Education activist and former mayor transforms UMC sanctuary into virtual learning center

1/14/2021
By Lindsay Peyton   Even though the coronavirus forced Newman Chapel UMC in Kendleton to go virtual, the congregation still found a way to continue serving the community. Instead of opening its doors for worship on Sundays, the congregation welcomed students to study in its sanctuary, Monday through Fridays for months. The church turned into a school for a number of months. Those students are now returning to their classrooms, without having any gaps in their education. Better still, they knew ...

Church members impacted by addiction lead unique and confidential addiction recovery program

1/14/2021
By Lindsay Peyton - En Español   You are not alone if your life has been touched by addiction – whether it’s you or a loved one who has struggled. That’s a message that Bay Harbour UMC in League City hopes to communicate with members and area residents alike. The congregation’s addiction recovery ministry is unique, welcoming and supportive to those in need of a helping hand.   Don Oden, a long-time member of the church, said the recovery ministry, Safe Harbour began about 13 years ago. The ...

Stepping into the New Year

1/14/2021
By Lindsay Peyton   There’s no better time than the New Year to start on the right foot and resolve to adopt healthier habits for the months ahead. For clergy and their spouse, the Texas Annual Conference offers incentives to stay on track, one foot in front of the other, to set and reach fitness goals in 2021.   Signing up for the TAC Walking Program is simple, Nancy Slade, administrative assistant for the Center for Clergy Excellence, explained. Any clergy or spouse enrolled in the Conference...

How well do you know Advent? Take this 10 question quiz to find out.

12/23/2020
1. What does the word Advent (from the Latin adventus) mean? Before Christmas Arrival or coming To go on an adventure A website for online Christmas coupons All of the above 2. True or False: Like the 40 days of Lent, Advent is a fixed number of days before Christmas. True False 3. Which of these Advent hymns was written by Charles Wesley? “Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming” “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus” “Come, O Come, Emmanuel” “Hail to the Lord's Anointed” 4. Who originated Watch Night ...

It’s a different and challenging time, but Christmas continues

12/10/2020
All photos taken in previous years Christmas services prior to COVID-19. By Lindsay Peyton   Christmas has arrived in East Texas – and with strict safety measures in place, churches like Marvin UMC ensured that COVID-19 would not prevent its holiday traditions from continuing. Musical concerts and outreach efforts heralded in the season, and additional services were scheduled on Christmas Eve to accommodate smaller groups in the building. The church has long been a destination for Christmas in...

Small Houston UMC participates in $2.2 million restaurant relief program

12/10/2020
By Lindsay Peyton En Español   Dr. Vastine Watson was searching for a way that his church Norris Chapel in Houston could help more during COVID-19. Still, with a small congregation, and mostly elderly members, he felt like he hit a wall. Then, he discovered a unique way to make a significant impact, the Houston Eats Restaurant Support (H.E.R.S.) program. Now church volunteers are serving hot meals to vulnerable neighbors once a week. “I was so broken-hearted,” Watson said. “But this is like an...

Clear Lake Buddies builds bridges of literacy, health and mentoring for students

12/10/2020
By Lindsay Peyton   The coronavirus is no match for the Clear Lake Buddies. The group of volunteers from Clear Lake UMC has found new ways to serve their neighborhood elementary in the midst of a pandemic, whether working on tasks outside or donating WiFi to children without Internet service. Currently the church is gearing up to make sure COVID-19 does not stand in the way of Christmas for students.   In fact, this year’s Christmas offering at Clear Lake UMC is completely reserved for “Jeans,...

TAC and Methodist Hospital provide free health services for underserved communities

12/10/2020
By Lindsay Peyton En Español   The coronavirus pandemic hit Houston about the same time the Texas Annual Conference launched its Church and Community Health Initiative, an important project with a mission to improve health in underserved communities. Wellness Director Jessica Somerville explained that while her team of community health care workers had to start new jobs working from home, they still managed to deliver services to hundreds of individuals in need.   “We recruited great people to...

New Christmas devotional series features Texas Annual Conference clergy and laity

12/10/2020
By Lindsay Peyton   It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – even in the midst of a pandemic. Holiday decorations and lights are adorning homes, and Christmas trees are up. Families are starting new traditions and finding creative ways to stay connected this season. Since COVID-19 has stopped much of the usual travel and get-togethers this year, many will be closer to home and closer to family. The Texas Annual Conference has created a new devotional series for the holidays, available ...

Kimberly Orr named Publisher of The Upper Room

12/10/2020
By Lindsay Peyton   Rev. Kimberly C. Orr is packing up her house in Houston and preparing to move to Nashville, where she will assume a new role -- leading The Upper Room’s global ministry. There is only one way this pastor in the Texas Annual conference can explain how everything fell into place to make the move possible. “It’s one of those God things,” she said.   Orr has served as Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Windsor Village UMC, Houston for the past 10 years. She was not looking for a ...

Easy Ways to Share Gratitude this Thanksgiving

11/24/2020
Thanksgiving Day elicits a bounty of wonderful memories for many people in the U.S. The crisp air. The smell of a turkey roasting and a pumpkin pie baking. The sound of a cheering crowd at a football game. All these can create warm feelings during this special time of year. While the Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the U.S., thanking God for our blessings is a spiritual discipline that should not be limited to a single day.   Along with expanding our ...

Area churches preparing to serve neighbors in need for Thanksgiving

11/12/2020
Picture taken in past years prior to COVID-19 By Lindsay Peyton  En Español At Katy FUMC, 1,000 cans of cranberry sauce and 500 jars of turkey gravy stand ready. A few miles down I-10, St. Peter’s UMC is collecting 1,000 boxes of stuffing, and at nearby Holy Covenant UMC, a mountain of boxed mashed potatoes is rising. These three United Methodist churches are part of an ecumenical tradition – the Katy Thanksgiving Feast, which provides holiday meals to families in need. This November, ...

Small town NASA church member takes teens to robotics state championship

11/12/2020
By Lindsay Peyton    The first time, Martin’s Mill’s high school team headed to Dallas to compete at the BEST of Texas Robotics Championship, the teens were nervous. One of their mentors Marvin Shaw, a volunteer from Holly Springs UMC in Canton, drove the team – and at the time, they all fit in a Chevy Suburban. “They were extremely intimidated,” he recalled. “But they went from feeling intimidated to sticking out their chests and saying, ‘We’ve got this.’”   No one asks where Martin’s Mill, ...

Clergy couples’ shared interest in technology brings them together

11/12/2020
By Lindsay Peyton   Media ministry and using technology to share the message of the church, initially brought Revs. Johnnie and Lataya Simpson together. Little did they know that what started as a friendship over a shared interest in audio-visual communications would become an enduring love. They also became each other’s support system, as they pursued a new ministry on the pulpit. Now, Johnnie and Lataya are both pastors serving in the Texas Annual Conference.  “Johnnie is truly my partner in ...

Church offers free drive through health fair with flu shots, lab tests, blood pressure monitoring and more

11/12/2020
By Lindsay Peyton  En Español   Imagine a pit stop at NASCAR, where a crew stands ready to refuel, change tires and repair racing cars. Now, instead of race car experts, picture nurses with clipboards, prepared to give free flu vaccines and process lab work, with patients in the safety of their cars. That’s the vision that transformed the Mt. Pleasant Community Health Fair this year. The event, held Oct. 10, was hosted by Tennison Memorial UMC and Titus Regional Medical Center.   Tennison’s ...

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