Small town pastor refuses to slow down, as he nears 100th birthday

10/14/2021
By Lindsay Peyton -  En Español   FUMC Big Sandy will soon celebrate the 100th birthday of their pastor Dr. Jack Hetzel. Standing at the helm of the congregation is a veteran, an educator, a world-traveler and a disciple. He has ministered around the globe – and now hangs his hat in East Texas, about half an hour north of Tyler. That is, until he departs for more preaching engagements abroad.   Hetzel had hoped to gather with friends and family at the church, but neighboring pastors told him ...

New MOPS ministry is a game-changer for parents during COVID

10/14/2021
By Lindsay Peyton - En Español   Being a member of Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) was a game-changer for Marisa Caster. The group provided her with an instant community of other moms – and gave them all a space to connect at church. But when her family moved to Dayton, Caster could not find a MOPS group. Instead, she decided to start one of her own at FUMC Dayton.   Being a mom can make it hard to go to church, Caster explained. She remembers being so busy at times, that Easter and Christmas ...

Local church gets rid of over 100k in debt even during pandemic

10/14/2021
By Lindsay Peyton    There were so many reasons that eliminating debt might have seemed impossible for Woodville UMC.  First of all, there was the amount. More than $100,000 was needed. Then, add the pandemic, and a soon-to-be reassigned pastor to the equation. But not even obstacles like these could stop the congregation from reaching its goal. Now, the church is marching into a debt free future, ready to reach for new heights.   Most would advise against eliminating debt during a pandemic, ...

Walking trail inspired by pastor helps create worship and community

10/14/2021
By Lindsay Peyton    A closer walk with Thee is now only a few steps away at Aldersgate UMC in College Station. The Trinity Trail offers a contemplative path through the woods, complete with resting places and scripture to guide the way. All are welcome to go on the journey – and to consider the important components of discipleship highlighted along the way.   Senior Pastor, the Rev. Mario Parga was inspired by his own walks in the woods in Colorado, where he used to serve, to create the ...

Peace, Love and Pumpkins

10/14/2021
By Lindsay Peyton    The pumpkins are coming. That was the announcement Pastor Jeremy Wester posted on Facebook in late September. The excitement is brewing for the pumpkin patch, a fixture on FUMC Rosenberg’s campus, which is one of many destinations for fall fun at churches across the Texas Annual Conference. In addition to serving as fundraisers, the pumpkin patches offer opportunities for fellowship, outreach and service.   FUMC Rosenberg welcomes fall – and families – to its pumpkin patch...

Mike Bonem serves as next APL facilitator

10/14/2021
Bishop Scott J. Jones is pleased to announce that Mr. Mike Bonem accepted the invitation to serve as the next facilitator of the Texas Conference’s Advancing Pastoral Leadership (APL) Program. Bishop Jones convened a search team that evaluated several candidates and the team recommended that Mr. Bonem be hired. “Mike has an excellent track record of facilitating clergy groups and consulting with local congregations. While he is not a United Methodist, his long-standing work with United Methodist...

Radio church for senior living facility

9/23/2021
 By Lindsay Peyton - En Español   St. John’s UMC Texas City and assisted living facility Elmcroft of the Mainland are neighbors, so close that the congregation could wave to residents. “They’re right next door,” Senior Pastor, the Rev. Stephanie Hughes said. Still, the two had never worshipped together. That is, until COVID-19 shook everything up. “It changed the game,” Hughes said.   Before the pandemic, church members would play games with Elmcroft residents and sing carols for the seniors at...

Church hosts speech therapy group for stroke patients

9/23/2021
  By Lindsay Peyton    On the first and third Thursday of each month, Strawbridge UMC in Kingwood becomes a refuge for individuals with aphasia, a condition that limits speech and language after a stroke or brain damage. The church has hosted the group for the past three years, providing therapy and a social outlet at no charge.   Anyone with aphasia is welcome to attend, organizer and church lay leader Kevin Larson explained. Participants have varying capabilities. “Some can speak in full ...

Hispanic Leadership Academy is ultimate training ground

9/23/2021
  By Lindsay Peyton - En Español   The Texas Annual Conference is debuting a new three-year program, the Hispanic Leadership Academy. Both theological and pedagogical tools will be incorporated to help laity reach their full potential and transform into leaders in their home churches.   Rev. Dayimi Pimentel serves as Racial and Ethnic Ministries Coordinator for the Texas Annual Conference. She explained that the Academy is designed to assist members of Spanish congregations in the Conference, ...

New church name same unified mission

9/23/2021
  By Lindsay Peyton     The name may be new, but the faces are the same at The Gathering Church in Texas City. Seated in the pews are members of Grace UMC and First UMC Texas City. The congregations merged earlier this year. Now, they are unified in mission and moving forward for the transformation of the world for Jesus Christ.   “We brought two churches together,” the Rev. James Littleton, Jr. explained.   The merger officially happened in February, but worshipping together was delayed until ...

District laity recognized with awards

9/23/2021
  By Lindsay Peyton    The East District is recognizing two outstanding lay leaders for their central role in ministry, with the Silver and Gold Award. The honor was created this year by Superintendent Rev. Dr. Richard P. White, along with the District Leadership Team. One male and one female laity member will be recognized annually in the future.     Virginia Henderson Winston and Wayne Haglund are the first recipients of the Silver and Gold Award. Both are from Lufkin and well known in their ...

Texas churches send supplies to Louisiana

9/9/2021
  By Lindsay Peyton - En Español   Churches from the Texas Annual Conference sent two large trucks of supplies to Ida survivors over the weekend. And churches will continue to fill up trucks and send them until their needs are met. On Sunday, Sept. 5, Bishop Scott J. Jones and his wife Mary Lou headed to Baton Rouge, unloading boxes of supplies alongside some 50 volunteers from Broadmoore United Methodist Church. And this is just the beginning of how the TAC Churches plan to help its Louisiana ...

2022 Apportionments won’t increase thanks to $400,000 gift

9/9/2021
By Lindsay Peyton - En Español   Relief is on its way for churches in the Texas Annual Conference. Usually, apportionments for the following year are calculated over the summer and statements are mailed to Conference churches on Sept. 1. This year, however, COVID-19 caused the Conference to take a second look at the amounts being requested. In this challenging time, a solution was found to help local churches continue to weather the storm. “This is good news,” Conference Treasurer Rev. Carol ...

Linden UMC opening school for underserved community

9/9/2021
By Lindsay Peyton   Members of Linden UMC are preparing to open the doors to a new day care facility this fall. “Now summer is over, and we’re ready,” Dr. Kelly Krone said. “We’ve got boxes to unpack and furniture to put together. It’s all starting to take shape.”   Krone was appointed to the church about a year ago. At that time, conversations about housing a day care had begun but soon stalled. The chief concern members had was space.   “At that time, they didn’t think it was something they ...

Church gives free haircuts

9/9/2021
   By Lindsay Peyton   Sending students back to school on the right foot starts with a great haircut at Journey of Faith UMC in Humble. On Sundays last month, the church turned into a barber shop offering children in the community haircuts free of charge. The smiling faces that accompany each new ‘do are well worth the effort, Rev. Stephen Goldsmith, Pastor of Journey of Faith explained.   Helping students head back to the classroom with confidence has long been a priority for Journey of Faith....

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