MFSA National Office Move Planned

As many of you have already learned, MFSA has decided to relocate their national headquarters office to Central UMC in Detroit in mid-2018.  This announcement follows a lengthy discernment and visioning process that includes a recommitment to local church and community-led grassroots organizing.  Unlike MFSA’s current location in a Lutheran church on Capitol Hill in Washington, Detroit Central UMC will offer adequate office space, conference rooms, and other amenities needed for the headquarters.  MFSA is also posting for the Executive Director position, replacing interim E.D. Darlene DiDomeneck.

More information here.

Welcome, Austin New Church!

Austin New Church (ANC), a congregation in the process of becoming part of the Rio Texas Conference, celebrated their first Sunday worship service in their new location this week. ANC is now gathering on the former Faith UMC campus in South Austin.

While this was ANC’s first Sunday service on the new campus, they previously celebrated Christmas Eve a day early at Faith UMC on December 23. The church began renovation on the sanctuary in early January to be ready for this Sunday’s worship.

The freshly updated sanctuary welcomed a large crowd. “The seats are full,” said Rev. Laura Merrill, Assistant to the Bishop of Rio Texas. “Youth even claimed the balcony—some things never change!”

Faith UMC Lay Leader Chuck McClenon was asked to share words, and he extended to the congregation a warm welcome to the location:

ANC Pastor Jason Morriss took time during the service to welcome those who previously worshiped at Faith UMC. He acknowledged the mixed emotions experienced by Faith UMC members:
“There is pain and loss that is involved in this chapter [of this church’s life],” said Morriss, “but many of you have been praying for us.” He recognized those who served in leadership capacity at Faith UMC will continue to lead in ministry with ANC.

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


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

October 2017 Rio Texas MFSA newsletter

Please find the October 2017 Rio Texas MFSA newsletter here: 2017 Oct


Notes From Third Coast Activist


Date: September 28, 2017

Time: 8:30 am  to  4:00 pm

Huston-Tillotson University will host the fourth annual Building Green Justice Forum, this year focusing on “Organic Activistology.” Presenters and participants will reflect on their roles as organic activists – thinkers and doers who reflect their community’s history, values, and knowledge and who engage to direct the community as leaders and organizers. This exploration includes an analysis of the broader frame of environmental justice work, including tensions, conflicts, power sources, intersectionalities, and motivations.

Keynote speaker will be Mustafa Santiago Ali, Senior Vice President of Climate, Environmental Justice & Community Revitalization for the Hip Hop Caucus. In March 2017, Ali resigned his position as a top environmental justice administrator in the Environmental Protection Agency in protest of Trump administration policies. Ali worked at the EPA for more than two decades, starting in the administration of George H.W. Bush.

Other presentations and workshops will feature activists, community members, students, and researchers working on issues of environmental justice.

Registration and coffee begins at 8:30 am, with speakers, panels, and workshops throughout the day.

The forum—which is sponsored by Green is the New BlackThe Dumpster Project, and the Third Coast Activist Resource Center—is free but please register online.

For more information on sponsorship, contact Karen Magid,, or Amanda Masino,

Location: Dickey-Lawless Science Building, Huston-Tillotson University, 900 Chicon St., Austin, 78702, with free parking in the Chalmers Avenue lot and free street parking around campus.


Date: October 19, 2017

Time: 5:30 pm  to  7:00 pm

Ai-jen Poo will discuss the role of immigrant women in the American care economy, featuring the stories and solutions of immigrant women for a more caring economy and democracy.

Poo is Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Co-director of Caring Across Generations. She also was a co-founder of Domestic Workers United and led a seven-year legislative campaign that resulted in the nation’s first Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights in New York City. Her 2015 book, The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in Changing America, outlines a road map to create a more caring nation, providing solutions for fixing our fraying safety net while also increasing opportunities for women, immigrants, and the unemployed.

The lecture, sponsored by the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, will be followed by a reception. Free registration and more information online.

 Location: Eidman Courtroom, University of Texas School of Law, 727 E Dean Keeton St., Austin, 78705

Judicial Council Rules on Bishop Oliveto

Excerpt from United Methodist Reporter by Linda Bloom, see full story here.

“The consecration of a gay bishop violates church law, the top court of The United Methodist Church has ruled.

However, the bishop “remains in good standing,” the Judicial Council said in Decision 1341, until an administrative or judicial process is completed.

“Under the long-standing principle of legality, no individual member or entity may violate, ignore or negate church law,” said the decision, made public April 28. “It is not lawful for the college of bishops of any jurisdictional or central conference to consecrate a self-avowed practicing homosexual bishop.”

Officials in the U.S. Western Jurisdiction consecrated the Rev. Karen Oliveto as a bishop on July 16, 2016. Based in the Denver area, she is the episcopal leader of the Mountain Sky Area, which encompasses Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming and one church in Idaho.

A petition from the South Central Jurisdiction to the Judicial Council raised four questions about the legality of that election. Judicial Council claimed jurisdiction to review its petition “only with respect to the consecration of an openly homosexual bishop” and said the rest of the petition, related to nomination, election and assignment, “is improper.”

The vote on the decision was 6-3. Judicial Council members N. Oswald Tweh and Deanell Reece Tacha filed a joint dissenting opinion that the council had no jurisdiction over the petition. First lay alternate W. Warren Plowden Jr., who was sitting for council member Beth Capen, and council member Ruben T. Reyes each filed a concurring and dissenting opinion.”