Knowledge is Power: Abundant Life UMC Lufkin

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

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

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...

The Wesley Foundation Helps Students Choose Life

By: Sherri Gragg   Last January, the Rev. Greg Oberg, Sam Houston University Wesley Foundation pastor, had a graduating senior stop by his office in search of some advice.  To whom should she give her cats so that they would not starve when she committed suicide?   The student’s struggle with clinical depression had been a long one. So long, in fact, that the suicide hotline counselors knew her by name. And on this winter’s day, when then university counseling center was closed and her future ...

What Keeps Your Congregation Coming Back?

By: Sherri Gragg Which of the following has the greatest power to not only draw people, particularly millennials, to your church but also keep them coming back Sunday after Sunday? A vibrant children’s ministry… Inspiring worship… Engaging programing for students and adults… The answer is: None of the above.   According to a recent Gallup poll, “Sermons that teach about Scripture,” are more important to your congregants than anything else. This holds especially true for millennials, four out of...

The Church and Addiction: Important Conversations for Faith Leaders

Thursday, September 20, at 7 pm. Rev. Dr. Matthew Russell will present at the Council on Recovery at 303 Jackson Hill Street, Houston TX 77007. As addiction continues to be a nationwide problem, faith leaders and members of faith communities are frequently the first touchpoint for those seeking refuge and guidance. All to often, they are not sure how to offer sustained support to individuals and families struggling with substance use disorders.  This conversation will explore how communities of...

Friends of Maua Hospital Conference November in Houston

Friends of Maua Hospital Conference November in Houston Register Now for the 5th Annual Friends of Maua Hospital Conference November 9-10, 2018 Chapelwood UMC, Houston TX Tentative Times: Friday, Nov 9th from 9am – 5:30pm, with Meet and Greet diner to follow Saturday, Nov 10th from 9am – 4:00pm   Special Guests: MMH CEO, Dr. Salvador de la Torre MMH Director of Advisement and Community Services, Stanley Gitari MCK Presiding Bishop Joseph Ntombura and wife Pauline Bishop Scott Jones of the Texas ...

Bicyclists to gather in Athens for 700-mile Tour de TAC

For the first time, members of the United Methodist Church and others will gather in Athens to begin a 700-mile bicycle ride. “We are just starting it,” said Shannon Martin, a spokesperson for the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. “But we are excited to start in Athens. We see this as the heart of East Texas, and we've got some really great churches in that area. There are possibilities for amazing evangelism and outreach in that area.” The bishop of the Texas Annual ...

Just Worship - Perkins Fall Convocation: November 12-13

“JustWorship,” the 2018 Fall Convocation at Perkins School of Theology set for Nov. 12-13, will explore worship through the lenses of social justice and reconciliation with internationally acclaimed author, theologian and pastor Brian McLaren and Chicago-based preacher, liturgist and activist Sandra Maria Van Opstal. The annual continuing education event, designed for clergy, laity, students and others with an interest in religious issues in contemporary life, includes lectures, workshops and ...

After Harvey, Crowdsource Rescue Reunites Heroes with Families they Helped

A website launched during Harvey is still helping rescue people all around the world. was originally designed by Matthew Marchetti to organize rescues for Chapelwood United Methodist Church, but quickly took off and was even something the Cajun Navy started to use as dispatch for citizen first responders. See Full Story at   

In Harvey's Horrid Aftermath, Locals Rushed to Help

One year ago, Hurricane Harvey hit the South Texas coastline and began traveling north toward Houston. Dick and Judy Lupo, who lived in the Memorial area west of downtown Houston for 40 or more years, were suddenly displaced from their home and have not been able to return. Their son, Rev. Alex Lupo of Palestine, said some people in the neighborhood have rebuilt their homes and some businesses have returned. But progress is slow. See Full Story at  

Pray for Those Impacted by Laos Disaster

On July 24, a dam in southern Laos collapsed, completely destroying at least six villages and displacing thousands of residents. The Texas Annual Conference, through the shared episcopal leadership of Bishop Scott Jones, has a strong connection to the Lao Samphan Methodist Church and the four General Board of Global Ministries missionaries working in Laos. In fact, the dam collapse occurred on the last day of the four Laotian missionaries' visit to the Texas Annual Conference. Being no stranger ...

"A Pastor Doesn’t Leave His People"

By: Sherri Gragg   It has been often said that heroes don’t always wear capes, and it is true. Sometimes, they wear clerical collars.   Church Members in Crisis Pastor David Daviss, St. Paul UMC, Port Arthur readily admits he is in the last stretch of his life’s ministry. Countless Sundays preaching the word of God and long evenings at the bedside of the sick and suffering lie behind him. Early mornings on his farm in Palestine and quiet evenings with his wife, Elza, beckon to him from the ...

Discovering Purpose in the Flood

By: Shannon W. Martin As the hurricane came ashore, Besser’s Army squad leader gave the unit a four-day leave. Besser and two other servicemen, Private First Class Matt Droddy and Specialist Randy Toson, packed up every rescue item they could squeeze into their pick-up truck, including kayaks, food and water and headed home. “Our goal was to get home one last time before we were deployed, and maybe help some victims along the way,” Besser said. But the men didn’t realize that Jefferson County...

Grace and Redemption Mingle in Harvey’s Floodwaters

By: Sherri Gragg    “We Weren’t Supposed to Flood” “Our neighborhood had never flooded before. I guess I was in denial,” said the Rev. Keith Tilley, pastor of Faith UMC Orange. But this was no typical rainstorm, no ordinary hurricane- this was Harvey, and Harvey specialized in the unimaginable.   All day, the water fell in Orange, TX. Eventually, it filled the road in front of Tilley’s home and then began to spill over into the front yard. That night, Tilley, his wife Deb, and their two teenage...

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