A Roadmap for Success: We Love All God’s Children

9/27/2018
By: Sherri Gragg An Important Step The Texas Annual Conference took an important step forward in fulfilling the “We Love All God’s Children” initiative with the recent approval of the We Love All God’s Children Strategic Roadmap. The six-year plan thoughtfully sets a course to engage churches throughout the Texas Annual Conference in ministry to young children in the areas of discipleship, literacy and health.   The plan is firmly rooted in both the mission of the United Methodist Church and ...

Can’t and Can Are Magic Words

9/27/2018
By: Sherri Gragg En Español   Old River Terrace UMC proves there is no such thing as “can’t” when it comes to loving children.   Challenges and Changes When the Rev. Greg Smith arrived at Old River Terrace UMC, Channelview five years ago, daunting challenges awaited him. The church was languishing under half million dollars in debt from when it built a Christian school fifteen years before his arrival. Not only was the school not making any money, each year that passed saw the churches coffers ...

Food Insecurity: Why and How Your Church Should Care

9/27/2018
By: Sherri Gragg   According to the USDA, more than six million American children live in food-insecure households. Is your community at risk? Why Your Church Should Care Many Texans are hungry. Smith County, Texas is one snapshot of food insecurity among many in the Texas Annual Conference. The United States Census Bureau cites the median household income in Smith County as $48,683, well below the Texas average of $56,565. In contrast, the median household income in the United States is ...

Pastor to Pastor: How to Prepare Your Church for the Next Disaster

9/27/2018
By: Rev. Jack Womack In 2017 we were all advised that a significant rain event was coming our way.  The exact time and date were unsure, but everyone said it was coming. On Saturday, the rain came and it appeared that we had luckily missed the bulk of it. That evening about 10:30 PM, my wife and I prepared to get some sleep before Sunday and noticed a little water in the house. Within a few minutes, a little water turned in to eight inches in the entire house. That is when we realized how ...

The TAC Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month with Herencia Festival

9/27/2018
By: Sherri Gragg   En Español   Each year, from September 15 to October 15, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month. In 1978, President Lyndon Johnson began a week-long observance honoring the rich culture and history of Hispanic Americans as well as their valuable contributions to our country. Twenty years later, President Ronald Regan established National Hispanic Heritage Month. This year, the Texas Annual Conference will join the fiesta as it hosts the first annual Herencia ...

The Texas Annual Conference and the Vatican Issue the Palliative Care Joint Declaration

9/27/2018
By: Sherri Gragg   During a conference at Houston Methodist hospital, hosted by the Methodist Center and the Pontifical Academy for Life, Bishop Scott Jones and Archbishop Vencenzo Paglia signed the Palliative Care Joint Declaration. This week, we sat down with Bishop Jones to discuss the declaration and the art of dying well.     Q: How did this partnership with the Vatican and Archbishop Paglia come about?   A:  The Texas Annual Conference has a strong relationship with the Houston Methodist ...

Intentional Interim Training Seminar Oct. 22-25

9/24/2018
Intentional Interim Ministry training is a three-phase event led by two experienced trainers for up to twenty participants. Phase I begins with a four-day gathering to introduce concepts, tools and techniques used in short-term, intentional, pastoral leadership. A thirty-day interval follows during which participants will obtain and review the General Board of Global Ministries “Church Profile” and “Neighborhood Profile” pertaining to their current appointments as well as complete a Birkman© ...

Huffman Church Launches Bold Campaign

9/23/2018
Preliminary architectural rendering of exterior design being considered for new Lake Houston UMC sanctuary featuring double the space and seating of original sanctuary, plus gathering space for before and after worship, and additional restrooms and connection to the existing campus.   Lake Houston United Methodist Church has announced a bold plan designed to carry the church into the next decade.  The campaign, which is called “Rising From The Water” will be raising funds to build a new ...

Picking Up Pieces After Philippines Super typhoon

9/18/2018
United Methodists were picking up the pieces and preparing to assist others after the super Typhoon Mangkhut struck the northern part of the Philippines. The full extent of the damage from Mangkut is yet to be determined, but 54 people had been declared dead and another 49 were still missing Sept. 17 after the typhoon triggered a massive mudslide that destroyed hundreds of homes, according to CNN. Philippines officials say Cagayan is one of the provinces worst affected by the storm. United ...

World Communion Sunday, October 7, 2018

9/16/2018
Around the globe, countless gifted and qualified people face financial obstacles that hinder them from preparing for the vocation God has given them, especially youth and young adults. For ethnic students who will be the first generation in their families to attend college, or for those people of color who haven’t historically had access to resources that make higher education possible, the road toward education has often been unwieldy.   What would it look like if the church today imitated ...

Architecture Matters: Old, New, and Everything In-Between

9/13/2018
By: Sherri Gragg   From the earliest days of the church, Christians have thoughtfully constructed sacred spaces. When it comes to worship, architecture matters.   In Capernaum, archeologists uncovered a Byzantine era octagonal structure nestled between simple homes constructed of rough basaltic stone. As they carefully dug down through the stratum beneath the structure, they discovered a home similar to its neighbors. Basaltic stone. A central courtyard. Thatch roof woven of twigs and branches....

Filling Empty Stomachs with Food and Wounded Souls with Dignity: It’s the Methodist Way

9/13/2018
By: Sherri Gragg   In a Title I school district, Tomball UMC sits geographically between three needy schools. Eighteen years ago, they developed an afterschool program to provide tutoring and mentoring to neighborhood children. As the church grew closer to the children in the program, they realized that many of them were hungry. “Their parents were working two or three jobs and they were home alone,” said Senior Pastor Russell Hall, “On the weekends, the children were lucky if they got a ...

Knowledge is Power: Abundant Life UMC Lufkin

9/13/2018
By: Sherri Gragg   In 2014, Abundant Life UMC Lufkin targeted literacy to make a difference in the lives of children. Four years later, they have fine-tuned their approach.   Four years ago, Abundant Life UMC began to dream. They dreamed of how they might get outside of their own walls to impact their community for Christ. They took stock of their resources, prayed and listened for God’s voice. And when He spoke, He led them to the same vision He would later sow Conference-wide through Bishop ...

Planting Seeds of Faith In South Korea

9/13/2018
By: Sherri Gragg St. Augustine wrote, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Since 2014, First Korean UMC Houston has faithfully empowered Christian youth from South Korea to begin the next chapter of their lives.   Touring Texas Each summer, First Korean UMC Houston has partnered with Singseng Korean Methodist church in Incheon to bring 15 young Christians between the ages of 9 - 15 from South Korea to spend time in Houston. During their time in Texas, the ...

Table Talks With Bishop Scott Jones

9/13/2018
By: Sherri Gragg   Some 2,581 clergy and laity gathered last month across the Texas Annual Conference for Table Talks with Bishop Jones, Conversations on The Way Forward. The Table Talks were held in each of the nine districts, one for laity, and one for clergy, with the goal of helping the participants better understand the three plans to be presented as options for The Way Forward at the Special Session of the General Conference in February 2019.   Each of the 18 Table Talks followed the same...

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