Author: Faith UCC (Page 1 of 24)

Pastor’s Note / Pride

Faith Church, UCC Hosts New Braunfels First Interfaith Pride Worship Service

24 choir members, 20 clergy from 17 faith communities, over 140 attendees, and an indescribable evening we are still all unpacking!  The response to New Braunfels first Interfaith Pride Worship Service, hosted by Faith Church, UCC has been overwhelming.

It began as a dream last year during New Braunfels Pride Festival, its second such event.  I’d participated in worship services during Pride month for years and wondered if New Braunfels was ready to support such an event. 

Then, a group of approximately 20 Christians organized and took the time to make signs, leave their home, drive to Landa Park, find our festival, and spent hours making sure the 900 LGBTQ+ persons and our allies attending heard about a God who condemns us to hell. 

For our congregation to remain silent in the face of such bigotry, hate, and misuse and misrepresentation of God and God’s words would have made us complicit, quietly agreeing with their words and actions even if only in the eyes of the public. 

What did the Lord require of us?  To offer an alternative Christian voice to says just as loudly and clearly, “You ARE loved, worthy, and welcome.”  So, with the permission and support of the Faith Church Council and the Riverside Pride Board who hosts New Braunfels Pride, I began speaking with local faith leaders.  After quick agreement from the local Unitarian Universalists and Unity Church, the going became a bit more difficult.

Clergy were hesitant to agree, uncertain what to expect.  I assured them we were going to be FOR love and inclusion, NOT against anyone.  They expressed concern their congregation would not easily allow them to participate, “I have a VERY purple congregation; we don’t want to alienate those who oppose”.  Others struggled with the Interfaith nature of the event, “How can you call it worship if you’re not all worshiping the same thing?”

Slowly, I found more persons who wanted to participate and believed in the vision of an evening where ALL kids of Creation would feel safe and welcome and find healing together.  So, we formed a planning committee of queer and allied clergy and lay persons from the area. 

Seven clergy from Faith agreed to vest and process.  My girlfriend, who is the Choral Director at New Braunfels UU, started forming the choir.  The Seguine PFLAG group volunteered to provide food for a reception after the service.  UCC clergy and congregants came from San Antonio and Boerne to participate as readers and choir members.  Fliers and save the date post cards were donated and spread everywhere.

The local Episcopalians, some Presbyterians, and a Lutheran Deacon came on board.  One of my best friends who is a Rabbi and Cantor from Austin agreed to come.  A Pagan spiritualist leader joined us.  A queer pastor from Seguin headed up the decorations.  Our tech team and other members faithfully offered to manage the moving parts.

As the 20 clergy processed, one after another, in silence into the sanctuary the crowd was already stunned at this living and breathing testament to God’s inclusive love and acceptance.  Into the silence, 20 faith leaders lined up on the chancel, faced the congregation, and sang a chorus of blessing acapella over them, again and again, as many now openly wept, “You are the heart, you are the hands, you are the voice of Spirit on earth. And who you are, and all you do, is a blessing to the world.”

Then the first words of the service were spoken by a white, hetero-presenting, cis male, Episcopalian clergy who led the opening liturgy of repentance and apology spoken by the gathered clergy…

Fr. Ripp:         In the name of faith leaders who have been complicit in the silencing of LGBTQ+ people and their allies by not speaking out on your behalf…
Clergy:            we are sorry.
Fr. Ripp:         In the name of communities of faith that have often stood by while violent language has fueled homophobia, exclusion and disrespect…
Clergy:            we are sorry.

This opening liturgy went on for many more stanzas and ended with the clergy and congregation singing the song of blessing together.  Then there was more.  Much more.  A candle-lighting ceremony, music that invited reflection, worship, and celebration, and more hugs and tears and laughter than we could count.  Hearts were moved, inspired, healed, and changed.

A pre-teen who has been anti-church was drug there by her mother but was mesmerized by the service.  She took photos and texted one of Rabbi Marie, wearing a rainbow yarmulka, to her best friend in Florida who just came out and is facing rejection from her family and faith.  After the service, several were standing nearby as the two girls FaceTimed together in tears and the best friend said, “You mean there are people who worship like me who think I’m ok?!?!?”

Everyone participating discussed how joyful and filling the event was for them.  Clergy said it was invigorating and humbling.  The white, hetero-presenting, cis male, Episcopalian clergy said his members who attended were deeply impacted, and so was he.  They offered to host the event at their church next year!

At Pride Fest two days later, dozens of persons pulled me aside to tell me their story and how much the evening meant to them.  Long-time members of Faith Church described how healing it was, in ways they did not even realize they needed.

Faith Church made the brave decision to become an Open and Affirming Congregation in January of 2009.  It can be easy to make a statement and believe our work is done.  But Faith Church knows that being truly Open and Affirming is a dynamic and active process of on-going work, ever-evolving learning, and deepening advocacy. 

This year, we took another step forward as leaders of transformation and change in our city and as agents of clear and gently loud proclaimers of a God who loves and accepts us all.  In the process, we find that we, too, are being transformed in ways we will be unpacking for some time to come.

For your hearts, for your passion, for your faithful courage and advocacy…thank you, my friends.  I’m excited to see what God does with all of this, next!

Peace,
Pastor Carla
❤️🧡💛💚💙💜🖤🤎🏳️‍🌈

Welcome New Members to Faith Church!

Faith Church continues to grow!!

This past Sunday we received as new members:
Rohn Armstrong
Sue Ashinhurst
Holly and Randy Rice
Melissa Wright

Janie Schwark joined as an Associate Member. She will maintain her connection to her church in Iowa but will also be a full member of Faith Church with all the same rights and responsibilities.

We are grateful to have them all!!

Please join me in welcoming them and be watching for more information about them in the July Newsletter.


Roof Replacement: Information Meeting (7/17) & Congregational Vote (7/31)

Please plan to remain after worship Sunday July 17th for an information session about needed repairs to the roofs of all buildings on our property and other maintenance needs to care for our church!

Members of Council will present our options and answer questions of congregants on that date.

Representatives from R&R Roofing, who won our confidence after we received three different bids, will also be on hand that day. They came highly recommended to us from members of the Pantermuehl family and we are grateful for their introduction.

On July 31st, please make plans to attend a special Congregational Meeting after worship during which we will vote on which repair and financing options to pursue. 

This is an exciting time for us to come together and be the Church as we dream into our future plans for tending to and caring for the campus God has gifted to us.

Janet Sherman Elected to SCC BoD

Janet Sherman has been elected to represent the Heart of Texas Association on the South Central Conference Board of Directors beginning with the Board’s Fall meeting.

The Board’s executive committee confirmed Janet’s placement on the Board following the SCC’s annual meeting held recently at Camp Allen in Navasota.

Janet will serve a three-year term on the Board. 

Congratulations, Janet!

Response to Minister’s Housing Allowance Question

Per request during the congregational meeting, attached is a letter from the South Central Conference—UCC attorney verifying the correctness and legality of the pastor’s compensation package approved with our annual budget. For further questions, please see a member of Council.

Please click the following link or copy and paste it into your browser to open the attorney document: https://www.faithuccnb.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/2022-04.28-Housing-Allowance-Question.pdf

Treasurer’s Report for June 2022

Faith Church has entered into a rental agreement with Weight Watchers beginning in June. They will be using our Fellowship Hall three times a week for one hour meetings. Weight Watchers had been a previous tenant of ours several years ago and we are happy to have them back.

We also are leasing the Fellowship Hall to the Comal County Crisis Center to provide a day camp to a few children each week. The Crisis Center is so happy to have the use of our building just a few blocks away from their facility that experienced a fire a few months ago.

Our May Balance Sheet and Income vs. Expense reports are filed in the church office if you would like to view them. May offerings are reported below:

General Fund Offerings May 2022$6688.29
Our Church’s Wider Mission Contribution (2.5%)$167.21
SFC Contribution (1.5%)$100.32
Eden Hill Contribution (.75%)$50.16
Back Bay Contribution (.75%)$50.16
CUE Contribution (.5%)$33.44
Designated Offerings May 2022
Strengthen the Church$50.00
Riverside Pride$522.92
One Great Hour of Sharing (UCC)$100.00
Misc. (Crisis Center and Interfaith Service)$430.00

Please let me know if you have any questions. 

Sincerely,
Michelle Perry
Treasurer

Slumber Falls Counselors Needed

Greetings and Salutations my fellow Heart of Texas Association Pastors! 

For those of you who may not know, not only am I a fellow pastor, but I am also the Heart of Texas Camp Council Liaison! During this summer, I am also volunteering in the office at camp, helping out wherever I can! 

I have been asked to send out an SOS for Volunteer Counselors! We are in desperate need of counselors 18 years and older! If you or any of your church members would be interested in spending a week here on the beautiful Guadalupe River, I promise that you will not be disappointed! Your cup will be filled with the Spirit and the joy of camp! And even better yet, you won’t have to worry about leaving camp with a sore back from camp bunks….because we have tempurpedic mattresses in every cabin! 🙂 

We should be good on staff for our new Color Splash camp starting Thursday and for Springs Alive next week. 

Here is where we do need help: 
June 25th-July 2nd: Roaring Rapids/Sports Camp (Roaring needs more counselors at this time!)
July 3rd-9th: Streams of Faith 1/ Geek Week
July 10th-16th: Living Waters/ Eco Camp
July 17th-23rd: Streams of Faith 2

Now, if you live in a nearby radius of New Braunfels and Slumber Falls and you would like to help, but can’t necessarily spend the night every night for a week, WE CAN STILL USE YOUR HELP! 

Our Day Camps are back for Sports Camp, Geek Week, and Eco Camp. Day campers arrive at 9am and are picked up by 5pm each day. If you can only help a few hours here and there, we can always have the help around lunch and an hour after lunch during FOB (flat on back) time! Our day campers don’t go to the cabins to rest, so we need helpers to hang with them in the Bizer Lodge!

Any help that you or any of your church members can provide will be greatly appreciated and welcomed with wide open arms! 

If you are interested, feel free to email me at jklamensky09@gmail.com. My cell phone is 830-660-1440. And when I am out at camp and in the office, the number is 830-625-2212.

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer so far! Hope to see you all soon! You can find me here at SFC for the next month!

Blessings, Jacqueline Lamensky

Slumber Falls Camp

Family Promise Volunteers Needed

Family Promise Header

Faith Church will be partnering with Friedens UCC to host up to four families at Slumber Falls Camp the week of September 11 – 18, 2022.

Volunteers are needed to be present at the camp overnight (7pm-7am). We also need donations of breakfast and lunch items as well as someone willing to make a special breakfast for the families on Saturday morning.

Families in the program are always so glad to spend the week at Slumber Falls where they get to have their own cabins and get to experience a little of the great outdoors.

New volunteers will need to complete a background check through Family Promise and watch the two training videos. More information about signing up and completing the training will be coming soon.

Screening of “On the Divide” June 29th

Join us at Faith Church on Wednesday, June 29th 6:30pm as we host a screening of “On the Divide”, a film about some of the realities of and struggles for reproductive justice. A discussion for healing and hope will be provided afterward. 

Watch the trailer from “On the Divide”  https://www.pbs.org/video/trailer-on-the-divide/

On the Divide
Feature Film 

90 minutes 

McAllen, TX is home to the last reproductive health clinic on the Texas/Mexico border. It is the center of the tension between religious protesters who try to stop patients coming inside and the security staff of the clinic who fight to protect it. On The Divide follows three different Latinx members of this community and the unforeseen choices they face for their daily survival.  

A Fishbowl Films production in association with Giving Voice Films, Willa Productions and Latino Public Broadcasting, and is a co-production of POV. Official Selection, Tribeca Film Festival.

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