts).

Travis Park MFSA

Travis Park UMC has an active Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) program that meets monthly on the second Sunday of each month at noon. MFSA mobilizes clergy and laity within The United Methodist Church to take action on issues of peace, poverty and people’s rights within the church, the nation and the world.

Working primarily through the ministries of the United Methodist Church, MFSA supports and augments peace and justice ministries at the local, conference, and national levels.  As an independent organization, we call our church to expand its understanding of the radical call of the Gospel to be the inclusive, justice-seeking, risk-taking Body of Christ.

MFSA lives out our belief that to be faithful witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to be involved in the transformation of the social order.

Moreover, MFSA affirms the vital importance of theological reflection as the Church weighs great issues of faithfulness to Jesus Christ and the Gospel in United Methodist worship, governance and witness. We offer to following paragraphs as a point of departure for reflection and discussion.

For information on this committee, email John Patterson.