Better Neighbors Immunizations Event in Houston, July 29, 2015!

Wed, 07/29/2015 - 5:30pm - 7:30pm

UPDATE: We are happy to announce that Sen. Larry Taylor (SD-11) will be attending and speaking at the event. Join us Wednesday in Houston!

Texas Impact is coming to Houston to talk about programs to help strengthen our community!

Time: Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at 5:30PM
Place: Crossroads United Methodist Church at 10030 Scarsdale Blvd, Houston 77089

Friday, July 31, 2015 CPRI Monthly Faith-Based Call, Featuring A Discussion On Immunizations

Fri, 07/31/2015 - 11:00am - 12:00pm

UPDATE: A representative from DSHS will be joining us on the call this Friday!

Friday July 31 at 11:00, Texas Impact will host the monthly Community Partner Recruitment Initiative (CPRI) Faith-based call.

In addition to CPRI AmeriCorp VISTAs leading a discussion about the Community Partner Program, Congregational Outreach Director Scott Atnip and Texas Impact staff will talk about other opportunities for local communities of faith to partner with state agencies as part of Texas Impact’s “Better Neighbor” initiative.

Better Neighbors | July 2015: Immunizations

Download the Printable Newsletter. (Right-click and choose "Save Link As...")

Upcoming DHS Webinar: Resources to help houses of worship prepare for emergencies, including active shooter incidents - July 1, 2015

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 1:00pm - 2:15pm

Join the DHS Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships for a July 1 webinar, entitled "Resources to help houses of worship prepare for emergencies", at 1PM!

This webinar is a collaborative effort between the DHS Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships, a center of the White House Office of Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help connect faith-based and community organizations with tools, resources, and partners to help prepare their houses of worship for all hazards, including active shooter incidents.

They also provided a list of resources for you and your congregations:

Free online independent study courses for everyone:

Emergency Operations Planning Resources:

Active Shooter Preparedness Resources:

Archival RSVP link

Friday, June 26, 2015 CPRI Monthly Faith-Based Call, Featuring A Discussion On Aging

Fri, 06/26/2015 - 11:00am - 12:00pm

UPDATE: Tomorrow's call will feature Holly Riley from the Department of Aging and Disability Services!

Don't miss out on Age Well Live Well Resources:

Better Neighbors | June 2015: Aging in Texas

Download the Printable Newsletter. (Right-click and choose "Save Link As...")

Water in Texas: Interregional Debate on Regional Water Planning, May 25, 2015

Better Neighbor Energy Efficiency Event - June 2015

Wed, 06/03/2015 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Texas Impact is coming to San Antonio to talk about programs to help strengthen our community!

Join us to discuss Energy Efficiency, the Community Partners Program, the Welcoming Communities Initiative, and Congregational Engagement Strategies. You'll get updates from Texas Impact staff, learn how you can help low-income Texan and get an update about local faith-based immigration response in San Antonio.

Time: 7:00 p.m., June 3, 2015

Location: Episcopal Church of Reconciliation
8900 Starcrest Dr.
San Antonio, TX 78217

Better Neighbors | May 2015: Energy Efficiency

Download the Printable Newsletter. (Right-click and choose "Save Link As...")

Action Alert: Step on the Gas, Hit the Brakes

UPDATED with new information regarding SB 2065.

Now that the deadline has passed for House bills to pass the House, the focus is on bills that already have passed one chamber and just need a little push to get through the second...or a gentle tap on the brakes to keep them from becoming law.

Find legislator phone numbers, bill information and more at

This Week in the Legislature: May 9–May 15, 2015

Legislative Update #17 | View Archive

Action Alert: Opportunities and Threats

House bills are facing hard deadlines: Monday is the last day for House committees to report House bills, and Thursday is the last day for House bills to be heard on the House floor on second reading. Two of Texas Impact’s priority bills are subject to those deadlines and need your calls right away. We also are still urging calls to the budget conferees to support a $10/hour floor for community attendants, and we’ve posted more helpful handouts on that issue.

We are still seeking a resolution to denominational concerns regarding HB 3567 and SB 2065, the “pastor protection” bills. Denominational leaders and attorneys say the bills would set a dangerous precedent unless they are amended to remove the threat of internal denominational lawsuits. 

Find legislator phone numbers, bill information and more at

Religious Freedom Means Everyone

Protestant Bishops' Amendment

NEW! Talking Points on the Protestant Bishops’ Amendment to HB 3567/SB 2065

  1. Bishops of several Protestant denominations and their attorneys have raised concern that unless it is amended, HB 3567 creates an avenue for clergy—and, importantly, other church employees—to bring lawsuits against their church or denomination.  In other words, against their employer. 
  2. In some denominations, such as the Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church, and the Lutheran Church, the pastor is an employee of the denomination and is subject to what is called the “discipline” or “canons” of the church. These rules are doctrine – sincerely held religious beliefs, and the employer denomination can discipline pastors for acting against it.
  3. The right of denominations to discipline pastors is well settled. But HB 3567 would call it into question. Attorneys for the denominations agree, a pastor so disciplined could use this bill to sue the denomination, as could other church employees such as choir directors, custodians and childcare workers.
  4. Without the Protestant Bishops’ Amendment, HB 3567/SB2065 actually would restrict the religious freedom of millions of Texans, and establish a dangerous precedent. It will result in lawsuits that will use precious tithes to litigate—money that would be better spent on the charitable work of the church.

HB 3567 by Sanford and SB 2065 by Estes are called "Pastor Protection" bills, but without clarifying language, they will spell employment law problems for some Christian denominations.

Both of these bills have passed out of committee—SB 2065 is expected to come to the Senate floor on Monday, May 11, and HB 3567 is scheduled to come to the House floor on Tuesday, May 12.

Unless they are amended, these bills would allow clergy and other church employees to sue their denominations based on personal religious beliefs.  

Suggested message for legislators:

I am calling to ask Senator/Representative ______  to oppose SB 2065/ HB 3567 unless and until it is amended to address concerns about denominational governance. The amendment is necessary to ensure Texas is equally respectful of all denominations' First Amendment rights. A law that protects pastors in some churches should not jeopardize other churches' freedom from government interference. Thank you for standing up for all Texans' right to religious freedom.

Read Texas Impact’s press release

This Week in the Legislature: May 2-May 8, 2015

Legislative Update #16 | View Archive

This Week in the Legislature
May 2 – May 8, 2015
Days 110-116; 24 days to go

By this time in a legislative session, action is largely focused on the floors of both chambers while committees meet quickly in formal meetings to vote on pending bills that have already had hearings, or conduct short public hearings on the other chamber’s bills. If the legislative session was compared to a charity "coin vortex funnel," then the month of May is represented by the bottle neck where the speed of the coin is greatest and deadlines are rapidly approaching.

Top Story: Tough session for minority denominations and religions

Press Release: SB 2065 and HB 3567 Threaten First Amendment Rights for Some Denominations

Texas Impact: SB 2065 and HB 3567 Threaten First Amendment Rights for Some Denominations

AUSTIN—Texas Impact, Texas’ oldest and largest statewide interfaith advocacy network, remains opposed to SB 2065 and HB 3567 because the bills contain provisions that could increase lawsuits within churches and denominations.

Legal experts from Texas Impact’s member denominations say the bills limit religious freedom by allowing clergy and other employees to sue their employer denomination if their beliefs conflict concerning marriage.

Proponents of SB 2065 and HB 3567 describe the bills as “pastor protection” and say they are necessary to shield members of the clergy from future lawsuits should the U.S. Supreme Court rule that same-sex marriage prohibitions are unconstitutional.

However, as written, the bills would create a cause of action for clergy and other church employees to sue their employers if they are disciplined for disobeying denominational policies regarding marriage.

Attorneys for several mainline Protestant denominations provided the authors of both bills with amendment language to address their concerns, but neither author accepted the language. The amendment language would clarify that the bills are not intended to create a cause of action for lawsuits within denominations.

“No church wants lawsuits—from outside the church or from within. It would be simple to amend these bills to address the concerns of all denominations so that everyone could support them. Instead, lawmakers seem to favor certain church structures over others,” Texas Impact Executive Director Bee Moorhead said.

Dozens of pastors testified for the bill in public hearings in the House and Senate. Supporters were overwhelmingly Baptist, with different accountability structures than “connectional” denominations such as the United Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian and Lutheran churches.

“As currently written, both SB 2065 and HB 3567 intrude on denominational management and discipline of clergy, discipline that is fundamental to various denominational structures and freely entered into by pastors in those denominations,” Moorhead said. “We will continue to urge the legislature to adopt language we are offering to correct the bills and prevent the intrusion of the state into religious choice.”


This Week in the Legislature: April 25–May 1, 2015

Legislative Update #15 | View Archive

This Week in the Legislature
April 25 – May 1, 2015
Days 103-109; 31 days to go

As deadlines approach, attention in the last 30 days turns to floor action, as professional advocates are working hard to get scheduled or block bills in House Calendars, or to get 19 votes to suspend the rules or get 13 Senators to block consideration of a bill in the Senate. This week saw committee hearings on payday lending reform, death penalty abolition, and a good health bill; the House passed the Innocence Commission bill; and the politics of the “pastor protection” bill has made addressing the employment law concerns of hierarchical denominations difficult.

Top Story: Government interference with religious employment law

Syndicate content