Pandemic painting mural offers community creative outlet to cry, contemplate, contribute and celebrate

10/22/2020
By Lindsay Peyton En Español   For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven – including a time to paint. Houston’s Westminster UMC invites the community to pick up a brush and join in creative expression for its Pandemic Project. The final product, a mural in the front lawn of the church, will symbolize how creativity became essential during the pandemic. The artwork demonstrates that making something positive out of this dark time is still possible.   Senior ...

Churches get creative with trunk or treats, digital scavenger hunts and pumpkin patches

10/22/2020
By Lindsay Peyton - En Español   A number of churches in the Texas Annual Conference are making sure that the fun continues this fall and still hosting their traditional pumpkin patches and trunk-or-treats. These congregations realize that children look forward to the changing weather, decorating pumpkins and preparing their Halloween costumes.  They refuse to let COVID-19 hamper fall festivities -- and instead are offering opportunities for safe fellowship. These events also serve as a ...

Two pastors share how their churches are approaching in-person worship in 2020

10/22/2020
By Lindsay Peyton   While many churches are reopening across the Texas Annual Conference, some are remaining online and exploring best practices in preparation of returning to in-person worship. In this second part of our series on coming back to the building, we spoke to two pastors who started church plants that have now grown by leaps and bounds. The church still has a mission and ministry to do – and these pastors share their insight on communicating the gospel in this season.   Jason ...

Mennonites and Baptists join Methodists for hurricane recovery in Newton County

10/22/2020
By Lindsay Peyton   The Mennonites from Weaverland Disaster Response have been a fixture in Houston, helping with Hurricane Harvey recovery for the past three years. Their teams stay at Cypress UMC, and they have formed a long-term relationship with the church. Now, the Mennonites are joining United Methodist volunteers to help Newton County after Hurricane Laura, as well as crews from the nearby Baptist church. Together, these teams from all denominations are making a real difference – and ...

Clergy couple serving together at the same church align priorities

10/22/2020
By Lindsay Peyton   There are countless reasons that could have prevented Randy and Susan Hageman from meeting – but God was at work, putting everything in motion. Now this clergy couple has been married for 34 years, with two children Kathryn Holmes and William Hageman and one grandchild Charlotte Holmes. Randy serves as senior pastor for the Conference’ Gateway Community Church in Webster, where Susan also works as pastor of the women’s ministry. Whether at home or at the helm of the ...

Lament, Perseverance, Innovation and Purpose

10/8/2020
En Español Thank you for faithful, innovative ministry in a difficult year! I asked the editor to put that opening sentence in large type so you would be sure to get my message. I have been hearing so much about the pastors and local churches of our Conference doing such great ministry under highly stressful and unusual circumstances. I am grateful for what God is doing through you!   I want to share thoughts about four words based on the biblical stories about the exile.  The starting text is ...

Innovative church plant builds on home groups without a building

10/8/2020
Photos courtesy of Oikon United Methodist Church (shot before Covid-19) By Lindsay Peyton   Most church plants start with a front door and a worship service. Members are then encouraged to join a small group and become more of a part of the church community. At Oikon UMC, that order is reversed. The Rev. Mike Whang places the focus on small groups, which meet in house churches. The strong sense of community that resulted, as well as the strong presence of God, has been remarkable to witness.   ...

Churches return to in-person worship after restrictions lift

10/8/2020
First United Methodist Church, Atlanta, Texas gathers for worship with practicing social distancing and sitting families together.   By Lindsay Peyton - En Español   Churches across the Texas Annual Conference are celebrating the return to in-person services. Still, several are retaining their online presence, one of a number of lessons learned from COVID-19. Congregations of all sizes, now seven months into the pandemic, are pushing forward, with many reporting that attendance, giving and ...

Cuban clergy couple navigate new country and new language

10/8/2020
By Lindsay Peyton - En Español    When it comes to facing challenges, Pastors Frank and Elizabeth Acosta feel blessed to lean on each other. Because they know each other’s strength and how to balance duties, they are poised to divide and conquer almost any obstacle. Together, the Acostas have navigated moving to a new country, learning a new language and attending two different seminaries. They band together in marriage and parenting, as well as both pastoring at First Methodist Conroe for the ...

Simple ways to show you care on pastor appreciation day

10/8/2020
By Lindsay Peyton Being a pastor can be hard work at times. It’s not the type of job where you can clock in and clock out - or where calls can wait until business hours. Pastors preside over the most important moments of their congregation’s lives, baptisms, marriages and funerals. They help their church progress in mission, evangelism and discipleship. Add a pandemic to the equation, and clergy have even fuller schedules. They have spent most of 2020 caring for their flocks in the midst of ...

Black University responds to civil unrest and pandemic caring for students online

9/28/2020
By Lindsay Peyton   Safeguarding students during the coronavirus pandemic remains the top priority at Wiley College, a private university associated with the UMC, located in Marshall, Texas. President and CEO Dr. Herman J. Felton, Jr. announced plans to continue virtual instruction throughout the 2020 fall semester. The college is going the extra mile to ensure students are able to continue their studies remotely – as well as maintaining emotional counseling, Bible study and worship.   Felton ...

Church marks Hispanic Heritage Month with Grand Celebration for Immigrant Children

9/24/2020
By Lindsay Peyton - En Español   Servants of Christ, a United Methodist Church in Houston, opened its doors the evening of Monday, Sept. 14 and welcomed neighboring Latino children for an evening of fun and celebration. The event also heralded Hispanic Heritage Month, which starts Sept. 15 and continues through Oct. 15 each year.   The church was filled with games – basketball hoops, a Giant Connect Four and an area for rounds of musical chairs. Volunteers served up hot dogs and popcorn – and ...

Clergy couple’s love of social justice, diversity and community service strengthens marriage

9/24/2020
By Lindsay Peyton   Being a pastor can be hard work – but it’s a labor of love for the Rev. David Horton, Pastor at St. Luke’s UMC Gethsemane Campus and his wife, the Rev. Brandi Horton, Senior Associate Pastor at First Methodist Houston. They are an example of a clergy couple, completely committed to their churches and each other.   It’s tradition at the Horton house to stop what they’re doing, take time and gather around the kitchen table for dinner. They say a prayer before the meal -- and ...

Galveston church delivers 33,000 diapers to Hurricane Laura victims

9/24/2020
By Lindsay Peyton   Shortly after Hurricane Laura made landfall, Moody Methodist Church in Galveston sprang into action. The congregation began collecting supplies – like tarps, roofing nails, shovels, bottled water – and made a delivery to Orange, Texas. Included in the full truckload of donations were several cases of diapers, provided by the Galveston Diaper Bank. Little did the church realize that diaper delivery would soon multiply – turning into thousands of diapers.   Margarita Sims, ...

Showers, bikes and peacemeals a compassionate look at how one church is serving homeless people

9/24/2020
Galveston (Texas) Central Church opens its doors to community members, many of whom are experiencing homelessness. The United Methodist church provides a safe space and a variety of services, including internet access, meals, showers and laundry facilities. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.​   By Lindsay Peyton -  En Español   Galveston Central Church is so much more than a building with a steeple. This congregation transforms into a bustling kitchen, where members cook alongside the homeless and ...

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