Three bishops to be elected next week

10/27/2022
An episcopal candidate is announced at the 2016 South Central Jurisdictional Conference. By Lindsay Peyton   Three new bishops will be elected by delegates of the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church when it meets next month in Houston. In addition, the Jurisdictional Conference will determine where current bishops, along with those newly elected, will be assigned.   The event will be held Wednesday, Nov. 2 through Saturday, Nov. 5 at Houston FUMC’s Westchase Campus, 3663 ...

SCJ Committee on Episcopacy Recommends Episcopal Election and Coverage Plan

10/17/2022
The South Central Jurisdiction Committee on Episcopacy, in consultation with the College of Bishops, affirmed their recommendation that the Jurisdictional Conference elect three new bishops when it meets in November. With three elections, the SCJ would have a total of eight bishops available to be assigned to the ten episcopal areas. The Committee on Episcopacy along with the College of Bishops will meet again in Houston before jurisdictional conference convenes to make a recommendation for ...

National Program Will Award Over Two Million Dollars in Grants to 16 Historically Significant Congregations

10/14/2022
Author The National Trust for Historic Preservation The National Fund for Sacred Places, a program of Partners for Sacred Places in collaboration with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is pleased to announce its 2022 grantees, totaling $2,165,000 in funds awarded. Sixteen historically significant congregations have been admitted into the prestigious program, which provides capital grants of up to $250,000 and hands-on technical assistance to congregations undertaking significant ...

Churches serve up fun with pumpkin patches

10/13/2022
By Lindsay Peyton   A number of churches across the Texas Annual Conference carve out room on their fall calendars – and space on their campuses – for pumpkin patches. Members volunteer to unload the gourds and serve as cashiers for these fundraisers that benefit both congregations and the community. Pastors find that, among the vines, there are opportunities for fellowship, outreach and a whole lot of fall fun.   Meet your neighbors in the pumpkin patch at Huntsville FUMC   The front lawn of ...

Coping with disaffiliation

10/13/2022
The Rev. Jeff Olive, a Texas Conference district superintendent, presides at an Aug. 7 meeting at The Woodlands Methodist Church called to consider disaffiliation. Members of The Woodlands Methodist, in The Woodlands community north of Houston, voted by a 96.3% margin to leave The United Methodist Church. Photo courtesy of The Woodlands Methodist. Courtesy of UMNS By Ronnie Crocker and Shannon W. Martin   Scrolling through her social media feed, Haley Brown came across a post that landed like...

New community establishes roots with refugee-run farm

10/13/2022
Photo Credit Kelsey Johnson By Lindsay Peyton   On a recent Saturday, Rev. Colin Bagby stood in the middle of a large garden. He was joined by about a dozen members of branches, the new worship community of St. Luke’s UMC in Houston, which he serves. Participants were divided into different tasks, planting grapevines and blackberry bushes, digging holes and spreading mulch. Their welcome was spoken in Swahili at the community farm, called Shamba Ya Amani. The agricultural green space, a ...

Pastor assists church member during diabetes emergency

10/13/2022
By Lindsay Peyton   Worship had just begun, and members of Pattison UMC were singing the opening hymn, when Rev. E. Mireya Martínez heard a loud alarm. She recognized it immediately – the sound of a glucose monitor.   “I thought it was me,” she recalled. But after pulling out her phone to check her monitoring app, she realized the noise was coming from someone else in the congregation.   Martínez searched the pews – and eventually spotted Diane Rhoads, who was frantically digging in her purse. ...

Warner energized about possibilities in the Church

10/13/2022
By Lindsay Peyton   Rev. Dr. Laceye Warner was first asked to consider candidacy for bishop two times before. While she considered the invitation a major honor, she declined, thinking the timing was not right. However, with all of the dynamics facing United Methodism at this time, Laceye feels called to offer her name for consideration. The challenges facing the United Methodist Church might deter others from submitting their name for candidacy for the episcopacy, but that is exactly why Warner...

Long-distance love letters

9/22/2022
By Ronnie Crocker Pam and Carl Lundberg honeymooned at Niagara Falls 24 summers ago. Pam had never been and Carl, a transplanted New Englander, wanted her to experience it.   “I remember the first moment I saw it, I was overcome with the majesty of it,” Pam said. “And I remember I said – we were standing right at the falls – and I said, ‘Oh, I love you.’ And he said, ‘I love you more.’”   “Love you more” became a watchword, a term of endearment repeated countless times over the following two ...

Bishop Jones calls Special Session

9/22/2022
By Lindsay Peyton   As part of a continuing effort to navigate the changing landscape of the UMC, Bishop Scott J. Jones called a Special Session for the Texas Annual Conference. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3 at Houston’s First Methodist Houston West located at 10570 Westpark Dr. in Houston.   Three presentations, not requiring Annual Conference action will be offered that address questions arising from disaffiliating churches. These presentations include: a tentative 2023 ...

Celebrating and honoring diversity in language and belief

9/22/2022
By Maleri McHam   Every year, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, United Methodist Churches across the Texas Annual Conference honor the contributions of Hispanic ministries like Oasis, a ministry of Terrace United Methodist Church in Houston. The festive celebration honors the diversity, language, tradition and beliefs of Hispanic communities.   “Most people think that all Hispanics are alike, but nothing could be further from the truth,” said Rev. Artie Cadar. He explains that Hispanics come from many...

Bedtime story comes true for children without beds

9/22/2022
By Lindsay Peyton   Once upon a time, a fairy tale took the stage at FUMC Beaumont, with a magical cast dreamed up by chancel choir director Renee Kloes. As curtains rose for “Into the Woods,” the main prop shone in the spotlight – a bed, constructed by the local chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP). The national nonprofit’s mission is to provide beds for children who do not have their own.   The production had two shows on Aug. 20. Instead of buying tickets, guests were asked to consider ...

Pastors reflect, relate and relax

9/22/2022
By Lindsay Peyton   Rev. Heather Leyland of Millican UMC first heard of Refresh when she received an invite in her inbox. The annual retreat is offered by the Texas Annual Conference to clergy every five years after their ordination or licensing. Since Leyland, who has been a pastor for 15 years, is a transfer from the Louisiana Conference, she had never attended Refresh before. At the session, she discovered opportunities for fun, camaraderie, relaxation, worship and a deep dive into the ...

Backpacks and Blue bell and haircuts, oh my!

9/8/2022
By Ronnie Crocker   The Rev. Joel McKinnon remembers calling the staff at Angleton First United Methodist Church together one morning four Julys ago and telling them to get ready for a big new back-to-school festival that would include giveaways of backpacks, haircuts and dental care for kids in the fast-growing community.   With the academic year looming, they’d have to get ready quickly. And McKinnon, who’d arrived just a year earlier, with the church $750,000 in debt, was still trying to ...

New church plant focusing on underserved

9/8/2022
  By Ronnie Crocker   It used to be that when First United Methodist Church in downtown Texarkana, Texas, let out on Sundays, members of the youth fellowship would race to Bryce’s Cafeteria for lunch before heading over to the Paramount Theater to catch a movie.   “We’d have to rush to beat the Baptists,” Mary O’Farrell recalled the other day.   After the show, and later a snack at the drugstore inside the Grim Hotel, O’Farrell’s group returned to the church for evening services. It was, in her...

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