Cokesbury UMC and ChristWay UMC Become CrossRoads UMC

7/9/2015

Rev. Arturo Cadar and Rev. Trey Comstock are excited to lead a newly formed multicultural church that is already building on the strengths of all involved.

“We realized we were better together,” Rev. Arturo Cadar says, describing the recent merger of ChristWay UMC (a relatively new church plant of Friendswood UMC) and Cokesbury UMC.  Boosted by very supportive votes from each congregation, the merger became a reality with a unification ceremony on Launch Sunday, June 28. “Pews swelled with over 350 attending our fully bilingual service that included a blend of traditional, contemporary and Hispanic elements,” he shares. “This diverse Body of Christ at the new CrossRoads UMC was engaged and worshipping with passion, and then stayed for a catered lunch to celebrate this new adventure.”
 
At 76, Linda Garies has been a pillar of Cokesbury UMC since it was founded in the 1960s. She could not be more excited about the new merger. “Back in the early days, we were all young with small children, but as an older congregation we were seeing membership falling in recent years. We have a lovely complex and plenty of room for youngsters, so I think the merger is a wonderful experience to bring Hispanic and English-speaking residents together to be a part of a new church. Whether we all speak the same language is not the issue; all we need is a hug and a smile to show the love of the Lord to others.”
 

The merger was created out of a win-win opportunity. ChristWay UMC leaders were looking for additional space and Cokesbury UMC wanted more members. Rosa Alfaro, one of the first 18 members of ChristWay UMC in 2006, shares that she has been “a believer since a young child but my faith has grown more in this church than all other churches I have attended.” Adds Rosa, “I am so blessed that we now have a church home in this great building with this great congregation. I have learned that Methodists have a big heart for the community, and I feel like I have known these new friends for a long time because we all share the love of Christ.”
 
Fresh out of seminary, Rev. Trey Comstock is thrilled to step in as the associate pastor of this international congregation. Having served in a public health role in Paraguay, and researched the AIDS crisis in Kenya, international missions have been a personal passion for some time. “I’m going to dig back into my Spanish textbooks and work on becoming more capable of conversations, but I am excited about this opportunity,” he says. “It was a cool thing during the children’s sermon on our first Sunday to have the adults repeat in Spanish some of the phrases the children were saying about being the church together,” he adds. “We won’t be having an English speaking pastor and a Spanish speaking pastor here. Both Artie and I will do both, to further reinforce our unity.”

According to Artie, “The Lord has blessed us with second and third generation Hispanics as well as multi-ethnic and multi-racial families from almost two dozen nationalities who now have the option of worshipping the Lord in English or Spanish.” Therefore, CrossRoads will now offer Sunday school for both English- and Spanish-speaking attendees and three worship services: 8:30 a.m. -Traditional in English, 11 a.m.  - Contemporary in English and 12:15 - Contemporary in Spanish. “Many places offer English as a Second Language classes, which we plan to do,” adds Artie, “but we are also going to offer SSL- Spanish as Second Language classes for our members who want to be able to better converse with our Latino members.”
 
Next Steps
Immediate challenges include milestones like getting the word out and putting up new signage.  The church secured a front-page article in the South Belt-Ellington Leader newspaper to announce the merger, and a follow up article about the official Launch Sunday. “We are also putting together a 30-, 60- and 90-day calendar for our ministry action plan,” explains Artie. “We will be working on ministry action plans (MAPs) for each of the eight ministry areas of the church which are: worship, prayer, witness, connect, disciple, serve, student ministries and children’s ministries. Co-chairs are leading ministry areas from each of the former two churches, as they work on developing, implementing and building teams. Adds Linda,  “I believe this is the only multicultural church in this area, so it is a tremendous blessing to be a part of it and see the church filled with people of all colors and ages again. We are just beginning to see great things come from CrossRoads UMC.” Learn more about Crossroads, located at 10030 Scarsdale Blvd, Houston, TX 77089 by visiting their website at: 
http://www.crossroads-umc.org/