Top 10 stories of 2021

1/13/2022
Dear Friends, As we move into 2022, taking a look in the rearview is beneficial – it’s been a year full of trials, tribulations, as well as hope and faith. We celebrated miraculous vaccines and grieved when COVID variants arose and we lost loved ones. We weathered a devastating winter storm, while still struggling with the pandemic. Many times, I saw a spirit of resilience rising up in our clergy and church members like never before.   At Annual Conference, we focused on “Faith, Hope, Love,” ...

Church provides housing for unplaced foster children

1/13/2022
By Lindsay Peyton - En Español   It all started in 2014 when a kid wandered into the student ministry at Kingwood UMC looking for a glass of water. “Then he brought his siblings,” longtime church member Nanette Lynch recalled. “There were four of them, and they never missed a Sunday.” She had never considered getting involved in a foster ministry before then, but, one thing led to another. The Oasis Ministry was born, One Love Collaborative sprung up, and now KUMC has a dedicated space on ...

Fitness builds faith at any age

1/13/2022
By Lindsay Peyton - En Español   Imagine a space with fitness classes for all levels and ages, a gym for adult basketball pick-up games or pickleball and a volleyball league. Nearby, children learn soccer skills or practice shooting hoops. You might picture a health club or a gym designed for the community. Instead, this describes the recreation ministry of The Woodlands UMC. “The goal is to bring people to Jesus, though sports and fitness,” Athletic Director Garrett Ritter said.   He explained...

Pastor: what is innovation, growth, where is hope?

1/13/2022
By Lindsay Peyton   New Year’s resolutions aren’t only reserved for people who want to get into better shape or start a new hobby. Church leaders often set goals of how they would like to move forward and guide their congregations into a more fruitful future. Churches in the Texas Annual Conference continue to adjust to the challenges of the pandemic and uncertainties resulting from a postponed General Conference. Cross Connection recently reached out to three pastors and ask about their plans ...

UMC Pastor wins Dickinson City Council seat

1/13/2022
By Lindsay Peyton   Pastor Johnnie Simpson Jr. adheres to the belief that faith should not be constrained inside of church walls. That’s why the congregation he serves, Faith UMC in Dickinson, makes outreach a top priority. It’s also at the heart of his reasoning to run for office this November. He was sworn in to Dickinson City Council Position 1 on Dec. 14, 2021.   “I’m a strong proponent of the church on the public square,” Simpson said. “I feel like the church should be involved.”   But ...

TAC holds Special Session to approve funds for BSA Survivor Trust Fund

1/13/2022
Photo by Mike DuBose, United Methodist News Service Pending court approval of a settlement agreement in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) bankruptcy case, United Methodists have agreed to contribute $30 million to a $3 billion Survivor Trust Fund that will receive contributions from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), insurance companies and charter organizations.  Every annual conference is asked to raise funds to contribute toward the $30 million Survivor Trust Fund.   Delegates from the Texas ...

Advent begins with amazing live nativity and street party

12/9/2021
  By Lindsay Peyton   It’s the most wonderful time of the year – when West University UMC closes the streets, making way for a musical and nativity scene, complete with wise men, shepherds and angels. A manger is erected, and lights are hung in the surrounding oak trees. The tradition held an even greater significance this year, after being canceled by COVID last Christmas. “Christmas Alive is back,” Director of Music Ministries Lynne Jackson said.   The event is held early each year to shift ...

Church bells ringin’ again at FUMC Marshall

12/9/2021
By Lindsay Peyton   The bells in the steeple at FUMC Marshall had been silent for more than a decade. When suddenly chimes sounded out from the downtown church, residents stopped in their tracks. “This was our surprise,” Lead Pastor David Luckert said. “All of the sudden people wanted to know what was going on.”   An electronic carillon was installed atop the historic sanctuary, which dates to 1861, and loudspeakers projected the sound around Marshall. The system was ready to go, just in time ...

Confirmation classes engage in competition to help those in need

12/9/2021
  By Lindsay Peyton   The bells were ringing – at both ends of the mall. On Dec. 2, FUMC Bryan’s confirmation class faced off against A&M UMC’s confirmation class. Students from each congregation took turns with a Salvation Army bucket to see which team could raise the most money.   It’s a friendly competition for a worthy cause, Jeff Hobbs, Director of Children and Families Ministries at FUMC Bryan explained. When the results were tallied the following day, his church ended up taking home the ...

Congregations work together to distribute food boxes and help more people

12/9/2021
By Lindsay Peyton - En Español   Rev. Wade Floyd was appointed pastor of FUMC Bay City just in time to participate in one normal Matagorda County Christmas Food Box Drive before COVID-19 changed everything. The whole community would get involved in the event, launched years ago by the Bay City Police, he explained. Business owners, schools, churches and residents collected canned and dry goods, and then assembled them into boxes to distribute. As volunteers worked side-by-side to ensure those ...

Tyler church works together to help raise money for custodian staff

12/9/2021
By Lindsay Peyton - En Español   Across the street from Pollard UMC in Tyler stands Woods Elementary, where custodians work around the clock to keep the school clean and safe. “They’re not always seen,” Rev. Collin Taylor said. His congregation, however, definitely does take notice – and wanted to thank these unsung heroes for their hard work.   Marla Matthews, Director of Missions and Discipleship, said Pollard UMC often works to help area schools. “But we were trying to do something new,” she...

School partnership with church has children reading

11/11/2021
By Lindsay Peyton  - En Español   What does it take to be a good neighbor? Answering that question became a mission for members at St. Marks UMC in Houston. The quest eventually led the church to Clemente Martinez Elementary.   Rev. Katie Eichler, associate pastor for children, youth and families, explained that I-45 often stands as a physical barrier between St. Mark’s and the community it serves. “This highway is a clear divider between us and our neighbors,” she said. “The people on one side...

Asking why drives purpose of one church

11/11/2021
  By Lindsay Peyton - En Español   Change was already in the air when the Rev. Jeremy Wester was appointed to FUMC Rosenberg in February 2020. His role became walking alongside the congregation as they discerned where to head next. The pandemic actually accelerated the conversation -- and led the church in new directions. Today the congregation is poised for new possibilities, following God into the future.   Food, family and faith – those were the recurring themes at FUMC Rosenberg when Wester ...

Waller church serves up hope and Thanksgiving dinner

11/11/2021
  By Lindsay Peyton   Even though her congregation at Waller UMC is small, Rev. Cathy Beasley had a big dream. She saw opportunity for outreach, a large building stood behind the church. “We have this most beautiful annex building,” the pastor explained. “I would walk in and just pray, God show us what we’re supposed to do with the building. I heard God saying, Fill it with children.”   Now, that vision is a reality. The Waller UMC annex has opened its doors to do God’s work as a new Hope ...

HR 101 what I didn’t learn in seminary

11/11/2021
  By Lindsay Peyton   Churches are a far cry from a corporation in many ways. Nonetheless, just like in any business, churches rely on employees to function. That means they must have human resource (HR) management for finding, recruiting, training and retaining employees, as well as administering payroll and benefits.   “Certain principles apply, whether it’s a church or not,” Gary Buck, vice president of HR at Cimarron Energy, explained. “You still have performance issues and face growth as an...

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