GC 2020 – “The Protocol” Proposal Announced

A diverse, 16-member group of United Methodist bishops and other leaders has offered a proposal that would preserve The United Methodist Church while allowing traditionalist-minded congregations to form a new denomination. The separating group would get $25 million in United Methodist funds and would keep its local church properties.

Details are in a nine-page “Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation,” released Jan. 3 along with an FAQ and press release.

The proposal requires approval by the 2020 General Conference. Drafting of legislation is still underway for the legislative assembly, which is the only body that speaks for the 13 million global denomination.

More from UM News here.

Austin Presbyterian Seminary Mid-Winter Lectures

The Reverend Robert Schnase

Bishop of the Rio Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church

Read more.

“Border Crossing:
The Power of Narrative to Open Hearts and Change Conversations”

Robert Schnase was born, grew up, and served congregations along the US-Mexico border. His collection of stories, Border Crossing, provides the personal, intimate perspective of a pastor working in the intermingling, sometimes clashing, cultures of the border. After each story, Bishop Schnase will reflect on the power of narrative to create the liminal space for transformation and social change within communities, especially in contentious times.

Tuesday, February 4 – 10:45a

Wednesday, February 5 – 8:30

Register Here.

Equality Texas Event

Love Equality 2020 Tickets

Join Love Equality co-chairs Dean Crawford and Brian Bristow

Saturday, February 15, 2020 from 8 – 11pm
at 7 for Parties
150 Turtle Creek Blvd #107
Dallas, TX 75207

Mark your calendars for this year’s Love Equality, a fabulous event benefitting Equality Texas.  Love Equality is a fun night of celebration, and dancing, with drinks and light food.  Because of our generous sponsors, Love Equality has already become Equality Texas’ preeminent Dallas event – guests look forward to attending every February!

For 30 years, Equality Texas has served as the largest statewide organization solely dedicated to securing full equality for LGBTQ Texans, and is gearing up for its biggest challenge yet: comprehensive statewide nondiscrimination protections.  Join the fight for statewide equality and have some fun while you’re at it! We look forward to seeing you at Love Equality.

Click here to sign up as a sponsor today!

Tax-deductible sponsorships are still available — click here to view sponsorship levels. All sponsors of Love Equality will be invited to a VIP Reception from 7 – 8pm.  You’ll have the opportunity to join the Equality Texas Board, Dallas Steering Committee, and a few special guests for heavy hors d’oeuvres and a full bar.

Get Out The Vote

Become a Volunteer Deputy Registrar

Voter Registration is the first step to get people to the polls to exercise their constitutional rights.

Many of the members of the League of Women Voters are Volunteer Deputy Registrars (VDRs).

VDRs are entrusted with registering voters face-to-face either at events or by going door to door.  VDRs make sure people are eligible, registered, and educated to vote.

If you want to be trained and authorized to be a VDR in Travis County, it is really quite simple.  Every month, Travis County hosts several one-hour VDR training sessions:

Third Thursday of every month
starting at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 6:30 pm

Travis County Voter Registrar’s office
4705 Heflin Ln, Austin, TX 78721  and 5501 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751
Click here for more info about Thursday sessions

For other counties in the central Texas area, please visit our Voter Information page for links to resources in your county.


Are you a VDR? Want to help the League Register Voters? Email the Register and Vote Committee Chair at VoterRegistration@lwvaustin.org or check our Volunteer Opportunities page.

Additional Volunteer Deputy Registrar Training
Saturday, January 18, 2020, 10:30 a.m.
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin
4700 Grover Avenue, Austin
Signup link: https://forms.gle/mRBGMBKzqqX4kViX7
Please consider becoming a Travis County Volunteer Deputy Registrar.

2020 ELECTIONS                                                                                                     IMPORTANT DATES

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 Joint Primary Elections

First Day to Apply for Ballot by Mail

(First day to file does not move because of New Year’s Day holiday.
An “Annual ABBM” or Federal Postcard Application for a Jan or
Feb election may be filed earlier, but not earlier than the 60th day
before the date of the election.)                                                    Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Last Day to Register to Vote                                                          Monday, February 3, 2020

First Day of Early Voting in Person                                                 Tuesday, February 18, 2020*

Last day to Apply for Ballot by Mail (received, not postmarked)    Friday, February 21, 2020

Last Day of Early Voting in Person                                                 Friday, February 28, 2020

Saturday, May 2, 2020 Local Elections

Last Day to Register to Vote                                                           Thursday, April 2, 2020

First Day of Early Voting in Person                                                 Monday, April 20, 2020

Last day to Apply for Ballot by Mail (received, not postmarked)    Monday, April 20, 2020*

Last Day of Early Voting in Person                                                 Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 Primary Runoff Elections (if required)

Last Day to Register to Vote                                                          Monday, April 27, 2020

First Day of Early Voting in Person                                                 Monday, May 18, 2020

Last day to Apply for Ballot by Mail (received, not postmarked)    Friday, May 15, 2020

Last Day of Early Voting in Person                                                 Friday, May 22, 2020

June 2020, Local Elections Runoff (if required; date to be determined)

Tuesday, November 3, 2020 Presidential Joint General and Special Elections

Last Day to Register to Vote                                                          Monday, October 5, 2020*

First Day of Early Voting in Person                                                 Monday, October 19, 2020

Last day to Apply for Ballot by Mail (received, not postmarked)    Friday, October 23, 2020

Last Day of Early Voting in Person                                                 Friday, October 30, 2020

December 2020, Joint General and Special Elections Runoff (if required; date to be determined)


League of Women Voters Film Screening in Austin

Backpack Full Of Cash Documentary

Tuesday, January 21  6:30pm – 9:00pm  

Alamo Drafthouse – Mueller

1911 Aldrich Street, Theatre 1

Austin LWV-AA will screen Backpack Full of Cash and a panel discussion. This award-winning documentary explores the growing privatization of public schools and the resulting impact on America’s most vulnerable children.

We moved to a larger theatre, so plenty of seats are available!

Ticket purchase is through LWV-AA and pays for the film and the venue.

Early bird price of only $10 is good through 1/13 and then price goes up to $15.

**To purchase a ticket click HERE. **

For more information about the event, please contact María Milner (gmccool@lwvaustin.org).

“Just Mercy” – Go See It!

(From Michael B. Jordan, who plays Bryan Stevenson in the film…)

Every day, innocent Black people are imprisoned in our country, but we rarely see their stories on the big screen.  That’s why I’m so proud to have had an opportunity to work on Just Mercy, a film that hit theaters on January 10 and tells the story about modern day hero Bryan Stevenson and his Equal Justice Initiative.

As an actor and producer on the film, with my company Outlier Society, this is a story that I know has real implications in our world today.  Authentic storytelling can serve as a powerful deterrent to the fear and racism that drive our justice system.  When faced with the human emotion and devastating impact of injustice, we must demand change.  We must work together to keep the story from repeating itself.

We hear too often of individuals who face or challenge unjust charges in the news.  Meanwhile, entire families, communities and whole generations have been swept up into these necessary fights for freedom.

The story of Just Mercy is one of community, justice and redemption on death row.  It’s the story Black communities across the country face with evolution of slavery: our criminal justice system.

Just Mercy will bring the full story out of the shadows and I hope you are able to come out on this weekend to see what hope and fight looks like.

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

Upcoming events

TCADP 2020 Annual Conference

The TCADP 2020 Annual Conference – 2020 Vision for Texas: A Leap Towards Justice – will take place on Saturday, February 29, 2020 at the Whitley Theological Center on the campus of Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas.  Register today!

Our program will feature a panel discussion between the current and former district attorneys of Bexar County, in-depth workshops led by experts, and the presentation of our annual awards to extraordinary individuals.

If you can’t join us for the full day, purchase a ticket for our awards luncheon and keynote address by Wana Akpan and Roderick Reed.  Roderick and Wana, in collaboration with the family-led Reed Justice Initiative, mobilized millions of people worldwide to oppose Rodney Reed’s scheduled execution on November 20, 2019.  Consider sponsoring a table at the luncheon or placing an ad in the conference program to commend Wana and Roderick and our award recipients.

Learn more about the conference, including details on our speakers and award winners.

TCADP has secured a block of hotel rooms at the TownePlace Suites San Antonio Airport (214 N.E. Loop 410 San Antonio, Texas 78216) for Friday, February 28 and Saturday, February 29.  The rate is $99 per night, plus tax; this rate is available until February 14, 2020.  The hotel provides free breakfast, as well as a free shuttle to the conference venue (Oblate School of Theology) and other amenities. Make your reservation directly with the hotel using this link.

Texas Impact Information

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. Participants observe proceedings in federal criminal court and record their observations for use by immigration attorneys. Participants also meet with faith and policy experts working on the border, and spend time with individuals who have pending asylum cases; engage in contextualizing discussion with Texas Impact pastoral staff and other faith leaders; plan and participate in worship; and become part of an online “alumni” community.

Register at: texasimpact.org/courts-ports/. To learn more email or call Erica Nelson: erica@texasimpact.org.

Click here for the: Courts & Ports One Pager

Letter to Gov. Abbott on Refugees

From Texas Impact:

Texans of faith were disappointed to learn Friday that Governor Greg Abbott rejected the resettlement of refugees in Texas in 2020, despite many congregations, faith-based refugee resettlement agencies and families investing time and resources preparing for their arrival.

Please join with us in encouraging a new course of action in 2021. We reject the Governor’s notion that Texas congregations and resettlement agencies do not have sufficient resources for this work. We do not believe the Governor should dictate to faith communities which vulnerable people they should serve.

Gov. Abbott: Don’t Slam the Door on Refugees

Please read and sign the letter below and invite your friends and neighbors to join you.

Dear Governor Abbott,

I disagree with your decision to refuse Texas hospitality to refugees. Texas has a well-established culture of welcome. We are home to a vast network of volunteer and professional teams whose very ministry is welcome. These Texans wake up every day with arms open to our siblings from around the globe, who come seeking safety and security from life-threatening circumstances.

I take profound exception to your pronouncement that Texas nonprofits have “the responsibility to dedicate available resources” only to certain types of vulnerable people. I worship a God of abundance, and I believe that there are sufficient resources to meet the needs of all God’s children.

Happily, your decision only applies to the current year. Now is the time to chart a different course for next year. Please commit to opening Texas’ doors to refugees again in 2021. Let Texas faith communities show that Texas has enough resources—and enough love—to welcome all who need us.


Link to signature page.

Texas Gun Sense

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

Surviving Gun Violence


From Travis Park San Antonio

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.

MFSA Depends On Your Help For Its Programs and Activities

Please Include Us in Your Giving Plans!

Join with us as we connect progressive United Methodists in putting faith into action!

Membership in MFSA is not predicated on ability to pay.  We do not have “dues”.  However, our local unit and the National Office need funding each year for programs and activities.  Membership gifts and special giving are always appreciated. MFSA is classified as a 501(c)(3) organization by the IRS.   Membership gifts to MFSA are tax deductible as provided by law.

There are several easy ways to join or support MFSA.

  • You can log onto the national MFSA website, http://www.mfsaweb.org and follow the instructions there (you can safely use a credit card). Please indicate that you are part of the Rio Texas MFSA.
  • Or, you can mail a check made out to “Rio Texas – MFSA” to

Rio Texas MFSA

PO Box 66055

Austin, TX  78766-6055

The suggested minimum donation is $60, but any amount is welcome.  Thanks for your support!

Historically, we have had eight monthly meetings per year, generally on the second Thursday of the month (this may change in the future).  We communicate using monthly electronic newsletters & updates to our website and Facebook page.

Stay Connected with MFSA

MFSA – Conference Website:  https://riotexasmfsa.org/

MFSA – National Site: http://www.mfsaweb.org

Check out our Facebook Page Rio Texas Chapter MFSA