Local pastors pray for Cuba

7/22/2021
Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” Daniel 9:18-19 Positional Statement from The Cuban Pastors of The Texas Annual Conference on Recent Events in Cuba: Even as we are physically outside of Cuba, we share ...

Church reaches new members at neighborhood pools and parks

7/22/2021
By Lindsay Peyton - En Español   Grab your lawn chairs, picnic basket, cooler – and maybe even a beach towel. It’s time for church. Instead of asking families to come to campus, Memorial Drive UMC is offering to meet and greet current and prospective members off the beaten path. The congregation’s “Pop-Up Worship Series” meets for prayer, praise and fellowship at unusual settings, including parks, clubhouses and even swimming pools.   The idea of a “pop-up” worship first came to Memorial Drive ...

80s worship service inspires church

7/22/2021
  By Lindsay Peyton - En Español   A few months into the pandemic, Rev. Andrew Payne found a way to get creative – and use a good dose of humor – to keep his congregants inspired and connected to church. The pastor at Lakeside UMC, located north of Houston, took his streamed services to a new level – and now that type of innovation is carrying into the congregation’s new normal. A little comedic relief, he added, can help open hearts and minds in a serious way.   It started with a joke. “I got ...

Church receives free roof after storm

7/22/2021
By Lindsay Peyton   When Rev. William Lucas arrived at his new appointment, FUMC Mont Belvieu, he was greeted by blue tarps stretched over the roof. Inside, there were no floors. The walls had been stripped to the studs. The damage resulted from Winter Storm Uri; burst pipes flooded the entire structure. While months had passed, the church was still recovering – and had embarked on a fundraising campaign to repair its home.   In January, Lucas was appointed to serve as Senior Pastor at the ...

Summerfest builds relationships with neighbors

7/22/2021
  By Lindsay Peyton   FUMC Bryan’s campus recently transformed into festival grounds complete with bounce houses, face-painting and a miniature train for Summerfest. In addition to heralding in the season, Associate Pastor Jennifer Webber said the church was providing an opportunity for fellowship for members – and for the community to join in as well.   “Let’s face it, what Jesus does is pretty fun and exciting,” Webber said.   So why not share in that spirit with the community? The church ...

Leading pastoral interns to success

7/22/2021
By Lindsay Peyton   Churches in the Texas Annual Conference are preparing to welcome new faces in the fall. The Center for Leadership Formation is debuting a new and improved College Pastoral Internship Project – CPIP 2.0. The program will provide greater opportunities for students to discern their callings – and give churches fresh eyes and helping hands during the school year.    CPIP 2.0 gives interns a chance to explore various types of ministry, including youth, children’s and music ...

Perseverance through rocky start pays off in church planting

7/8/2021
  By Lindsay Peyton  - En Español   The news about the Rev. Alex Zeisig’s new appointment was disconcerting at best. He was scheduled to become pastor at an already established church plant – the west campus at St. Peter’s UMC Katy. The congregation was struggling, and attendance waning, because the plant had lost its previous pastor, resulting in a schism. Zeisig, however, was undeterred. In fact, his commitment to the members who remained only grew stronger.   Regularly, before Zeisig arrived,...

Church plants for food insecurity

7/8/2021
By Lindsay Peyton - En Español   This summer, something new is growing in the Texas Annual Conference. A community garden is under construction in Houston’s Riverside UMC, in collaboration with the University of Houston Wesley Foundation. Fresh fruits and vegetables from the site will be used to combat food insecurity in the area. Further south, plants are being harvested in Santa Fe, Texas, at a shared garden created by Aldersgate UMC and nearby Saltgrass Cowboy Church. Members of both ...

Small UMC with too much money serves community

7/8/2021
  By Lindsay Peyton   Members of a small rural East Texas church have big plans to make positive change in their community. Mt. Zion UMC in DeBerry invested in their neighbors – at a time when many needed their help more than ever.   The Rev. Gene Evans was not sure what to expect when he was first appointed pastor of Mt. Zion UMC in January. The church is located in DeBerry, an unincorporated community in Panola County. The town has a population of about 3,300 – and sits closer to Shreveport ...

From teacher to preacher

7/8/2021
  By Lindsay Peyton   Everyone knew that Emanuel Echols was destined one day for the pulpit. Everyone, that is, except for Echols himself. “Are you sure you haven’t heard a calling?” became a common refrain from his teachers and family. But he would laugh and dismiss their questions. In fact, he did hear a calling – but it was to do something else entirely. He wanted to become a teacher. Through a serendipitous series of events, he now serves in both ways.   “I still to this day cannot believe ...

Undie Sundays at Livingston UMC

7/8/2021
By Lindsay Peyton   This summer, it’s Undie Sundays for the United Methodist Women of Livingston FUMC. President Suzanne Ganzer has announced that group members should start collecting underwear and socks for elementary children. By the end of August, she will gather up the donations and deliver them to four area schools.   Underwear might seem to go unnoticed, but Ganzer explained that not having the garments can be extremely difficult for children. Sometimes, parents can only provide clothes ...

Churches create Taste of Beaumont for restaurants threatened by pandemic

6/24/2021
  By Lindsay Peyton   FUMC Beaumont and Trinity UMC have joined forces to encourage congregants to pick up their forks and support local restaurants. Together, the churches created “Taste of Beaumont,” a self-guided culinary tour. Designed to show their love of the city by promoting local eateries, church members want to reinvigorate restaurants whose futures were threatened by the pandemic.   The Rev. Julius Wardley, Associate Pastor at FUMC Beaumont, was aware just how hard the pandemic hit ...

Going to prison to be a beacon of light

6/24/2021
  By Lindsay Peyton - En Español   In the past 17 years, Jim Cooper and Dr. William Fach’s prison ministry has never skipped a beat. The two members of Faithbridge Church in Spring have traveled together multiple days a week, about 150 miles round trip each time, to offer Bible study, worship, Baptism and communion to inmates. When COVID-19 closed prison doors for a year, the ministry was on hold. Finally, Cooper and Fach have been invited to return -- in a limited capacity.   Their visits won’...

Districts offer Return Back to Church graphics and social media to churches

6/24/2021
  By Lindsay Peyton   The nine districts in the Texas Annual Conference are simultaneously launching a new “Return” campaign to ease the transition from isolation during the pandemic to school, church and their community. The “Return to School, Return to Church, Return to Community” initiative is designed to make it easy for churches to invite new members back to church in the fall. A planning guide outlines a schedule and communications, as well as offering free graphics, slides, signage and ...

Blessing of the Boats

6/24/2021
By Lindsay Peyton   The Rev. Ryan Stratton is a firm believer that pastors should not be confined inside church walls and that prayer should not be kept behind closed doors. That’s why, on a recent Saturday, he could be found marching down a dock, armed with a squeeze bottle of holy water, ready to pray for families waiting in their boats. The 5th annual Blessing of the Boats took place at the Scenic View Motel and RV Park on Lone Star Lake on May 28.   “One thing I don’t want for people to say...

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