Category: April 2022 (Page 1 of 2)

A Note From Pastor Carla

This Lenten season we have journeyed with Jesus as he encounters conflict after conflict with his colleagues in ministry. The tension has built all through the gospel narratives and we are finally approaching the ultimate confrontations during which Jesus stands his ground with compassion and clarity in a way that brings redemption to the world.

Knowing how deeply he is loved by God allows him to hold this stance—to not return evil for evil, to not run away, but to stand boldly and speak to our anger, our discomfort, our fears that led us as humans to kill him:

He has hard words for those in positions of power…

amazes into silence even his most staunch critics by the wisdom of his words…

names clearly those who take advantage of the vulnerable and outcast…

speaks grace and encouragement to his friend who will deny him 3 times out of cowardice and fear…

confronts his friend who seeks to betray him passive-aggressively while giving him a kiss…

calls forth those who scheme against him in the dead of night away from the sight of the crowds in front of whom they might look bad if they confront the popular Jesus directly…

answers wisely those who try to trick him or twist his words to have him murdered…

reassures his loved ones…

and assures mercy to the thief dying at his side.

I’ve been thinking a lot about healthy conflict lately. Anytime humans are in groups, we get the opportunity to meet our imperfections and triggers that still need healing and find our better selves with each other. When we are in an organization going through change, all while recovering from a pandemic, God help us, it’s even more of a challenge! Even good change is stressful and doing something new means by necessity letting go of the ways we have done them.

As I’ve shared with you in sermons and writings throughout our time together, conflict is not a negative, how we handle it is what is important. Can we allow such times be a means of grace with one another and for ourselves, or will we allow our words and actions to become a

mean grace? Healthy conflict helps us grow, allows us to deepen our relationships and trust with one another, heal old and systemic and generational wounds that all organizations have, and gives us the opportunity to discern where our systems have gaps that need to be strengthened and tightened up.

Toxic conflict tears down, divides, destroys, blames, hides, shuts down, lacks healthy boundaries about what is and is not acceptable, avoids open communication, and creates a dynamic in which there are those assigned as victims and villains and heroes. In reality, as I have preached repeatedly, the entire system is complicit in both our health and our healing edges and all must take responsibility for how we can become healthier and stronger together.

Do we look for a scapegoat to throw the sins of the people onto and then send them out in to the woods, or do we look for where our systems of communication and decision-making were inadequate and need to improve? Are we willing to look at our part in a dynamic or situation? Could we have spoken up more, differently, sooner, more graciously, more clearly, more boldly, and with more respect and love? Can we accept without shame our humanity when we are not our best selves and make amends, and then give others the grace and room to do the same without fear of our contempt?

Root Cause Analysis calls us to be hard on systems but gentle with people and to always have generosity of interpretation to assume folx are doing as well as they can do in any given moment and can and will do better if called to with the right tools and clarity of expectations. If change is needed, it is always up to the entire system to see what changes the whole system needs to make.

So, as we move forward into more and more change, as we seek to expand our ministries and outreach, as our family grows and grows and grows with new faces appearing all the time, as we seek to revitalize not just our church but also our property and grounds that have needed attention for quite some time, there will be more and more opportunities for us to engage in healthy conflict. As we do so, here are some tips from the experts about what that looks like:

Talk to and with each other rather than about each other

Be mindful of assumptions, people-pleasing, aggression, and passive-aggression

Notice our own perfectionism and judgments—toward ourselves and others

Pay more attention to our own part rather than seeking another to blame

Avoid triangulation (going around each other rather than to each other)

Notice the stories we are telling ourselves and check them out directly rather than assume

Own our own feelings and behaviors

Communicate openly and take responsibility for listening

Ask questions and check things out rather than assume

Ask, “What did _______ say when you told them how you felt?” as a gentle reminder to go directly to the source rather than be part of the problem by giving gossip a willing ear

Speak for yourself—don’t bring others’ views to beef up your argument such as “Some

people…” or “Others are saying…”

We’re gonna stink at all this at times. We’re gonna screw it up plenty. But we will practice it and we will get better and we will get healthier and we will grow. All the while, we will extend grace. Sometimes, the most graceful thing we can do is to hold a boundary, and we will do so a gently and lovingly as possible. Boundaries without compassion are harsh but compassion without boundaries is toxic.

What better group of people to practice this thing called life than people who have devoted themselves to a God of grace, and to being a part of a fellowship of believers all seeking to do good in the world? As each new member joins, we have the chance to be reminded of the vows we took with one another at our baptism and at our joining of the church, to be faithful and prayerful and loving and supportive of each other on our faith journeys.

The more we practice the more we will be a safe place for people to come who may not know what it is like to have healthy families who can argue without harming one another; the better example we will be to young couples and families about how to navigate disagreements and challenges; and the less we will risk committing character assassination or death by a thousand paper cuts snarking at or to or about each other.

I wouldn’t want to do this kind of growth work, as much as it can sometimes suck, with any other group of people than your wise, smart, caring, and open hearts. God be with us as we do.

Peace,
Pastor Carla

2022 Church Council Installation

The installation of the 2022 Faith Church Council! Thank you all!!!

Pictured right to left in the first photo are Charlie Robinson (Secretary), Mikki Ward, Michelle Perry (Treasurer), Sam Ward, and Philip Graves (Vice Moderator). Rev. Bill Burns was out of town and not available for the photo.


Mask/COVID Precautions Update

Faith Church Council reviewed the most recent data and made the decision to have masking optional at all services and events at the church effective immediately.

Persons are still asked to be vaccinated (if eligible) to join us in-person and to respect those who wish to still mask and maintain distance.

Those not able to vaccinate or not comfortable being indoors with others unmasked are welcome to join us by Zoom, which will continue indefinitely for our services. 

We will watch COVID numbers and adjust in the future, as  needed. For questions or concerns, please speak to Pastor Carla or a member of Council.

May God bless and guide us as we continue to navigate the realities of living with this on-going challenge facing our world.

General News, Announcements and Upcoming Events!!!


Faith Church Dates to Remember (details below):

Good Friday Service April 15th
Easter Breakfast Brunch and Service April 17th
Lenten Book Study April 20th
Interfaith Pride Worship Service Planning Meeting April 21st
Reception of New Members April 24th
Theology on Tap April 24th
Homeless Coalition Zoom Meeting April 26th
Heart of Texas Spring Association Meeting April 30th
Youth Bowling Gathering May 1st
UCC and Faith Church 101 May 1st
Serve Spot Prayer for Unity Gathering at Faith Church May 2nd
SCC Annual Meeting May27-29th
Interfaith Pride Service June 9th
Riverside Pride June 11th


Good Friday Service April 15th 7:00pm  This year we will observe the end of our Lenten journey through a Good Friday service of stories, songs, and prayers.  Join us in-person or by Zoom for this special evening in the Christian journey.


Easter Sunday Activities Sunday, April 17th  We will hold a Breakfast Brunch at 9:00am at the church both inside and outside (weather permitting) the Fellowship Hall.  We’ll then take our full bodies to go fill our spirits further in Worship at 10:30am while our older children help prepare for our younger children to have an Easter Egg Hunt immediately after the service.  To sign up to bring items for the brunch, please see Holly Rice or Mikki Ward.


Lenten Book Study Continues April 20th 6:30-7:45pm In-Person and by Zoom  Marcus Borg’s Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously But Not Literally is our focus this season.  We meet every other Wednesday evening and our last two sessions are April 20th and May 4th. Bill Burns purchased extra copies you can purchase from him.  Others ordered through Half-Price Books with no-charge delivery.  Make plans to join us for an incredible time of sharing and learning together!


Interfaith Pride Worship Planning Meeting April 21st 6:30pm  Join a team of folx in the Fellowship Hall as we continue working to prepare to host the first ever service of its kind in New Braunfels.  Persons are needed to plan marketing, liturgy, music, setup, take down, and snacks afterward.  Contact Pastor Carla for more information or go to http://www.nbinterfaith.org


New Members Joining April 24th  Anyone interested in becoming a Member or Associate Member (keep your membership with another congregation while also joining us) of Faith Church, please contact Pastor Carla as we prepare to receive new members during worship that Sunday.


Faithful Praise Rehearsal April 25th 7:15-9:00pm  All are welcome to join Jamie Cameron and other musicians to rehearse music for our weekly services.  Next rehearsals will be May 9th and May 23rd.


Theology on Tap April 24th 4:00pm  Join us for a afternoon of fellowship and discussing whatever questions of faith the group decides to consider that date.  We’ll meet at Guadalup Brewing Company where food is served and animals and kids are welcome.  The parents ask that all kids remain at the table with their parents.  Come visit, relax, and get to know members of your faith family better in a casual atmosphere.


Homeless Coalition Zoom Meeting April 26th  This vital coalition of those working to support our siblings without adequate shelter meets monthly by Zoom.  Our presence is noticed and appreciated and the more we all work together as a church to learn about the needs and resources available, the better we can serve and be involved with projects in our community.  Rev. Ralph Ludwig and Molly Dixon have begun attending these meetings along with Pastor Carla and we covet other participation.


Youth Bowling Social May 1st   Thanks to all who helped make our Youth Gathering last Sunday a success!  Our young, ages 10 and up, are invited to gather the first Sunday of each month for fun events.  Our next gathering is an after-church bowling party.  Be watching for details or contact Youth Leaders, Lauren Pearce, Carol Cisco-Martinez, and Sue Ashinhurst.   


UCC and Faith Church 101 May 1st  Join us for our new quarterly information sessions to learn more about the UCC and the history of Faith Church after worship with pizza, information-sharing, and time for questions and answers.  All current, new, and aspiring members and friends of Faith Church are invited for this special gathering to help learn more about our denomination and church’s history, get to know other members better, and find ways you can participate in the activities of the UCC and the life and ministry of Faith Church.  Please RSVP to Rev. Bill and Florence Burns at billflorence@sbcglobal.net so we may order enough pizza.  Also contact them if you wish to help provide information for this session.


Serve Spot Prayer for Unity Gathering Hosted by Faith Church May 2nd 9:00am The leadership of all 81 churches in New Braunfels are being invited by Kim Francis of Serve Spot to pray together for our ability to unite in service of the needs of our city.  Faith Church has the honor of hosting the first gathering and we need all our retired clergy and church lay leaders available to be present that day as we demonstrate the hospitality of Faith Church, even amongst those who may be skittish about coming through OUR doors because of our progressive faith.  We will welcome them as we continue to work to change hearts and minds in this town.  


Building and Grounds Committee  Our worship space and surrounding property is in need of some repairs and sprucing up to be good stewards of our buildings and to provide an appealing space for members and visitors.  A meeting will soon be planned to walk the property, create a list of items that need attention, make plans for what needs to be done first, and discuss ideas for colors and plants and other updates.  To participate in these discussions, let your thoughts be heard, and participate in this revitalized committee, please contact Molly Dixon.


New Members Committee  As we grow, it is important that more of us engage in welcoming visitors and helping new members build relationships and find ways to get involved with our activities and ministry.  To participate in this newly-forming committee, please connect with Rev. Bill and Florence Burns and Revs. Ralph and Sandy Ludwig. 


Pride Festival Support  If you would be willing to help plan for our booth and/or the 800-1000 pieces of swag we will be able to put into attendees festival gift bags at Pride Festival at the Comal County Fairgrounds Saturday, June 11th, please contact Pastor Carla!!! 


Adult Sunday School  9:00-10:15am  Rev. Bill and Florence Burns are leading a discussion of Dr. Beverly Brown Tatum’s book, “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations Around Race.” Books are available from the Burns or can be ordered on-line. Contact the Burns for more information and join them in the Fellowship Hall or by Zoom.  Please let Pastor Carla know if you can help run Zoom for this class.

Dates to Remember

Good Friday Service – April 15th
Easter Breakfast Brunch and Service – April 17th
Lenten Book Study – April 20th
Interfaith Pride Worship Service Planning Meeting – April 21st
Reception of New Members – April 24th
Theology on Tap – April 24th
Homeless Coalition Zoom Meeting – April 26th
Heart of Texas Spring Association Meeting – April 30th
Youth Bowling Gathering – May 1st
UCC and Faith Church 101 – May 1st
Serve Spot Prayer for Unity Gathering at Faith Church – May 2nd
SCC Annual Meeting – May27-29th
Interfaith Pride Service – June 9th
Riverside Pride – June 11th

Details on these dates can be found in the General News, Announcements and Upcoming Events!!! article.

Easter Sunday Activities Sunday, April 17th

Easter Services 2020

We will hold a Breakfast Brunch at 9:00am at the church both inside and outside (weather permitting) the Fellowship Hall. 

We’ll then take our full bodies to go fill our spirits further in Worship at 10:30am while our older children help prepare for our younger children to have an Easter Egg Hunt immediately after the service. 

To sign up to bring items for the brunch, please see Holly Rice or Mikki Ward.

Delegates Needed!!

Friends, we neglected to appoint delegates to the association and Conference at our annual meeting as we typically do.

Our heart of Texas Association spring meeting is coming up the end of this month and our South Central Conference Annual Meeting Will be at the end of May.

If you would like to serve as a delegate, please contact Pastor Carla or a member of counsel to volunteer by next Wednesday the 20th so we may prepare our delegates in advance of the meetings.

Thank you for helping serve our wider denomination!

Welcome to a New Member of Faith Church!

Please meet Wade Eernisse, the newest member of our Faith Church Family. He is a gentle and joyful souls with a dedicated heart and we are grateful to have him with us!

A little more about Wade…

COMING SOON – Not available at the time newsletter sent out but will be updated. Welcome, Wade!


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