Destined to Lead: Essie L. Bellfield

11/9/2018
  By: Sherri Gragg - En Español   A Baby Girl Named Essie In 1932, during some of the darkest days of the Great Depression, an African American lumberjack and his wife, a maid, decided to leave the gangs and slums of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the deep Jim Crow South. As they turned toward their future in Jennings, Louisiana, Albert Lagard shouldered the family’s few belongings. His wife, Ollie, cradled their first and only child.   A baby girl they named Essie.   The world in which young ...

No One Goes Hungry Here: Gladewater First UMC Hosts Community Thanksgiving Dinner

11/8/2018
By: Sherri Gragg - En Español   The tables are spread. Platters piled high with turkey steam next to stuffing and homemade casseroles, cookies, cakes and pies.   But it isn’t the third Thursday in November. It is the day before.   No One Goes Hungry Each year on the day before Thanksgiving, Gladewater FUMC hosts a Community Thanksgiving Dinner to ensure that no one in their community goes hungry on the holiday. The week before the feast, the Gladewater FUMC youth group holds a turkey fry ...

Church Security: What Steps Can Your Church Take Today?

11/8/2018
  By: Sherri Gragg   Each year, Peggy Miller, Managing Accountant and Statistician for the Texas Annual Conference, works to provide an enrichment opportunity for church administrators during Annual Conference. This past May, she offered a church security seminar. More than 100 people attended the event, prompting her to offer additional security training this autumn in the Central South District with professional church security consultant, Glen Evans.   According to Miller, Evans insists that ...

Come to Church! The Legacy of Jefferson UMC

11/8/2018
Rev. Brenda Lucas - Photo Credit: Shannon Martin By: Sherri Gragg   Circuit Riders and a Silver Bell Jefferson UMC has a long and distinguished history. Circuit riders first sowed the seeds of the Gospel in Jefferson, Texas when steamboat traffic fueled its growth, turning it into one of the most important towns in North East Texas. The church grew along with the town, worshipping first in a log building and then, in 1860, a brick building built by slaves. The structure, which seated more than...

Come, Get to Know Us: Hardy Memorial’s Walk-Through Bethlehem

11/8/2018
  For several years, Hardy Memorial UMC offered their community the chance to travel back in time from the comfort of their own cars to the night Christ was born. But each year, as the line of cars stretched further and further down Kings Highway, faithful volunteers grew wearier and wearier.   “The Drive-Through Bethlehem took a lot of volunteers to set up. It reached the point where we were experiencing volunteer fatigue,” said the Rev. Patrick Evans.   Keep Bethlehem. Lose the Cars. His ...

You Will Be Found: Broadway Brings a Message of Hope to Wildwood UMC

11/8/2018
By: Sherri Gragg   What does the Gospel and Broadway have in common?    Wildwood United Methodist Church.   As the staff of Wildwood UMC bonded over their shared love of Broadway, worship directors began to envision a sermon and worship series built around redemptive themes within their favorite Broadway musicals. This fall, the dream became a reality with “The Broadway Gospel” sermon series. Although the format for each Sunday was a bit different, Worship Directors Michael Vaughn and Alex ...

Christmas Giving for Christ

11/8/2018
By: Rev. Melvin Amerson The Rev. Melvin Amerson, stewardship consultant with the Texas Methodist Foundation, offers practical ideas to encourage your congregation to give generously during the Advent season. Soon the seasons of Advent and Christmas will be with us, and we will be inundated with commercials and product advertisements on television, radio, and the internet. Consumerism at times overshadows the focus of the season. Many believers exchange gifts with co-workers, friends, and ...

Ebony Bishops’ Statement to the Council of Bishops and the People Called United Methodists on the Resurgence of Racism in the United States

11/7/2018
Ebony Bishops’ Statement to the Council of Bishops and the People Called United Methodists on the Resurgence of Racism in the United States Adopted by Council of Bishops on November 6, 2018 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.” (Luke 4:18 NRSV) Racism is harmful to all of society. And we are alarmed by its recent resurgence...

2019 Laos Trip

11/6/2018
The Center for Missional Excellence is leading a trip to Laos in 2019 for those interested in learning about ways Texas Annual Conference churches can partner with worship communities in the Lao Samphan Methodist Church. The trip will involve travel to several different villages and conversations with faith leaders throughout the country. The hope is that participants will begin to develop long-term, mutually fruitful relationships with the Methodist communities in Laos. The trip is June 30 - ...

Workshops: Being a Calm Presence in Anxious Times

11/2/2018
As pastors, we come into contact with anxious people on a day-to-day basis. Whether it is church members awaiting test results, our lay leader wanting to discuss a new ministry idea, or a couple making decisions for their family, anxiety surrounds us. As if that were not enough, pastors are now facing questions about what might be next for the denomination at the upcoming General Conference. "Being a Calm Presence in Anxious Times," will equip pastors to recognize anxiety in these situations and...

Words Matter

10/28/2018
Words matter. While all murder is evil and tragic, when anti-Semitism and racism drive violent acts, the evil is multiplied. We must condemn all forms of hatred before and after such acts occur. Bishop Scott Jones

A Front Porch Church: The Church at Woodforest

10/25/2018
By: Sherri Gragg   On a late September Sunday evening, The Woodlands United Methodist Church threw a party to celebrate a ministry dream come true. On an undeveloped stretch of land in the Woodforest community, children played, parents caught up with each other, and hot dogs sizzled on the grill. It was an idyllic background from which to launch a new season of ministry for The Woodlands UMC, a church built on values of ministry to families and the premise of what Senior Pastor the Rev. Edmund ...

Living on the Edge: The Courageous Leadership Imperative

10/25/2018
By: Sherri Gragg En Español   Thirty TAC clergy were selected to attend the Courageous Leadership Imperative to network with other leaders and gain fresh inspiration to pursue bold and creative ministry.   Soaring spiral staircases lead to a ten-story playground slide back to earth. A school bus juts from the side of the building, teetering in mid-air. The basement of the 600 thousand square foot shoe factory is a “Fungeon,” complete with a man-made cave system, eerie lighting and a warren of ...

Scrapdaddy, A Story of Redemption

10/25/2018
Photos by Shannon Martin By: Sherri Gragg   Mark Bradford, “Scrapdaddy,” flits about his studio, introducing his guests to some of the most famous champions of the Houston Art Car Parade. Towering kinetic sculptures crafted of steel, aluminum, copper and iron reflect the rising sun as he calls each of their names.   Jadee, Mr. Green, Ozibod…   Elee, Rancho, CharChar…   This is the world of Scrapdaddy. Soaring. Magical. Awe-inspiring. One man’s breathtaking beauty brought forth from the refuse ...

We Love All God’s Children is for Every Church

10/25/2018
By: Sherri Gragg   When the Rev. Jill Daniel accepted her new role as Director of the We Love All God’s Children initiative, she was eager to provide an abundance of quality resources to churches throughout the Conference. Her goal was, and remains, to empower each and every church to fully participate in We Love All God’s Children in their own unique way.   Pilot Training Program in Southeast Texas Recently, Daniel took a new step in pursuit of this goal with the establishment of pilot ...

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