Doctors and laity treat 30K in Guatemala

9/8/2022
By Ronnie Crocker   The doctors and lay persons who make the weeklong trips to Guatemala with Faith In Practice – journeying by bus into remote villages, seeing patients in temporary clinics set up in schools or churches – embody Jesus’ admonition that, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”   But to hear them tell it, the volunteers receive plenty of blessings in return.   “It very much recentered me as a physician,” said John Riggs, an obstetrician and gynecologist who attends ...

Pastors journey to the UMC through drama

9/8/2022
By Maleri McHam   It was through a love of drama that Mindy and David Zwirn first found their way to the United Methodist Church.   Mindy, who was Catholic and distanced herself from the church in her 20s, and David, who had always been agnostic, today use their love for theater to spread ministry. Rev. Mindy Zwirn is the pastor at Chapelwood UMC in Nash, Texas and David is a lay pastor at Union Chapel UMC in Douglasville, Texas.   Before they joined the United Methodist Church, Mindy said she...

Church helps close pandemic learning gap

8/25/2022
  By Maleri McHam   The pandemic disrupted learning, particularly for low-income students. According to a recent article by NPR, students in high-poverty schools were more likely to not have a workspace, internet at home, or an adult to help with homework. Sunset UMC is trying to close the learning gap for students in their community with a new after school program called Grace Period.   “Grace Period” is an after-school program at Sunset UMC that gives children in the community a safe and ...

Good notes building the foundation for great sermons

8/25/2022
By Ronnie Crocker   Like the tip of the proverbial iceberg, the 15 to 20 minutes a preacher spends in the pulpit represents only a fraction of the time she has put into her sermon.    The Rev. Tabitha Mock-Rankin and the Rev. Ginny Griggs,  share several insights into how they craft their messages, the extent to which they depend on written notes during delivery, and how they balance reading from a script while addressing their audiences directly.   The women, both of whom have spent the better...

Houston church breaks ground on new community center

8/25/2022
by Maleri McHam St. Luke’s UMC, Gethsemane is part of an “aspirational project” in the Gulfton area of Houston – the creation of a new community center that will help serve all the people in their diverse community.   Ann Culver, St. Luke’s UMC Director of Advancement, said that in a revitalization study done about five years ago, it was shown that in Gulfton 80 countries of origin are represented; 88% of the population speaks a language other than english; and the area is five times denser ...

Using the ukulele to tiptoe through the hymnals

8/25/2022
By Ronnie Crocker   A crash course in ukulele paid off in good vibes this summer at FUMC Missouri City. On Aug. 7, a stage full of church members attired in floral prints and wearing leis around their necks, treated their fellow congregants to a mini-concert with the four-stringed instrument best known for soft Hawaiian melodies.   “The group had a blast,” said Justin Langham, director of traditional music at FUMC Missouri City. “The congregation had a blast. I got so much feedback, mostly, ‘...

Where faith and science find common ground

8/25/2022
By Ronnie Crocker   Marlan Scully is a distinguished professor of physics at Texas A&M. His curriculum vitae also includes a Ph.D. from Yale and past faculty appointments at Princeton, M.I.T. and the Max Planck Institute. He holds patents in laser physics and is known for his work in the field of “theoretical quantum optics.” In other words, he’s a man of science. Scully is also a man of faith, a United Methodist who has spent a lifetime pursuing both scientific and spiritual insight. He’s ...

Garage sale for God

8/11/2022
By Ronnie Crocker En Español   Diane Sullivan feels blessed to live in Deer Park, a leafy Houston suburb buoyed by a petrochemical industry that keeps the local schools, libraries, and other city services well-funded. Household income is above the state average, and the poverty rate is just 6.6 percent. “It’s an area where you’d want to live, especially if you have kids,” says Sullivan, who eight years ago moved back to the community of 35,000 with her husband, a Deer Park native.   She also ...

Local church provides safe space as schools move to four day week

8/11/2022
By: Maleri McHam - En Español   With several local school districts transitioning into a four day school week this year, FUMC DeKalb has stepped up to fill a need, providing students with a safe place to go on Fridays. Beginning this school year, students of DeKalb, Hubbard and Malta ISD’s will only be attending school Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.   Rev. Amanda Stratton, pastor at FUMC DeKalb said one major concern with this was the children “not having a safe place on Fridays ...

Small church making a big impact in Tyler

8/11/2022
   By Maleri McHam   Noonday FUMC is proof that even a small congregation can make a large impact in their community. In 2020, the church was in the midst of assessing their identity and started asking, what can we offer our community?   “As Christians we need to be meeting the needs of people around us,” says the Rev. Sunny Farley, pastor of Noonday FUMC. “I don't think people can hear the message of Christ until they see the message of Christ.”   Although the church is smaller in numbers, they...

Top five lessons bees are teaching the church

8/11/2022
   By Maleri Mcham   The bee is a complex insect living in community and working together to keep the hive running, much like Christians who live and grow together in faith. At Whitehouse UMC, people can find the connection between bees and faith at the monthly Beekeepers of East Texas Association meetings.     About 10 years ago, the Rev. Matthew Thomas, who was also a professional beekeeper, brought the beekeeper association to the church to host their meetings. Through hosting the beekeeper ...

Women bishops continue to shatter the stained glass ceiling

8/8/2022
Houston, Texas August 8, 2022 -- In the United Methodist Church, women have been shattering the stained glass ceiling for years, however only 15 women bishops are currently serving worldwide. Only one female bishop has served in the Texas Conference, Bishop Janice R. Huie. Bishop Scott J. Jones recently announced that the Texas Conference delegation unanimously endorsed the second woman from their region who could be elected bishop this November. The 36 member General and Jurisdictional ...

College Interns spend the summer learning about ministry

7/28/2022
By Malari Mcham Finding a calling to ministry is a journey and the College Pastoral Internship Project (CPIP) is there to help guide those who feel a pull. The CPIP, a part of the Texas Annual Conference, is created to assist young Methodists in discerning God’s call to ministry and Christian service. They serve in pastoral internships at local churches for the summer to gain first-hand experience in ministry. Interns get a closer look at life in ministry and build relationships to help them ...

Mission Milby brings light to underserved communities

7/28/2022
  By Dawson Bley - En Español   Standing between Milby High School and Deady Middle School, Mission Milby is positioned in a prime location to impact students and families in one of the most underserved communities in Houston. A nonprofit ministry designed to improve the quality of life through education, support and encouragement, Mission Milby has served as a steady source of hope for the past 20 years.    “I love helping at Mission Milby because I want the children, youth and families in the ...

New bishops to be elected in Houston

7/28/2022
  By Shannon W. Martin   Every four years, the United Methodist Church meets in five geographical areas, or Jurisdictions to elect new bishops. That is, until 2020 when the pandemic delayed the Jurisdictional Conferences. The Council of Bishops recently set the meeting date for these elections for early November.   The South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church will hold its Jurisdictional Conference in Houston from November 2-5, 2022, at the First Methodist Houston West. Along ...

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