Category: November 2020

Heart of Texas Association News

    Our Heart of Texas Association Fall Meeting met on Zoom on Saturday morning, October 24th.  We had a good turnout with 13 of our churches represented.  Open Cathedral led our opening with a video worship on YouTube that included excellent music — with one of the musicians sharing from out of state, creative video segments, and a reflection by Ryan Hart.  We appreciate deeply their skilled, faithful, and uplifting work. 

    The meeting began with a time of recognition for Hope United on their tenth anniversary.  Their council president, Jim Robichaux, shared about their send off for Ron Trimmer as Ron and his family left for Missouri, the recent interim time with Kyle Walker leading worship, and the exciting news of a new designated pastor coming on board.  Jeremy Albers, Director of Slumber Falls Camp, shared with us that the camp is in difficult financial condition because all of the groups that were scheduled to come have canceled due to COVID-19, stopping the major revenue stream.  Slumber Falls was able to have our UCC summer camps last summer due to careful planning and hard work to keep people safe (no one got sick), but the revenue that is needed to support the camp is missing for now.  Jeremy is working quarter time, and major fundraising is needed.  We also recognized and lifted up our chaplains with great gratitude as they continue their life-giving work in this time of real risk.  Our attendees connected with a breakout time in small groups, and representatives from each of the churches present shared quite a bit about the life, challenges, and things to celebrate in their churches — always a rich time in these meetings.  Finally, we appreciated the excellent presentation that Campbell Lovett, our Interim Conference Minister, gave on the proposed Unified Conference level Fitness Review Committee and the work needed in the next few months to be able to make a decision on whether to join with the other South Central Conference Associations in forming this committee.

    An important decision at this meeting, made during our financial report time, was to donate $5000 of our dedicated youth funds to Slumber Falls Camp.  We did this both to show our financial support and because we had funds set aside to give scholarships to the National Youth Event last summer, which had to be cancelled as an in-person event.  Also, we are encouraging our churches to give as generously as possible to Slumber Falls.

    I also shared the news of my trip last week out to Back Bay Mission in Biloxi, Mississippi to deliver 110 hygiene kits — 100 from Friends Congregational Church and 10 from Friedens Gay Hill — along with a check from Friedens.  The staff at Back Bay Mission welcomed me and received our gifts with joy, as the need among the homeless people they serve with these particular donations is greater than ever.  We are encouraging giving to Back Bay Mission along with Slumber Falls as an offering from our churches.

    We offer congratulations to Crystal Silva-McCormick and Church of the Savior.  Crystal has been their designated pastor since Mary Wilson retired last spring.  In this role, a designated pastor has a contract for a specified period of time, during which the pastor and the church can decide to make the call a permanent one as a settled pastor.  Church of the Savior recently voted to call Crystal as their settled pastor.  Our joy and prayers for a thriving ministry go with Crystal and Church of the Savior as they embark on this profound calling together.

Blessings in Christ, Liz Nash, Association Minister

Upcoming Events/Dates

Pastor Scott to be on Vacation November 16-27th

       Pastor Scott will be in Florida from Monday November 16th to Friday, November 27th.  Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving!



Hanging of the Greens Service Sunday, November 29th      

On Sunday, November 29th we will hold our annual Hanging of the Greens service in the sanctuary.  This also marks the first Sunday of Advent.






  First recognized in 1988, World AIDS Day falls on December 1 each year. World AIDS Day is dedicated to spreading awareness of the AIDS pandemic spread by the spread of HIV infection, and to mourning those who have died of the disease. An estimated 40 million people worldwide have died of AIDS since 1981, and an estimated 37 million are living with HIV, making it one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history. Despite recent improvements in treatment, the AIDS epidemic still claims an estimated two million lives each year, of which more than 250,000 are children.

Confirmation Sunday is November 15th!

     On Sunday, November 15tth we will confirm four young people at Faith United Church of Christ:  Adam Gossett, Hayes and Fischer Marlow and Ava Perry.  We have been meeting for two one hour sessions every Sunday via zoom since September 13th.  We’ve been using the re-form material from Spark House Publications.  It has been Janet Sherman’s and my privilege and pleasure to lead these sessions and work with these talented young people who are a credit to their families and to Faith UCC.      It has been our practice at Faith UCC to ask the young people to take a portion of the UCC Statement of Faith and give their take on it, what it means to them.  Here are the portions they have chosen:

Hayes Marlow –  “You call the worlds into being, create persons in your own image, and set before each the ways of life and death.”

Fischer Marlow – “You seek in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin.”

Adam Gossett – “In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Savior, you have come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the world to yourself.” 

Ava Perry – ” You promise to all who trust you forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, your presence in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in your realm which has no end.”

     Be sure and join us in person or via zoom to hear what they have to say and be part of their confirmation. 

Slumber Falls Work Camp

       We had a great cool day for the work camp at Slumber Falls October 24th.  A lot of work got done.  Among the various jobs: laying a floor; trimming, edging, painting, weed eating, and as you can see in this picture, moving rocks and landscaping.  Quinn and Grace were among the 30 or so people who worked.  Way to go Quinn and Grace!

     The camp is fund raising now to replace the main water pumps.  They are also asking for donations to offset all the cancelations they had this year due to covid 19.   The UCC Summer Camp program went ahead as planned with safety precautions but all outside groups have canceled.   Go to the camp website to make a donation.  At the recent Heart of Texas Association meeting the association voted to give the camp $5,000.

Worship in the Sanctuary Starting Sunday November 8th!!!

Greetings Faith UCC,

The church council and Pastor Scott Martin have approved plans to safely resume in-person worship services. We have chosen November 8, 2020 at 10:30am as our start date. We look forward to being together again, but we must all do our part to ensure the health of those who choose to attend. Below are the guidelines that have been adopted.

  1. Masks must be worn by all attendees over 2 years of age and kept on during the entire worship service. If anyone arrives without a mask, one will be provided to them.
  2. Temperature checks will be done upon arrival. Anyone with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher will not be admitted. If you feel sick or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please remain at home. 
  3. An usher will seat all people in order to maximize our seating capacity while maintaining the 6 foot social distancing between family units. Ushers will fill the sanctuary from front to back and empty it at the end of the service from back to front. Please remain in your seat until directed to exit by the usher.
  4. Please do not gather and socialize closely in the pews, aisles or Narthex upon entry or exit. For now, there will be no coffee time following the service. We hope to return to this once the pandemic is over. 
  5. Nursery services will not be provided. In-person Sunday school and youth activities will not yet resume. Children should sit with their families and will remain there during the children’s time of the service. 
  6. To begin, there will be no congregational singing. The pastor, liturgist, soloist or anyone speaking or singing without a mask should be 15 feet or more from the congregation. If Covid case numbers remain low, we hope later to add congregational singing with masks in place.
  7. Prepackaged communion elements will be used and available for pick-up upon entry so the elements will not have to be passed from person to person 
  8. An offering basket will be placed at the entrance to the sanctuary. Offering plates will not be passed. 
  9. Pastor Scott will light the candles at prayer time and prayer requests will be taken from the pews so that people will not need to get up and move around during the service. 
  10. One person at a time will be allowed in the restrooms and a person will be designated each Sunday to clean bathroom surfaces between users.

We will continue to broadcast our worship services on ZOOM and recommend those at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (older adults and people with serious underlying conditions) continue to worship in that manner. We ask your patience and understanding during this time and your respect for the fact that people may have different comfort levels with being physically close to other people.

If you are willing to be a greeter, usher, or restroom monitor, please let Mary Owen know (830-265-0570 or maryjeanowen@att.net). Thanks. If you have any questions or suggestions, please call Mary Owen, Chairperson of the Reopening Committee, or Pastor Scott. Thanks to everyone for your continued prayers and support during these difficult times. We look forward to seeing you in our sanctuary or on ZOOM.

We look forward to being together again,

Faith UCC Council 

From the Pastor – November 2020

It has a been a strange year is so many ways with all the ramifications of Covid 19.  There have been stay at home orders, the cancelation of large gatherings, wearing a mask everywhere we go, the closure of restaurants and bars, the move to online school, quarantine of nursing homes and retirement communities,  etc.  Certainly it has affected our church and churches all the across the country.  We have done zoom worship with no sanctuary worship since last March!  Thankfully, to date, no one at the church has come down with Covid 19.  It has been a time when we have come to realize how much the little things in life mean to us.  It has been a time when we’ve drawn closer together as families, friends and neighbors and perhaps closer to God.  We have all been in the same storm.  It has been a time when we have been reminded of the value of health care workers, nursing home staff,  grocery store clerks, factory workers, teachers,  and truck drivers. and so many more. 

    Through all this Faith Church has continued to function, albeit in a very different way.  We’ve all learned how to zoom and as bad as social distancing has been we are thankful for technology that let’s us at least see and hear each other and stay in touch.  We’ve continued to worship, pray, had meetings via zoom, work at the SOS Food Bank, hold confirmation classes via zoom, put out the newsletter, contribute to mission projects near and far, and do the work to prepare for looking for a new minister.

     Now we are about to regather for worship in the sanctuary even as we continue to offer the worship service online for those who need to or choose to stay at home.  It still will not be “normal”.  There will be no singing, or passing of the offering plates or communion plates, or hospitality and conversation  afterwards.  We will have to wear masks and maintain social distance.  We will have to sanitize surfaces and so much more BUT we will be able to gather, at least for now.  We will be able to worship and praise God TOGETHER in the same room, if not in the same pew.  It will be a sign of at least partial normalcy returning.  At this point we will all take what we can get or “normalcy”. 

     We do so with the knowledge that we are not out of the woods yet.  If the covid 19 numbers go up locally we will have to return to doing worship just on zoom.  We won’t be out of the woods until a vaccine has been widely distributed and a large plurality get it.  This is not likely to happen until sometime next year, if we are lucky by late summer or early fall.  Meanwhile faith, hope and love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love. 

Grace and Peace,  Pastor Scott