FUMC Canton holds onto a history of hope

3/25/2021
By Lindsay Peyton    Even after a burst pipe flooded two of the buildings on FUMC Canton’s campus due to the winter storm, congregants still gathered for worship in the sanctuary. What helps members hold onto hope, in the midst of so much destruction plus a year adjusting to COVID-19? The answer is delving into history, Pastor Adam Muckleroy explained.   Right before the coronavirus pandemic began, FUMC Canton was approached by the Canton Historical Society. “They informed us that there were ...

Church members become artists at unique art ministry

3/25/2021
By Lindsay Peyton     Right behind Cypress UMC stands the Angel House, a studio for the congregation’s unique stained glass ministry. Inside, volunteers are hard at work creating colorful works of art. Guests stop by to shop for ornaments, crosses, stepping stones and other stained glass creations – or they might attend a workshop to learn a new skill. All of the proceeds from the ministry’s sales fund church missions and outreach projects.   The door is always open, Debra Kinsey, a long-time ...

Church serves the community despite severe damage

3/11/2021
By Lindsay Peyton - En Español   Helping neighbors while watching the action outside of Ebenezer UMC in Houston, you would never suspect that inside church doors, the building is severely damaged. The past couple of weekends, since a winter storm wreaked havoc in Texas, Ebenezer UMC has hosted drive-up food drives and COVID-19 drive-through vaccinations. Senior Pastor Enid Henderson is keeping her eyes focused on mission, and the church continues to help neighbors in need – even though the ...

How 2021 has taught a TAC church to transform missions

3/11/2021
By Lindsay Peyton    FUMC Grand Saline was prepared to become a shelter during the winter storm. When no one arrived, however, church members saw an opportunity to begin a new conversation. The congregation has a heart for outreach – and continually seeks ways to do more and serve better, even in the midst of the pandemic.   Members of FUMC, Grand Saline contacted their Pastor Susan Smith when forecasts began reporting an Arctic blast was on its way. “They saw there was a need to help people, ...

Pastoring while Positive

3/11/2021
By Lindsay Peyton - En Español   Pastors are usually the caregivers – tending to the well-being of their flock. Seeking care for themselves can be a challenge. But there are times when clergy do not have a choice, especially if they test positive for COVID-19. In the past few months, Pastors Ray Hughes and Carmen Rickel in the Texas Annual Conference had that experience firsthand. Now fully recovered, both have gained insights from their time as patients.   Rev. Ray Hughes, Lead Pastor at The ...

Some 800K pounds of food distributed at Houston area church since April

3/11/2021
By Lindsay Peyton   The onset of the coronavirus pandemic may have caused most outreach efforts to grind to a halt – but not at the Windsor Village Church Family (WVCF), a 15,000-member congregation in Houston. Instead, the church saw an opportunity to help even more people at a time when the need was greatest.   Drivers start lining up early for the Windsor Village Food Bank, before operations even begin. “We’ve had cars line up as early as 7 a.m. and lines as long as 2 or 3 miles,” Millicent ...

Two congregations merge, finding new life

3/11/2021
Photo by Darwin Macon By Lindsay Peyton   On Sunday, March 7, members of Fairbanks UMC in north Houston gathered for their last sermon. This church, however, is not saying goodbye. Instead, members are merging with The Foundry, only about 5 miles away. Together, the congregations are discovering an opportunity for new life.   Rev. Heather Sims was appointed to Fairbanks in July 2019. At the time, the church was in conversations with Chapelwood UMC about a possible merger. “They could see the ...

Besser named new Associate Director of Church Leadership

3/4/2021
For immediate release - March 4, 2021 Bishop Scott Jones announced today that Rev. Robert Besser has been appointed as the new Associate Director of Church Leadership in the Center for Leadership Formation beginning July 1, 2021. Besser currently serves as the Director for Congregational Excellence. In his new ministry role, Robert and his team will be connecting churches with specialists and supporting them in their ministry. “I am so excited to be able to work with Robert,” said the Rev. ...

Church provides warm shelter, electricity for oxygen machines during Texas ice storm

2/20/2021
By Lindsay Peyton   Missouri City’s Sienna resident Katrina Holm lost power at her home for 40 hours after the rare winter storm hit Texas. As soon as her utilities were restored, her thoughts shifted to her church, The Harvest UMC, where she also serves as Director of Business Operations.  Holm and her father went to check on the building. As soon as she realized it was warm inside, she went to work turning the church into gathering place for neighbors without water or power.   “It’s not the ...

Foundry UMC opens doors as warming center for those without electricity, water and food

2/20/2021
By Lindsay Peyton   In the Jersey Village neighborhood, north of Houston, the winter storm has left many residents without electricity. At The Foundry UMC, however, the lights and heater were operated without interruption. The congregation opened its doors to help neighbors in need.   “There’s been no power all around us, but we never lost power,” executive pastor Theresa Fauser said. “That’s been an amazing blessing.”   On Sunday, Feb. 14, Cy-Fair Helping Hands, a nonprofit serving the area’s...

Friendswood, Texas pastor says the sanctuary is the only room that is dry after pipes burst during winter freeze

2/20/2021
By Lindsay Peyton   A winter storm hit Texas this week, leaving millions without electricity and water. Friendswood UMC was no exception. Not only did the church lose power, but pipes burst, resulting in extensive water damage. In the midst of the disaster, church members stepped up to save their house of worship.   Rev. Jim Bass received a notice from the fire department at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 17. The church’s fire suppression system was going off, and the pastor rushed to the building...

Galveston Church loses power but still offers shelter, food to vulnerable unhoused population

2/20/2021
  Brown (front) and Christian Catalan of the Gastrochurch ministry prepare a meal in the kitchen at Galveston (Texas) Central Church. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News. By Lindsay Peyton   When forecasts warned of a prolonged period of freezing weather, Galveston Central Church staff members began to brainstorm. By Friday, Feb. 12, they decided to open as a shelter. Before long, however, the congregation itself was without power. Neither ice, snow, rain and lack of electricity and water could deter...

Tyler church responds with power, provision and prayer during freezing weather

2/20/2021
By Lindsay Peyton   The frigid Arctic blast in East Texas resulted in all-time temperature lows. In Tyler, the thermometer dropped to 6 below, and residents lost electricity. Despite the freezing weather, Dayspring UMC, Tyler sprang into action, ready to act as the hands and feet of Jesus.   Rev. Rusty McKee, who serves the church’s Flint campus, shoveled snow Wednesday morning to make way for a shipment of portable potties. They arrived just in time at noon. Already, about 60 people, ...

How to make Ash Wednesday meaningful and safe during COVID-19

2/11/2021
By Lindsay Peyton - En Español   Celebrating Ash Wednesday presents a number of challenges during COVID-19. In addition to the usual considerations for finding a way to gather, there’s also the obstacle of eliminating touch from the tradition of imposing ashes. Christ Church Sugar Land rose to the occasion, creating a number of ways for members to involve and make Ash Wednesday both meaningful and safe.   “Like everybody else, we’re trying to figure out how to do regular things in an irregular ...

Annual Conference 2021 will be virtual again

2/11/2021
By Lindsay Peyton   Annual Conference is a time to come together in worship and fellowship, as well as to move forward on important business matters. Each day of the conference will focus on vital concepts from this year’s theme, “Faith, Hope, Love.” Technology will again bring everyone together – from the comfort and safety of their own homes --  through the Zoom webinar platform. The virtual 2021 Annual Conference is scheduled for May 30 to June 1. Already, plans are in place to ensure the ...

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