Category: February 2022 (Page 1 of 2)

A Note from Pastor Carla


In recent weeks I have been calling us to a new level of Biblical literacy, reclaiming Scripture from those who twist it control and shame rather than liberate and heal.  To that end, during Lent I am asking you to do 3 things:

1) Get a good study Bible in the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).  These study Bibles have notes, introductions, references, etc. to help you as we learn together to better decipher Scripture in a life-giving way.  The NRSV is considered one of the most accurate translations available today.  I recommend the New Interpreters Study Bible put out by Abingdon Press.  You can get a hardback copy for $20-30 on Amazon or Cokesbury for about $38 and it’s well worth the investment.

If you choose another study Bible, do some research to see if the editors and commentators are more conservative or non-conservative as each one has their own agenda and spin on scripture that will lead them to write in a way that encourages a literal perspective, which is what we are trying to avoid.

2) Join us for the study of Marcus Borg’s, Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking Scripture Seriously but Not Literally.  It is a terrific introduction to really understanding Scripture for ourselves in a new way that opens it up rather than close us, and our hearts, down.

3) Make a practice of reading the Lectionary Texts assigned for each Sunday during Lent.  These are the Scriptures we choose to read from and base sermons upon in most churches from the Reformed tradition.  The Lectionary goes in 3-year cycles.  Right now, we are in Year C and you can scroll down to the Scriptures for the coming Sunday.  For instance, this Sunday, February 20th, we are in the Seventh Sunday After Epiphany and the passages for that date can be found here 

Read these throughout the week. Use the study Bible to read the introduction to the book of the Bible you are reading and the notes for the passage.  See if you can find a common theme and use what you are learning from the Borg study to decipher more about what God might want to speak to us today through those words.  By the time Sunday comes, you’ll better understand the liturgy and sermon (at least I hope what I say makes sense!)

When interpreting scripture, ask yourself, “What’s the healthiest, most loving, most life-giving and liberating translation of this passage that the Creator and Sustainer of Life would want for us and for others?”  For instance:

Does the passage the way you have been taught it or are currently understanding it encourage shame, being small, tolerating mistreatment, allowing others to not be their best selves, not setting boundaries, not speaking up on behalf of yourself or others? 

Then it does not meet this criterion. 

Does it encourage judgment of others, feeling better about oneself than others, committing character assassination or critique of others as a person, calling THEM OUT in shame rather than calling their BEHAVIOR FORTH to something better, seeing oneself in the passage as hero or victim so that either way the passage is all about you?

Then it does not meet this criterion. 

But does it encourage gentleness and compassion, generosity and patience, for yourself and for others, but with healthy boundaries that lead to right relationship? 

Does it call you to forgiveness, not for their sake, but for yours, while also giving you room to love from a distance when someone is not being their best selves?

Does it comfort you that you are beloved and God is on your side and sees you as worthy, while also reminding you God is on the side of those who consider themselves your enemy and while God may be aggrieved at their behavior sees them as worthy and wants their transformation and salvation, too? 

Does it remind you that God wants both the oppressed and oppressor that exist within us and within others, free from the systems that keep us all held down?

Does it challenge you to give freely in service to God and others while reminding you to pour from your saucer and not your cup so that you have something of yourself left to continue giving for the long term, remembering that this life thing is a marathon and not a sprint so we need to save some reserves for the next task God puts before us?

Does it keep you right-sized—not too small, not too big—and does it help you keep others in perspective, too—not good guys or bad guys—but everyone as just another human on the planet trying to figure this life-thing out?

If it does these things, then it meets that criterion.

Jesus called forth those who used power and privilege to oppress and/or neglect others.  Jesus comforted those who were oppressed and neglected.  God created all life and all artists who create know what it is to want their art to do the most good in the world.  Why should we believe Scripture would be used to do anything less?  Why would the Creator and Sustainer of Life want anything for us that is anything but Life-Giving?

So, let’s reclaim Scripture, which means we cannot be intellectually lazy.  Yes, it can seem hard, but learning the tools to be better able to decipher passages used abusively is our command from God. 

In 1st Peter 3:15, we are told to, “always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you.”  Our conservative siblings of faith take this literally AND seriously and are thus able to shift the narrative and convince people into believing that they are somehow less than loveable by God.  It is up to us to reclaim Scripture and be informed enough to offer an alternative Christian voice that KNOWS SCRIPTURE WELL ENOUGH to lovingly call bull on anything that leaves God’s kids feeling excluded from Christ’s table. 

I invite you to join me, this Lenten Season, in deepening our literacy and reclaiming Scripture.

Peace, Carla

2-3 Year Old Class / Nursery Attendants or Pledges Needed Immediately Please!

Churches do not grow and thrive, or survive, without families.  Families have been wanting and waiting for us to resume Children’s Programming, so they feel comfortable attending with their littles. 

We are SO grateful for the renewed energy in our midst, but if we do not have quality programming available for them, they will not feel welcome and will not return.

We are in need of 3 Children’s Church teachers total each week—one for the 2-3 Year Old/Nursery Class, one for the Younger (pre-K through 1st Grade) children, one for the Older (2nd through 5th Grade) children, and one floater to help as needed and maintain safe protocols for all. 

If you would like to volunteer, or pledge extra for the year to help hire a Nursery Attendant for our littlest ones, please contact Pastor Carla or Pam Robinson.

Announcements, Reminders, and Upcoming Events

Rides for Members? For those members wishing to participate in our events but who do not feel comfortable driving in the dark, if you would be willing to give them a ride to and from events that end later in the day, please let Pastor Carla or Janet know so we can help arrange these.

Return to In-Person Worship  As of February 13th, we returned to in-person worship.  Those who are fully vaccinated (and those children not yet eligible for the vaccine) are welcome to mask and distance in the sanctuary with us each week and for events.  Those not yet vaccinated are welcome to join us via Zoom.  Our folks have done well with protecting one another, we pay extra for MERV-rated filters designed to filter our viruses from our air in the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall, and have purchased air purifiers with HEPA filters for our Children’s Church rooms.  Unless a more deadly strain of the virus comes along or our hospitals become stretched thin once again, we will remain in-person for worship for the foreseeable future. 

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Pastor Carla or a member of Council:

Rev. Bill Burns (Moderator)
Philip Graves (Vice-Moderator)
Charlie Robinson (Secretary)
Michelle Perry (Treasurer)
Mikki Ward
Sam Ward

Merging and Updating of Member Rolls  As people move in and out of our community in the ebb and flow of life, it can be easy, especially during times like this pandemic, for us to lose touch with our members.  Council will be inviting persons to both help update our current Membership Rolls and to join a Phone Tree of sorts to help maintain contact with one another as a congregation each month.  Be watching for ways you can help these efforts.

Theology on Tap 2/27 4:00-5:15pm at 5-Stone Brewery  Join us for what is sure to be another great time of sharing and asking questions of one another.  This month, we will meet on the grounds of 5-Stone Brewery (which should be FAR less crowded than they were for their Christmas event!).  Bring a friend, your kids, your pup, and perhaps an extra chair so we can gather somewhere quiet and to ourselves.  Stay afterward for more food and drink and for the Hymn and Hops Hymn Sing 6:00-7:00pm  We will work to arrange rides for those who do not wish to drive after dark, so bring a chair and join us!

Adult Sunday School Resumes March 6th 9:00-10:15am  Rev. Bill and Florence Burns will be leading a book discussion of Dr. Beverly Brown Tatum’s Book, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations Around Race.”  Contact Bill and Florence for more information. 

As we gather more volunteer support for our Children’s Christian Education programs, we will seek to make something available for kids during this time so all parents may attend.  Please give us time as we re-build, and come help by volunteering to teach by contacting Pam Robinson and Chrissy Gossett!

Newsletter Deadline  In order to help facilitate communication after Council meetings the second Tuesday of each month, we will begin sending out our monthly Glimpses of Faith Newsletter in the week after Council meets.  For March, please provide all Newsletter articles to Pastor Carla and Janet by March 7th for release later that week.

Lenten Book Study—Marcus Borg’s Reading the Bible Again for the First Time  We will hold this book study in person in the Fellowship Hall and via Zoom from 6:30-7:45pm Wednesday evenings (rides available for those who do not wish to drive in the dark) March 23rd continuing every other week (4/6, 4/20, and 5/4).  Bill Burns purchased some extra copies you can purchase from him and others ordered them through Half-Price Books with no-charge delivery.  Make plans to join us for an incredible time of sharing and learning together!

Interfaith Pride Service  Riverside Pride Fest was such a huge success last year that it is moving to the much larger venue of the Comal County Fairgrounds just down Common St. from the church and will be Saturday, June 11th.  Event organizers have given permission for Faith Church to host an interfaith worship service of supportive faith communities and persons of faith to show our LGBTQ+ siblings that God does love and affirm them, and so do we! 

Other faith communities in New Braunfels and the surrounding areas are being invited, a committee is being formed to begin planning, and our own active and retired clergy at Faith Church will be asked to vest and process for the service.  It is tentatively scheduled for 6:30pm Thursday, June 9th, but that date may change to earlier in the week if schedule conflicts become apparent.  To help plan for and/or support this service, reach out to Pastor Carla.

Tiny Home Exploration Update  Pastor Carla, Sarah Dixon (Executive Director of Family Promise), and Melissa Elizondo met recently with various staff from the City of New Braunfels, including the head of Zoning and Planning, to discuss the possibility of a Tiny Home Community being placed on our property.  They were very encouraging and appear to want to help find an easy way for this project to move forward.  An architect is drawing up a rendering of what the whole project and each tiny home would look like to present to the City, who will then work to let us know what the way forward could look like. 

Once these things are answered, Church Leadership will meet with support persons from our Insurance Board to discuss what this could mean for the future growth opportunities at Faith Church and mean for our own insurance liabilities.  Once this information is all obtained, we will come to the congregation for a much longer and larger discussion, answering all questions before considering a vote on whether to move forward.        

In the meantime, Pastor Carla has begun meeting with other groups working to address housing insecurity in New Braunfels known collectively as the Homeless Coalition.  Representatives from the McKenna Foundation, City of New Braunfels, Crisis Center of Comal Co., First Footing, Family Promise, Serve Spot, Hill Country MHDD, Connections Individual and Family Services, Workforce Housing Committee, Next Step, and more are coming together to organize and share resources as we seek to address the growing problem our community is facing.

Help Needed to Support Our Missions  Pastor Carla and Faith Church needs:

*at least 2 people to help attend this monthly Homeless Coalition zoom meeting. 

*1-2 people to help re-establish Faith Church’s connection with the Refugee Network

*1-2 people to help Mike Ziegler decide on microloan lending to various recipients each month

Contact Pastor Carla if you feel called to help support these mission efforts by being a contact person to help relay needs back to the congregation and keep us all informed of what is happening in each of these areas.

KIVA Loan Program Update

As many of you know, Faith Church remains one of the largest funders of micro loans through KIVA for the UCC.

This month, we highlight one of our many loan recipients.

Please continue to pray for and learn more about this amazing ministry of our church and contact Mike Ziegler to discuss how you and your family can help him choose loans to help fund each month!

Moringa Connect’s Story

There are 1.5B acres of fertile, uncultivated land in Africa with 175M subsistence farmers earning less than $2 per day. Moringa is a climate-smart, drought-resistant tree that provides a pathway to economic security. Farmers can earn 4-10x more income by growing moringa. However, they lack access to international markets.

MoringaConnect operates the first vertically integrated moringa business. It produces moringa-based nutrition and natural beauty products for wholesale customers and its own brands (Minga Foods, True Moringa). The team provides Ghanaian farmers with training and then buys their moringa produce at a fair price to increase incomes up to 10x. In 2019, MoringaConnect supported over 5,500 farmers, of whom 38% were female and nearly 75% amongst the poorest 20% in Ghana.

Since their previous loan with Kiva’s Labs: Social Enterprise program, Moringa Connect has launched a 150-acre nucleus farm that employs a cohort of women and vulnerable populations in the community. It is Ghana’s first certified organic nucleus farm and contains the largest solar irrigation project in West Africa.

This loan of $200,000 will be used to finance manufacturing activities and continue purchases of moringa from smallholder farmers in rural Ghana during COVID-related business disruption.

This loan is special because: it provides innovative market access for a superfood ingredient to improve the incomes of
Ghanian farmers.

Hey Kiva Fam,

We’re all about celebrating women and all things made-in-Ghana year-round, but
with International Women’s Day and Ghana Independence Day coinciding with the start of the moringa harvest season this week, we wanted to give you a glimpse behind the scenes of our organic moringa farm.

We proudly source much of our moringa from small farmers that we train and support across Ghana through our “outgrower” farmer model. These farmers typically have experience and access to land.

Our “Ingrower” farmers on the other hand typically lack access to land and
experience growing high value tree crops like moringa. Traditionally, women in many parts of rural Ghana and tribal minorities fall into this category. We offer training, tools, inputs like fertilizer and seeds, and solar powered irrigation to these farmers along with a dedicated plot of land on our organic farm.

Ingrower farmers participate in Village Savings & Loan Association (VSLA) groups run by a member of our True Moringa Farmer Outreach Team. These powerful circles of women meet regularly to save the income they earn growing moringa and other crops and lend their savings to individual members to invest in their farms and businesses. For each $1 we invest in organizing and facilitating these groups, $10 is generated through savings and loans.

Today, our organic farm creates 50 jobs and is home to over one million moringa trees & the largest solar-powered irrigation system in West Africa. We’ve got a lot of exciting projects in the works on the farm – stay tuned for updates throughout the planting season!

Celebrate with us & enjoy the fruits of the farm – use code INDEPENDENCE for 20% off this week:

Moringa Love,
Kwami, Emily & Team True Moringa

JoAnn Brown Obituary

Friends, as we announced last month, one of our durable saints and founding members, JoAnn Brown, died December 21st.  Her family sent us her obituary clipping and we have sent our love and condolences to them.  She was a smart, funny, firecracker of a woman and we were grateful to have known and loved one.  Peace to all as we remember and grieve this much-beloved member of Faith Church.


JoAnn S. Brown

JUNE 16, 1936 – DECEMBER 21, 2021


Zoeller Funeral Home

Jo Ann S. Brown left our arms for the arms of her Savior on December 21, 2021. Her homecoming followed a life filled with love, and although our hearts are heavy, we celebrate her release from the restraints of this world.

Jo Ann was born to Elsa Warnecke Salge and Harry Salge on the afternoon of June 16, 1936, in New Braunfels, Texas. She spent her entire childhood in New Braunfels; developing friendships that would last throughout her entire lifetime.

Jo Ann married William H. (Bill) Brown on December 29, 1956. They moved to Jourdanton, Texas where all three of their sons were born. They returned to New Braunfels where they lived happily for 58 years until Bill’s passing in 2014.

Once settled in New Braunfels, Jo Ann was employed by Dr. Fischer’s Dental Practice as a bookkeeper and a dental assistant. She then entered Civil Service, and worked at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio until her retirement.

Jo Ann was instrumental in the planning of her High School Reunions. She maintained friendships with a majority of her high school friends until her passing. Many of these friends were part of her BUNCO club, and together they spent hours laughing and reminiscing.

Jo Ann was preceded in death by her parents, Harry and Elsa Salge, her husband, Bill Brown, and her grandson, Will Brown. She is survived by her sons, William (Billy) Brown and wife Donna, Mark Brown and wife Chris, and Steven Brown, and wife Christie. She is also survived by eight grandchildren, Kailey Brown, Kyler Brown, Hunter Brown, Brandi Rodriguez and husband Joe, Bobby Heine and wife Mirela, Robert Brown and wife Margot, Jessica McCoy and husband Holt, and Stephanie Obelgoner and husband Jason, and eight great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held at Zoeller Funeral Home in New Braunfels, Texas from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, January 3, 2022. The funeral service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 4, 2022 at Zoeller Funeral Home, followed by burial at Guadalupe Memorial Park. After conclusion, the family would like friends to gather back at Zoeller Funeral Home for refreshments and reminiscing over a life well lived.

Linda Coats Service

Many of us have been praying for Linda Coats after her stroke and resulting health complications this past year and for those of us grieving since Linda’s death January 10th.  Her service, which was recorded and linked to below, was a beautiful reminder of the love and laughter that Linda inspired every where she went and how much she impacted the world.  Our prayers remain with all who mourn this beautiful soul.

Friends Congregational Church, UCC, posted this on Facebook January 10th: “It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that our dear Linda Coats passed from this life into God’s marvelous light. Linda died peacefully today in the early morning hours…Here she is placing a rock with her name on it into a box alongside rocks with her church family members’ names on them. Those rocks were mixed into the cement that laid the foundation for our church’s building expansion nearly a decade ago. It’s a comfort to know that the community of faith she nurtured continues to be nurtured on a foundation she is an essential, eternal part of. Rest in God’s ever-loving power and everlasting peace, Linda. This world is so much better because you let your light shine in it every day of your unmistakable life.”

Link to video of memorial service:

Ash Wednesday Service March 2nd 6:30pm

Join us as we observe the beginning of Lent in just a couple of weeks with a quiet, contemplative service and the dispensation of ashes.  If you need to join by Zoom, you may contact Janet or Pastor Carla to come by the church and pick up your ashes to participate in the service with us that evening.

Learn Ways to Support Connections!

Connections Individual and Family Services is hosting an Open House 2/22 from 10-11a(at 1414 W. San Antonio) to educate folks on their services and ways we can help.

This vital outreach could use our participation! Enter a raffle for an electric bike to support Connections, attend their free all-ages all-abilities yoga classes at Westside Community Center Mondays at 5:30p, and learn more by joining Pastor Carla at an Open House 10-11a on 2/22. Details can be found in their most recent newsletter. (sign up for newsletter at

Pastor Carla plans to attend and would love to others there!!

For more information, check out their Facebook Event here

Experience Fellowship and Fun at Slumber Falls Work Camp March 4-6!!

A weekend of service projects around the camp, laughter and friends, and being part of a powerful ministry that changes lives! The weekend is a casual affair where the bulk of the projects are slated for Saturday. If you have special skills or tools/equipment, please contact the camp office for possible projects.

Here are just a few of the projects we have lined up so far:

  • Carpentry / Construction
  • Cleaning / Organizing
  • General Repairs
  • Grounds Keeping
  • Painting
  • Refinishing Floors

For those needing volunteer hours, please bring your form(s) with you.

The cost for the weekend is free. Love offerings are appreciated, but never expected.

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