Growing in our witness.

One of the ways that we connect with the community around us is by engaging societal topics and issues through the lens of our Christian faith. We do this both by creating spaces for learning and conversation within our church community, and by fostering opportunities to act on social issues in our Presbyterian denomination and through civic engagement in Austin and Central Texas.


yard signs black lives matter and worship here

Deepening our understanding.

On Sunday mornings, you are likely to find folks in conversation, working to connect issues in the world with the traditions and practices of Christian faith. Regular topics of conversation and class programming have recently included racism and reconciliation; gender justice; supportive parenting of LGBTQ+ children; election integrity, and more.

college students studying

Acting on our faith.

We are committed to collaborating with local partners, faith communities, and agencies to advance justice and healing in a broken world. As a member of the Micah 6 of Austin network of Austin-area churches, and in collaboration with Texas Impact, we seek to exercise our voice and witness to our convictions in opportunities like letter-writing campaigns, phone banks, prayer vigils, and peaceful assemblies.

man waving banner people waving

Climate: change advocacy through letter writing will be on the first Sunday of the month; Kendal Gladish coordinates.

Dr. Rountree recommends two books:

1.”Text Readings for Diversity and Social Justice”; (used) by Adams et. al 3rd Edition: $27 per participant (

2.”Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson (supplemental): $11 per participant questions: Who am I writing for? (Audience) Why should they care? (Benefit) What do I want them to do here? (Call-to-Action).


Don’t Stop Believin’!
We CAN do more to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change—but there is no time to waste.
The UPC Social Witness Committee continues to prepare for an all-church discussion of increased carbon emissions, rising sea levels, and extreme weather. We will keep offering links and resources and welcome your ideas and suggestions. Send them to Kendal Gladish.
For understanding about how our habits are harming God’s creation, for determination to seek improvements, and for wisdom to be balanced and fair in how we approach climate challenges.
Educate yourself
Big thanks to Randal Whittington who passed on this interview at Austin Presbyterian Seminary with climate scientist and evangelical Christian Katharine Hayhoe from Texas Tech University. Check it out here.
And if that whets your appetite, sit back and watch Hayhoe’s Ted Talk here.
Then follow her advice and talk about climate change with your friends—maybe start with this summer’s beastly weather and global wildfires.
Take action and advocate
We’ll keep singing the praises of Cap Metro. If you are close to a bus line or train station and haven’t tried them—prepare to be delighted. Read a book or find a Wordle—while you save money, gas, and parking and reduce your carbon impact.
Watch this space for more ideas—and tell us how you and your family are doing your part to protect God’s good Earth.
Calling All Earthlings: Your Planet Needs Your Help—And God’s!
The UPC Social Witness Committee continues to gather information and prepare for a deep dive into a church-wide look at climate change in the coming months. THANK YOU for all the great ideas—keep them coming to
For steadiness and determination as we face the facts and the fires of the hot hot summer of 2023. It is easy to get overwhelmed at the magnitude of the personal and community impact. But we can’t lose hope. Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe has shared some good news for which we can be thankful. Keep the faith!
“In the U.S., a lot’s been happening since the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) kicked in a year ago. Over 70,000 new jobs have been created from more than 200 big clean energy projects, including solar and wind installations but also many of the new factories needed to make the parts for solar panels, batteries, and electric vehicles and to recycle what’s no longer needed.”
Educate Yourself
The burdens of coping with hotter summers, unpredictable weather, and skyrocketing utility bills are heaviest on low-income and underserved communities. Learn more about how
Austin’s Climate Equity Plan could address these challenges.
Head to the Blanton Museum at UT beginning September 9 to see: If the sky were orange: Art in the time of climate change.” This special two-part exhibition will explore the history and contemporary urgency of climate-related issues. Stay tuned for more details—maybe a UPC field trip on an autumn Tuesday when admission is free.
Take Action and Advocate
Check out the Pease Park Conservancy activities—including the reopened splash pool and a host of upcoming events, including volunteer service right at 1100 Kingsbury Street in Austin. Thanks to the “Pease Corps,” (get it?) more than 3,000 trees have been planted, the lawn and canopy have been restored, and hundreds of harmful, invasive species have been removed at Pease Park. Find out more at Pease Park Conservancy.
From the Austin Chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby comes this invitation to get involved. “Whether you prefer to work for an hour a month behind the scenes or are ready to meet with your member of Congress, this is your chance to find your role as an effective climate activist.
Educate yourself
For anyone interested in the Path of Hope series, take a look at the Texas Impact link for more background.
Take action: Read some poems
(with thanks to Rachel Finken for this idea)
By Ayisha Siddiqa, a Pakistani Climate justice advocate living in Coney Island, NY, a coastal area highly prone to hurricanes and floods.
What if the future is soft and revolution is so kind that there is no end to us in sight.
Whole cities breathe and bad luck is bested by a promise to the leaves.
To withstand your own end is difficult.
The future frolics about, promised to no one, as is her right. Rage against injustice makes the voice grow harsher yet.
If the future leaves without us, the silence that will follow will be an unspeakable nothing.
What if we convince her to stay? How rare and beautiful it is that we exist.
What if we stun existence one more time?
When I wake up, get out of bed, my seven-year-old cousin with her ruptured belly tags along.
Then follows my grandmother, aunts, my other cousins and the violent shape of their drinking water.
The earth remembers everything, our bodies are the color of the earth and we are nobodies.
Been born from so many apocalypses, what’s one more?
Love is still the only revenge. It grows each time the earth is set on fire.
But for what it’s worth, I’d do this again. Gamble on humanity one hundred times over
Commit to life unto life, as the trees fall and take us with them. I’d follow love into extinction.
Ten more poems about climate change, some difficult to read, can be found here, collected and published by the Chicago Review of Books.
Paths of Hope Series Links Library

Social Justice books that you can check out include:

I’ve got your back, Arteaga and May

Reconciliation, Michael Battle

How to Have Impossible Conversations, Boghossian and Lindsay

“You can tell just by looking”, Bronski, Pellegrini, Amico

My Life, Growing up Asian in America, edited by CAPE

Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Cross and The Lynching Tree, James H. Cone

Radically Included, Susan Cottrell

White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo

The Black Church, Henry Louis Gates

On Juneteenth, Annette Gordon-Reed

The Righteous Mind, Jonathan Haidt

Anxious to Talk about It, Carolyn B. Helsel

Waking up White, Debby Irving

Volma: My Journey, Carolyn L. Jones

White Too Long, Robert P. Jones

How to be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi

So you want to talk about race, Ijeoma Oluo

The Roots of Juneteenth, Roscoe Overton

Why are all the Black kids sitting together in the cafeteria? Beverly Daniel Tatum

The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas


Please give your book donations or suggestions to Jennie Chao

Want to learn more?

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