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