Friday, July 26, 2013


On August 18-19, 2013, Texas Interfaith Center will host a conference on election-year advocacy to help you frame the connections between faith, politics, and public policy. At the conference, we will discuss why Texas has such low civic participation, why that's a concern for faith communities, and what we can do about it. Additionally, political experts will offer insights into themes in the 2014 elections of interest to people of faith.

It is also a grave concern that Texas has fewer women involved in the political arena than any other state in the U.S.!

WHEN:    August 18, 2013, 2 p.m., through August 19, 2013, 12 noon.
WHERE:  Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
                 100 E. 27th Street, Augstin 78705
CONTACT:  Phone--512-472-3903              email--

CONFERENCE FEE:   $25.00 covers two meals--Sunday dinner and Monday breakfast--and materials.

OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATIONS: A limited number of very affordable rooms in partnership with local seminaries.

TO REGISTER OR RESERVE A ROOM FOR SUNDAY NIGHT, please call the event registrar Cara Chiodo at 512-472-3903 or email

Please consider attending this event.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Health Kits for UMCOR

UMCOR health kits (Value $12)

Items to include:
Hand towel. One 15x25 to 17x27 inches; kitchen, cleaning and microfiber towels not acceptable.
Washcloth. One.
Comb. One; needs to be sturdy; no pocket combs or picks; rattail combs and combs without handles are acceptable.
Nail file or clipper. One; metal; no emery boards or toenail clippers.
Soap. One; bathsize, 3 oz. or larger; do not remove from original package.
Toothbrush. One; adult size only; do not remove from original package.
Adhesive bandages. Six; 3/4" to 1" size; common household band-aids.
Plastic bag. One 1-gallon size; sealable bags only.
$1.00 to purchase toothpaste.

Assembly Directions:
Set aside the $1 for toothpaste, to be included in a separate envelope. Lay out the hand towel flat on a table. Lay the washcloth flat in the enter of the towel. Place all remaining items on top of the wash cloth. Fold over the sides of the hand towel to cover all of the items. Fold over one end of the hand towel so that it covers all of the items. Grasp the bundle of items tightly and roll over the remainder of the hand towel tightly. Place the tightly rolled bundle in the plastic bag. Remove as much air as possible and seal the bag. Each packed box cannot exceed 66 pounds. Place the bag in a secure box and address to UMCOR, Sager Brown Depot, POBox 850, 131 Sager Brown Road, Baldwin, LA 70514-0850.

Important Notes:
*All items must be new.
*Do not wash any of the items, as they will then be considered used.
*Please remove all packaging except as noted.
*All emergency kits are carefully planned to make them usable in the great number of situations. Since strict rules often govern product entry into international countries, it is important that kits contain only the requested items--nothing more.
*DO NOT include any personal notes, money or additional material. These things must be painstakingly removed and will delay the shipment.

*UMCOR is now purchasing toothpaste in bulk to be added to health kits to ensure that the product does not expire before being sent. Do not put single dollar bills in each kit. Combine monies for toothpaste and shipping and place in a separate envelope and send along with the kit donations.

Shipping Instructions:
1. Complete two packing lists--one for your records and one to put on the shipping box. If you are sending a complete health kit/s, you may simply indicate how many kits at the value declared on this sheet.
2. Paste the packing label on the outside of each box you send. This helps depot to process quickly.
3. Processing & Shipping Costs. Please enclose an envelope containing at least $1 for each kit you send. The donation enables UMCOR to send kits without administrative costs.

You may prefer to send $12 to UMCOR, 475 Riverside Drive, #1520, New York, NY 10115. Include an extra dollar for shipping.... Or you may contribute on-line at


The U.S. Senate is currently debating a dreadful bill on immigration reform, S 744. The bill is harshly punitive and does nothing to foster family togetherness nor human rights in general. I include in this blog facts about the bill. If you would like documentation, I can make that available. (The documentation makes the bill exceedingly long.) We United Methodist Women are called to take a stand and to let our senators know that we find this bill unacceptable.

“The Border Security, Economic Opportunity & Immigration Modernization Act”

Senate Immigration Bill: Unfair, Unjust, Unwise

United Methodist Women rejects the disciplinary nature of the current Senate immigration bill, making it more urgent for us to continue our advocacy for positive immigration reform.  United Methodist Women has deep concerns with “The Border Security, Economic Opportunity & Immigration Modernization Act” (S. 744) passed by the Senate on June 27.  The legislation opens a grueling pathway to citizenship for a limited number of immigrants while authorizing unprecedented militarization of the U.S.-Mexican border.
We understand the national debate on immigration as part of the ongoing civil rights agenda in the United States—an agenda that calls us to live up to the vision of a just and inclusive nation. Our nations’ leaders are prioritizing military spending over the health and well-being of our citizens.

Brutal  new elements of border security changed the character of Senate Bill 744. As amended, the bill:

 - Requires law enforcement to apprehend 90 percent of the people coming across the border without proper papers.   --- Escalates the enforcement budget from $4.5 billion to $46 billion, in reality an enormous stimulus package for the construction industry.  
 -Doubles the number of border patrol officers from 20,000 to 40,000. 
 - Requires construction of an additional 700 miles of double border fencing, waiving environmental protections regarding wall construction.
- Expands drone and other forms of surveillance through a 24 hour “virtual  fence. “
 - Makes the E-verify system obligatory for all employers.

Women and children will not benefit from bill

This is unfair, unjust and unwise. United Methodist Women sees the faces of those who will not benefit from this bill, those in fact will be greatly harmed by it:

 - Families served by our National Mission Institutions near the border who fear seeking services because of harassment by the border patrol.
 - A domestic worker who cannot get on the pathway to citizenship because  an employer laid her off and she hasn’t been able to find a job in less  than the 60-day unemployment window.
 - A woman with provisional status ineligible for Medicaid so cannot afford to take her children to the doctor.
 - An older woman, working and paying taxes in the United States for decades, who won’t be able to access Social Security during a minimum 13-year wait for citizenship.
 - The thousands of families divided due to an intensification of detention and deportation policies.
 - An immigrant woman incarcerated because of lack of papers, forced to give birth in shackles.
 - An unauthorized immigrant woman who arrived after the cut-off date for legalization, who fears detention and losing custody of her children.

Toward humane immigration policy
United Methodist Women rejects the disciplinary nature of the current Senate immigration bill and proposals in the House of Representatives. “Rather than target and criminalize immigrants for coming to the United States without papers, we must address the reasons that migrants are forced to come. Human rights and racial justice must be at the core of both U.S. economic and immigration policy,” said Janis Rosheuvel, executive for racial justice.

According to United Methodist Women’s resolution Criminalization of Communities of Color in the United
 policies such as S. 744 “render whole communities of color … as guilty until proven innocent. … This approach is based on a theology and worldview of scarcity. In contrast, The United Methodist Church affirms, ‘God’s vision of abundant living is a world where we live out a theology of ‘enough’ for all.’”

As people of faith, this is a key moment to bring our theologically grounded policy proposals to our leaders. United Methodist Women members will continue to raise their voices for just and humane polices. We hope to infuse immigration reform with a much-needed reorientation toward human rights for immigrant women, children and families.

United Methodist Women National Office reiterates our core concerns for just immigration reform:
   - Offer a rapid and affordable pathway to citizenship for all unauthorized immigrants.
   - Offer public services, including health care, to immigrants regardless  of status.
   - Reunite families and keep families together.
   - Protect the labor rights of both immigrant and U.S. workers.
   - Guarantee due process and protect the civil and human rights of all immigrants.
   - Demilitarize the U.S.-Mexico border.
   - End enforcement practices that criminalize migrants because of their status.
   - Address migrant women’s rights: precarious work conditions, protection  and redress from violence.
   - Develop humane economic, trade and foreign policies to reduce forced migration.
   - Suspend detention and deportation of migrants and shift resources to underserved communities.

“United Methodist Women has worked tirelessly for justice for immigrants,” said Carol Barton, executive for community action and coordinator of United Methodist Women’s Immigrant and Civil Rights Initiative. “This turn of events makes it more urgent for us to continue our advocacy for positive immigration reform.”


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cleaning Buckets for UMCOR

UMCOR cleaning buckets. (Value $55)

Items to include:
5-gallon bucket with resealable lid. Buckets from fast-food restaurants or bakeries can be used if washed and cleaned. Do not use buckets that have stored chemicals such as paint or pool cleaner. Advertisements on the outside of the buckets are acceptable.
Liquid laundry detergent. Two 25 oz. or one 50 oz. bottle, only.
Liquid household cleaner. One 12-16 oz. liquid cleaner that can be mixed with water; no sprays.
Dish soap. One 12-28 oz. bottle.
Air freshener. One aerosol or pump can.
Insect repellent spray. One 6-14 oz. aerosol or spray pump with protective cover.
Scrub brush. One, with plastic or wooden handle; no toilet-bowl brushes; no kitchen or dish brushes.
Cleaning wipes. 18 handi-wipes or reusable wipes; no terry cleaning towels; remove from package.
Sponges. Seven; remove from wrapper; no cellulose sponges because of mold issue.
Scouring pads. Five pads; remove from wrapper; no Brillo, SOS pads, or any kind that will rust.
Clothespins. 50 pins; remove from packaging.
Clothes line. Two 50 ft. or one 100 ft.; cotton or plastic.
Heavy-duty trash bags. One 24-count roll; 30-45 gallon size; remove from box.
Dust masks. Five.
Disposable waterproof gloves. Two pairs; rubber or latex; remove from packaging.
Work gloves. One pair; cotton or leather; leather palms are necessary.

Assembly Directions:
     Place all liquid items in the bucket first. Place remaining items in the bucket, fitting them around and between the liquid items. Sponges, scouring pads, clothespins, and trash bags can be separated in order to fit all of the items in the bucket. Ensure that the lid is closed securely.   Each packed box must not exceed 66 pounds.

Important Notes:
*All items must be new except for the bucket and lid.
*All cleaning agents must be liquid and in plastic containers. No powders, please!
*If you cannot find the requested size of a liquid item, use a smaller size. Including larger sizes of any item will prevent the lid from sealing.
*UPS, FED EX and the US Postal Service will not ship buckets containing bleach.
*If all of the items on the list are not included, please put a label on the bucket indicating what has been omitted.
*Cleaning buckets are used only within the United States. They are not opened to verify the contents unless there is indication that some items have been omitted.

Shipping Instructions:
1. Complete two packing lists, one for your records and one to put on the shipping box.
2. Paste the shipping label/packing list on the outside of each box you send. The shipping list helps the depot to quickly process kits.
3. Processing & Shipping Costs. Please enclose an envelope containing at least $1.50 for each kit you send. This donation enables UMCOR to send kits without administrative costs.

You may prefer to send $56.50 (includes shipping) to UMCOR, 475 Riverside Drive, #1520, New York, NY 10115.  Or you may contribute on-line at