Category: Faith UCC News and Comments (page 1 of 2)

Worship Service via Zoom Video Conferencing

Due to the City of New Braunfels’ “stay at home” order issued earlier this week, we are planning to come together to worship on Sunday’s at our normal time (10:30am) using the video conferencing platform Zoom. Zoom video conferencing capabilities can be installed for free on most computers, smart phone, or tablets. If you choose not to download the application, you can always join the worship service by phone at the number listed at the bottom of this note.

Click here to watch a video that can help you understand how to install and join a zoom meeting.

If possible, we recommend you sign-up for a free Zoom account so that you can download and install the Zoom application prior to this Sunday’s worship service.

We are blessed to be able to leverage technology to allow us to come together as a congregation during these challenging times.

Worship Service – 3/22/2020

Sunday Bulletin: March 22, 2020

Prelude: Stephanie Phillips

Call to Worship (from NCH #825 by Congregation Beth El of the Sudbury River Valley)

Pastor: Blessed is the One who spoke and the world came into being.

People: Blessed is the One who created the world.

L: Blessed is the One who speaks and does.

People:  Blessed is the One who decrees and fulfills.

L: Blessed is the One who has compassion on the earth.

People: Blessed is the One  who has compassion for all creatures.

L: Blessed is the One who rewards those who fear God.

People: Blessed is the One who lives eternally and exists forever.

L: Blessed is the One who redeems and saves.

People: Blessed is the Holy One.

Song: “Now Thank We All Our God”   – NCH 419

Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done, in whom this world rejoices,
who from our parents arms, has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us,
and keep us still in grace, and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills in this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God our Maker now be given,
to Christ and Spirit, too, our help in highest heaven,
the one Eternal God, whom earth and heaven adore,
for thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

Scripture: (find a Bible and read along)
Psalm 23 | Ephesians 5:8-14

Meditation: “Walking in the Light Amidst Dark Shadows”
Scott B. Martin

Special Music: Stephanie Phillips

Prayer Joys and Concerns:
Text your prayer, joys and concerns to 830-515-2866 or leave them as a comment in the Facebook Live feed
Pastor Scott ahead of time and he will read it and light a candle for you.  You can also email Pastor Scott with your prayer joys and concerns  Please text or email by 10 a.m. so Pastor Scott has time to record them.)

(written by Dr. John Dorhauer, President & General Minister of the UCC)

O God in whom we move and have our being, and with whose first breath we were once created, we bring to you our grief, our anxiety, and our fear.

As the world responds to this new threat to our health and well-being, and as more and more elderly and vulnerable people face an uncertain future with the spread of this virus, instill within us a new capacity for love and compassion.

We call for blessings upon the medical care workers who will treat the sick and dying.

We call for blessings on government officials and elected representatives who will manage and steward the resources needed to fight this virus.

We call for blessings on the children sent home from school, especially those whose parents can’t come home from work to take care of them or who might be missing meals while not at school.

We call for blessings on all who must travel during this season.

We call for blessings all who are grieving the passing of a loved one and who cannot gather to memorialize their beloved dead.

May the power of your abiding and steadfast love inspire us all as all to be people of compassion, hope, and joy as we discover anew that there is nothing that can separate us from that love.

We ask this prayer in the power of your most holy name,   AMEN

Lord’s Prayer  (All)
(using “…forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us….”)

Closing Song: “God Be With You Till We Meet Again”

God be with you till we meet again; By good counsel guide, uphold you, With a shepherd’s care enfold you; God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet,….till we meet,….Till we meet at Jesus’ feet….. till we meet,….till we meet,…..God be with you till we meet again.
God be with you till we meet again; Wings of shelter safely hide you, Daily manna still provide you, God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again; When life’s perils thick confound you,
Put unfailing arms around you, God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again, Keep love’s banner floating o’er you,
Smite death’s threatening wave before you, God be with you till we meet again.

Benediction  (pastor)     May the peace of the Lord Christ be with you: wherever you are or go;  my God guide you through the wilderness; protect you through the storm; may God bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders God has shown you; may God bring you  home rejoicing : once again into our doors.  Amen.

Postlude:  Stephanie Phillips

Our thanks to Sam Ward for coming and videoing this for facebook live!

Worship services suspended until further notice

March 18, 2020
To: Faith Church members and friends
From: Faith Church Council

Hello Everyone,
With the heightened measures being taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the Faith UCC council has voted to suspend Sunday worship services until further notice. We are committed to keeping everyone safe and healthy during these difficult times.

Though we will not be worshiping together on Sundays, we are working to provide either live or recorded sermons from Pastor Scott in the interim. Last Sunday, we streamed the service live on Facebook and had a really nice viewer turnout. Please keep an eye on your email in the coming days for updates on this. You can watch last Sunday’s service and any future videos at:

We have set up a PayPal account for you all to continue giving to the church during if you so choose. With this PayPal donation option, you can also setup recurring gifts using all major credit and debit cards. Visit the link below to give.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support of Faith UCC. It is important that we continue doing God’s work despite the challenges facing each and every one of us.

Grace and Peace,
Faith UCC Council

Faith UCC Sunday services to continue as normal

March 13, 2020
To: Faith Church members and friends
From: Pastor Scott

Hello Everyone,
Given all the cancelations of various events, some of you may be wondering if we will cancel church services at Faith UCC. As of now we are NOT canceling upcoming worship services. As of today, there are no reported cases of corona virus in Comal County. I confirmed this through phone calls to both the county and city health departments this morning (March 12). However, if local health authorities recommend cancelling, we will comply immediately. I have also called our sister church, Friedens UCC, in nearby Geronimo and they have no plans to cancel services at this time.

Obviously common-sense steps should be taken by all of us:

  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Avoid touching your face with your hands
  • Don’t shake hands with people – even at church
  • Cover your mouth when you cough
  • Keep a reasonable distance from people
  • Stay home if you don’t feel well
  • If you are elderly or have a medical condition you may want to err on the side of caution and stay home as much as possible – we will understand if you do not come to church.

Given the above recommendations we will make some changes at church. Instead of passing the offering plates you are invited to simply drop your offering in the plates provided in the front and back. You can also contribute online or by mailing a check. We are working to make hand sanitizer available in the narthex for your use. You are encouraged to spread out when you sit down in the sanctuary. By way of setting an example don’t shake hands with the pastor or anyone else after the service. 

If the corona virus threat remains an issue on Easter Sunday, we will celebrate communion using self-contained cups with juice and a wafer. We will not have communion the first Sunday of April, as Easter is the following Sunday anyway.

We may not be over the worst of it in this country, but I find it encouraging that new cases are way down in China, where it started. With common sense measures, the help of the medical system and scientist and with God’s help we will get through this.

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Scott

Pastor Scott’s Retirement

Grace and Peace to you all,

I am writing this to let you all know that I have decided to retire at the end of this year 2020. My last Sunday will be December 27, 2020. For the last year or so I’ve watched seminary classmates announce their retirements one after another. It is time for me to move on to the next phase of my life’s journey and for Faith UCC to move on to its next phase as well, trusting that we are all in God’s hands.

It has been my great honor and a true blessing to serve Faith UCC for what will be 15 years. I have served four churches since graduating from seminary and Faith UCC has been by far the best of the four.

In the last 15 years Faith UCC has been a faithful, progressive witness here in New Braunfels. As I look back there are so many highlights. Here are just a few. Voting to become ONA and the choir singing twice at the SA Pride event were milestones in the life of this church… In the area of mission and outreach: giving away our Christmas offerings to a whole series of mission projects near and far; starting LEAP; our continuing work at the SOS Food Bank and being a host church for Family Promise. In the area of building and grounds we refurbished the fellowship hall and narthex and installed the computer projector and updated AV. Developing the vision statement and becoming a more diverse congregation. Marching in the local MLK march and other witness events. Then there are all the confirmation classes, adult study programs during Lent and the recent class on Buddhism & Hinduism. We have shared many deeply moving worship experiences in the over 725 services that I have been here for. We’ve often sensed the movement of the Spirit in these. We have shared much in worship, mission and fellowship and I cherish all our time together.

As the church moves forward it will be a time for discernment and prayer about the future of the church. As with any change there will be some anxiety and sadness, but I pray that there will also be a sense of excitement and hopefulness about what God has in store for Faith Church. Faith Church has gone through such times of transition numerous times since it was founded in 1966. As in the past, with God’s help, it will do so again. It has always come through such times stronger and with a renewed sense of purpose. It has gone on to do God’s work here in New Braunfels and beyond in new and creative ways.

Know that you most certainly will have my prayers for you individually and for Faith Church as a whole. I would invite your prayers for me as well as I transition to retirement. I am mindful of Paul’s words to the Philippians… “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil 1:3-6)

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Scott

Please feel free to email me with any questions or concerns at


For those who brought the snacks, soap, coloring books, crayons, tooth brushes and tooth paste. I thank you very much. We are a very generous church and continue to think of others who are in need.

We packed 52 (our goal was 24) backpacks last Sunday. They are now on their way to the San Antonio bus station. These bags are given to those immigrants who have a place to go for shelter,  have a chance to secure a family setting without fears of uncertainty.

The Interfaith Welcome Coalition are in need of  volunteers at the bus station. Especially those who speak Spanish. The IWC has assisted an average of 200 people, per day,  traveling through the San Antonio bus station. And they arrive with very little. If you are interested in being at the bus station, Thursdays and Fridays tend to be the busiest days. For more information, please contact IWC at:

Again thank you for a successful “Moment for Mis-sion”.

Sheila Angerer

Bernhard (Bennie) Harst

(Memorial Service at Faith UCC – New Braunfels on April 13th at 2pm)

Benny was a long time member of Faith UCC and and before that First Protestant, when it was a UCC church.  He came to the U.S., via the Netherlands, from Indonesia as part of the Church World Service Refugee program after WWII.  Benny was very active in the church both locally and in the conference.  He did much to help make Eden Hill Communities what it is today.  He led a fascinating life.  We recently celebrated his 95th birthday in Baese Hall.  His memorial service will be held at Faith UCC on Saturday, April 13th at 2 p.m.  There will be a reception in the fellowship hall after the service.

Benny will be greatly missed.  We will miss his stories and his smile and we remember his great service to this community and the United Church of Christ.

Grace and Peace, Pastor Scott

Below is From the New Braunfels Herald Zeitung

Bernhard (Bennie) Harst, 95, died peacefully at home, surrounded by his large extended family. He is survived by his partner, Dawn Horten; six sons, Bart, Rudi, John, Tom, Arnold and Paul and their families; a sister, Desiree Lewis Harst, of The Hague, Netherlands and a host of nieces, nephews and friends throughout the Netherlands, England, Germany and Belgium. 

He was born in Jakarta, on the island of Java in what is now Indonesia on January 28, 1924. He was raised in the pre-WWII colonial Dutch culture, as was his late wife of 54 years, Nell Velt Harst (Nelly) who preceded him in death in 2002. They lived on the islands until the family moved to the Netherlands in 1951 after the Indonesian Revolution changed his life in many ways. In 1957 the family emigrated to their adopted hometown of New Braunfels, sponsored by the late Rev. Carl and Della Burkle of First Protestant United Church of Christ (UCC). 

Bennie Harst lived a large life that touched the lives of many with his wisdom, curiosity, love and countless acts of kindness. He was a man of deep faith that translated into a life of service and good works; Bennie was committed to improving his community with simple and direct actions. 

Upon arrival in New Braunfels, Bennie accepted the only employment available at the time as a floor sweeper in the local textile mill and simultaneously as the part time janitor at the church. Within a year he was promoted at the mill to operate two weaving loom alleys, at a time when most weavers were only responsible for one alley of looms. 

In 1964, because of his Dutch health care administration office experience, the late Elmo Fischer employed him to assist with the increasing bookkeeping demands at the Eden Home for the Aged. Later he became the Texas state licensed assistant administrator for Kenneth Triesh at Eden, a position he held until his retirement in 1989. As assistant administrator at the Eden Home, he oversaw the evolution of the institution into the region’s first skilled nursing care facility, and later added the first Medicare certified rehabilitation center, Bihl Rehab Center. He took particular pride in building the independent living cottages at Eden Home; fittingly, he would live his final years in independence and dignity in these cottages. 

He worked for many years with River Garden, a life skills school for special needs adults. Bennie’s volunteer service included work at the New Braunfels Food Bank and the Comal County Senior Citizens Thrift Store. During the youth of his six sons, Bennie led inspiring Sunday School classes at First Protestant UCC. In any setting, Bennie was an irrepressible story-teller; his circular narratives, twisting from humor to pathos, crisscrossed Texas, Northern Europe, South East Asia in tales that wound through his unique experience of the twentieth century. 

Along with visits to children and grandchildren around the US, his love of travel took him to Mexico exploring the people and the culture as well as return visits to Indonesia and the Netherlands. 

He will be missed by the many who knew and loved him, including his faith community, fellow residents of Eden Hill, and his Thursday morning taco group at Nopalitos cafe.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00pm on Saturday, April 13, 2019, at Faith United Church of Christ in New Braunfels. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the Faith United Church.

Theology of Place Events

February 23, 2019 – Canyon Lake Gorge Tour

Canyon Lake Gorge 2019.mp4

Thanks to Mike Ziegler for putting this video slideshow together of the Canyon Lake Gorge Tour for those that were not able to go on the tour.

Now everyone can see a little of what those that went saw.

Thanks, Mike!

Emma Lou Bizer

We are saddened by the news that Emma Lou Bizer passed away late Thursday night at Eden Hill. Emma Lou will be greatly missed by all who knew her. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bizer family at this time.  Arrangements are still pending at this time.

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