Category: July 2021 (Page 1 of 2)

From the Pastor,

Faithful Family,

It has been a BUSY and BEAUTIFUL month of activity at Faith! Please see the Note of Thanks in this newsletter and take a moment to reach out and add your appreciation to one another for all you have each done, and are doing, to BE the life and ministry of Faith Church!

Our first Hybrid Worship Service, June 27th, was a great day of celebration with 48 present in person and another 18 with us on Zoom. We know even more watch the recordings of our services after the fact.

We had many, many guests visiting us and trust we will be a place of excitement, welcome, and inclusion helping them to all feel swept up into our Faith Family, extending the love of God to them in whatever ways we can!

We have two of these long-time visitors, Lauren and Izzy, who will be officially joining us as a members in the next few weeks as soon as we can get that scheduled in our services!! Be watching next month’s newsletter for more information about each of them, and make a point to reach out and welcome them and their loved ones into our family.

As we await the time when it is felt to be safer to sing indoors together, we will continue working to have a once-a-month outdoor Hymn Sing (with even more shade!!) after an abbreviated indoor worship service so we can blast out singing joyfully to our heart’s content. It’s also a great way to get the attention of and minister to folks waiting in line for tacos next door!

We continue to seek other ways to make our presence known in this community that needs and wants a place to live out faith through service, justice for everyone, and inclusion of all. Again and again, we hear visitors say, “I’ve been in this community for years and no idea you were here” or “How did we never know that a progressive church like Faith existed?!” It’s time to stop being the best-kept secret in town.

If you feel called to participate in a protest or speak up on behalf of some issue, let’s organize it on our property. If you have a letter to the editor about an issue of advocacy or activism you wish to write, make yourself known as a part of Faith Church.

If you have posts to share on social media that speak to the values we hold as a church, please send them to me. Let’s get creative and make our voices heard so that others can find this place that has so much meaning and so many gifts for us.

Finally, we are in the process of re-forming our Pastoral Search Committee and ask for your prayers and participation. The process of discernment during the transition of ministers is crucial to examining where Faith has been in the past, what’s currently working, what no longer serves, and where God is calling Faith to go next. That process will include asking each of you for your input into these questions. It is time to dream, to vision, and seek God’s direction and energy.

The information we collect will also help us to apply for Renewing Church Grants from the UCC this coming September that could provide a significant boost to our coming ministry! I once served on the UCC National Committee that awarded New and Renewing Church Grants and, I can assure you, even halfway decent applications stand a great chance of funding with lifetime grants (not loans, but grants that are given and do not have to be paid back!) available up to $100,000.

To find out more about this process, what’s involved, and what’s possible for us, go to https://www.ucc.org/what-we-do/justice-local-church-ministries/local-church/mesa-ministerial-excellence-support-and-authorization/ministers/ministers_local-church-leaders-2/grow-your-church/.

My friends, I need all of us partnering together to determine the future leadership, ministry, and direction of Faith Church. It cannot be upon your Designated Term Pastor, alone, to drive and direct this process.

We also cannot make the assumption that I will be remaining past the end of our contract in December, as these other steps of discernment about Faith’s past, current life, and future ministry must first occur. Only then can the conversation even begin regarding the skills, qualities, and qualifications Faith needs in whomever God will call next as your settled pastor.

As we engage in this process, together, Faith Church will only mature, deepen, become more unified and an even more powerful witness to God’s radical and wasteful love in our world. Each of you is an important part of Faith’s leadership.

No longer can today’s churches be run by a pastor who does it all, or even a small group of people who do everything. That model quickly becomes toxic to everyone involved. As each of you determines which of your gifts God is calling you to use to bolster the life of Faith Church, a rich, healthy, diverse tapestry will be woven that will prove so strong that nothing will be able to break it.

May God bless us as we walk this exciting journey of discovery and possibility together. I covet your prayers, as you have mine.

Peace,
Pastor Carla

A Note of Thanks

What a busy and beautiful month it has been as we have worked to increase our visibility in and ministry to our community with the Blessing of Hands, participation in the first ever Riverside Pride event, and resumption of in-person worship in conjunction with our on-going Zoom worship availability.

There are more thanks to hand around than can ever be fully expressed, and I hesitate to name one lest I unintentionally forget to mention another, but please take a second to express gratitude to all who have worked so hard this past month to share their time and talents and passion in so many ways:

Our Blessing of the Hands volunteers (Janet, Sheila, Joe, Mikki, Bob, Shirley, Kathy, Karen, Jan, Mike, Ralph, Sandy, Lindsey, Pam, Charlie, and Lauren)

Pastor Janet and all the members of the Pastoral Care Committee who write notes and cards and make calls (Sheila, Shirley, Mike, Karen, Val, and others)

Our newest prospective member, Lauren, who almost single-handedly put together our booth for Riverside Pride and stood in the heat all day to love on our rainbow siblings, along with Tim, Fischer, Hayes, Gage, and Sam who helped set up and take down and Janet and Charlie and Pam who also provided loving presence and help at our booth, and Val, Lisa, Michelle, Nicolle, Devyn, Grace, Cade, Quinn, and Kai for joining us, as well.

Our dedicated COVID Committee (Jim, Judith, Bob, and Nicolle) who met and discussed and prayed and researched to discern when and how best to re-engage with in-person worship in a safe and faithfully responsible way.

Our amazing tech team and jack-of-all-that-needs-to-be-done Ward family (Joe, Sam, and Mikki) quietly spending literally hundreds of hours getting us ready for hybrid worship (and welcome to Philip, the newest member of our tech team!!)

Lauren and her husband, Slim Bawb, and his bandmate, Jordan, for providing (free of charge) a beautiful and celebratory outdoor Gospel Sing after our first in-person worship June 27th and to Sam and Joe, Jim, Will, Adam, Quinn, and Kai for their help setting up and taking down chairs and canopies.

And then, there are those who help with our day to day ministries like our KIVA Microloan Program (Mike, Frank, Fischer, and Hayes), our participation in Texas Impact and the Refugee Network led by Sheila, our SOS Food Bank ministry (Mike, Janet, Weldon, Joe, Mike (friend of Joe), Judith, Karen D., and Lauren), David for putting together this newsletter for us each month, Michael for making name-tags for our members and guests, Dennis for keeping our lawn looking spiffy, our Council members (Sam, Devyn, Val, Mikki, Beth, and Carol), and so many more of you who keep this church going and growing!!

God bless you all for your service and giving of gifts and presence and time. Until there is a bigger word than thank you…THANK YOU!!

Heart of Texas Association News

    The Annual Meeting of the South Central Conference (SCC) was held on Saturday, June 12th, online.  Although there is a loss to us from not being together in person, it was an excellent gathering, full of joy and good sharing.  All of that is thanks to outgoing SCC Board President from our Association, Nikki Stahl; the great work of the North Texas Association; and those who helped behind the scenes. At the meeting, we learned that, after this very difficult year, Slumber Falls Camp is filling up in its camps this summer, our churches have been generous in their giving to the South Central Conference (through Our Church’s Wider Ministry), and three of the four Associations in the South Central Conference have voted to participate in the Unified Fitness Review Committee.  The Heart of Texas Association has not yet voted to join this committee, but we are moving forward in the process of deciding by the time it is needed next spring.  Those elected to SCC committees and offices from the Heart of Texas Association include Trent Williams of Friends Congregational College Station as SCC Board Vice President, Brooke Dooley of Friends Congregational (a Member in Discernment) as the Youth/Young Adult SCC Board representative, and Sonja Phillips from Friedens UCC Geronimo to the SCC Nominating Committee. In addition, we offer thanks to Cindy Miller of St. John’s UCC Burton and Jenny Russell of Touchstone Community Church Boerne for serving on the SCC Nominating Committee this year. We also offer our support and gratitude for Debra Joseph of the New Orleans Association as she begins her term as Board President of the SCC, and give thanks for the important interim ministry work of Campbell Lovett as he finishes his time with us.

    Arlene Turner, Pastor of Bethany Congregational San Antonio, will be presenting a workshop, “The Urgency and Challenges of Bible Literacy,” on Thursday, July 8th, at the upcoming virtual UCC General Synod.  Congratulations, Arlene! Arlene’s workshop was also part of our SCC Annual Meeting. Arlene’s workshop, along with the other General Synod workshops, will be recorded and available for viewing by those registered for Synod from July 11th-18th.   Any of us can register for General Synod at https://www.generalsynod.org/.  The cost is only $100 for visitors, with the opportunity to celebrate, worship, and learn with folks from across the UCC.

    Mary Wilson, retired pastor of Church of the Savior, has taken on a new position.  She is the Director of ChrysalisQ.org, a support and resource group for LGBTQI+ families.  We congratulate Mary. Her skills and calling will bring real gifts to this new organization.

    There will be a Celebration of Life for Jewel Johnson, Pastor Emeritus of St. Peter’s Church of Coupland and longtime minister among us, at 4 pm on Wednesday, July 7th, at St. Peter’s.  Jewel died on July 2nd, 2020.  I know many of you knew Jewel and his years of faithful and excellent Christian ministry.  Glen Schoeneberg will officiate.

    Finally, as many of you know, I recently submitted my notice to the Heart of Texas Association that I am retiring. I have offered to serve until a new Association Minister is brought onboard or until the Fall Association Meeting, whichever is sooner. The new Association Minister will have a good start in working with our new SCC Conference Minister, Phil Hodson. My heart and prayers will always be with the generous ministry of this Association and our churches.  You are great disciples and wonderful people!

Blessings in Christ,
Liz Nash, Association Minister

Slumber Falls Camp Looking for Summer Camp Volunteers

Hello Churches and Conference Friends:

Slumber Falls is having excellent summer camp registrations and we are now at 221 campers.

We are in desperate need of the following Volunteers:

  • 2 female adults (over 18) to Counsel at our Streams of Faith 1 (grades 3-5) from July 4 – July 10
  • 1 male adult (over 18) to Counsel at our Eco Camp (grades 6-8) from July 11 – July 17
  • 3 females and 2 males (over 18) Counselors needed for our Living Waters camp (grades 3-6) from July 11 – July 17

If you are interested in volunteering for any of these openings, please contact

Stacey at stacey@slumberfalls.org as soon as possible. Thank you for your consideration!

“Zoom Cafe” Reminder – Wednesday Morning July 7, 2021

Wednesday, July 7th @ 9:30 am.

Join Rev. Campbell Lovett and other Clergy from around the SCC for the weekly “Zoom Cafe” on Wednesday, July 7th @ 9:30 am.

This is an opportunity for coffee and conversation about the challenges of the week.

There is no set agenda, and you are free to come and go as your schedule allows.
Topics of conversation might include preaching possibilities for the coming Sunday, COVID challenges to you and your flock, UCC mission updates, or a sharing of concerns about local matters.

If you have not already attended a “Zoom Cafe” and would like to, here is a link to the pre-scheduled meetings: Zoom Cafe.
Meeting ID: 827 8727 5793
Passcode: 224868

See you all soon!

Celebration of life for Rev. Jewel Johnson Wednesday, July 7, at 4 pm

Submitted by Rev. Glen Schoeneberg, Shared by Rev. Campbell Lovett

There will be a Celebration of Life for Rev Jewel Johnson on Wednesday, July 7, at 4 pm, at St. Peter’s in Coupland. A reception will follow in the Fellowship Hall. 
Jewel is “Pastor Emeritus” at St Peter’s in Coupland. He also served conference churches in Dallas, Burton, Richland, and Neiderwald. Jewel died on July 2, 2020. 

South Central Conference – Let’s Worship Together at General Synod!

Submitted by Rev. Campbell Lovett, SCC Interim Conference Minister

You have read in these pages about the General Synod of the United Church of Christ, July 11 – 18. Most Synod events will take place in the late afternoon and early evening. If you are not able to register as a Visitor for the workshops, keynote addresses, worship services, exhibit hall and business sessions ($100), you can still sign up to “attend” the virtual worship services – for free!!

The worship services are usually highlights of Synod and help us all feel connected as members of the United Church of Christ. I hope that you will attend as an individual, family or at a church viewing party!

To register for General Synod worship services, please go to www.GeneralSynod.org. Click on the REGISTER NOW link and follow the prompts. When checking a registration category, indicate Live Stream Only, which will allow you to view worship only at no cost.

Worship services at Synod – schedule:
Opening Worship: July 11, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Mid-Point Worship: July 14, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Closing Worship – July 18, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

I look forward to worshiping with you at General Synod 33.

With you on the journey,
Campbell Lovett Interim Conference Minister

SCC Conference at a Glance

UCC 2021 General Synod
July 11-18, 2021

SCC Executive Committee Zoom
July 12 @ 6:00pm
August 9 @ 6:00pm
September 13 @ 6:00pm
October 11 @ 6:00pm
November 8 @ 6:00pm (Subject to Date Change)

SCC Board of Directors Training
July 21, 6:00-8:00pm
August 12, 6:00-8:00pm

Heart of Texas Committee on Ministry Meeting
August 24, 2021

SCC Board of Directors Meeting
Saturday, September 18, 10:00am – 2:00pm
Saturday, November 6, 10:00am – 2:00pm

SRWR Virtual Retreat
October 2, 2021

SRWR In-Person Retreat
October 14-16, 2021


Other Upcoming Events

Slumber Falls Summer Camp Descriptions

Geek Week & Streams of Faith 1 Camps
July 4-10, 2021
Eco & Living Waters Camps
July 11-17, 2021
Streams of Faith 2 Camp
July 18-24, 2021

Pathways Theological Offering Spiritual Growth Courses beginning July 19th

Submitted by Rev. Melissa Ashmore, Pathways Theological Registrar

Pathways Theological offers personal spiritual growth courses in addition to our ministry preparation program. PATHWAYS Theological, Inc. is an affordable and accessible online program in progressive theology. Participants are not bound by geography and have a flexible time schedule over the course of each week. The weekly readings and the facilitated accompanying online forum offer a practical, open-minded education and create a learner-centered environment where participants can bring their own questions and wisdom. 

Please get to know us through our website: https://pathwaystheological.org/

From the website you can enroll in our upcoming classes as simply as shopping online.  The following explorer courses are $99 for a 4 weeks.

  • Singing the Bible – [this is an extremely popular course and you need not be a worship leader or musician to take this course, it is for everyone] (Jul 19 – Aug 15)
  • The Bible Clearly Says…Or Does It? Homosexuality and the Bible (Jul 19-Aug15)
  • Good Sabbath: Restoring the Soul (Aug 18 – Sept 13)
  • What about the Bible? (Sept 15 – Oct 12)
  • Environmental Justice (Oct 20 – Nov 16)

Getting to know Pathways
Shared by Melissa Ashmore, Pathways Theological Registrar

Greetings, South Central Conference!
It is my honor and my pleasure to invite you to view the videos at the links below to introduce you to PATHWAYS Theological Education, Inc. As registrar, I have committed to the mission and vision of this organization as one of the multiple paths to ministry and as a provider of excellent education for church leaders at every level.

Please feel free to contact me directly or to complete the contact form at www.PathwaysTheological.org/contact-us to learn more about what PATHWAYS can offer to you and to your church.

Peace,
Rev. Melissa Ashmore
PATHWAYS Registrar
registrar@pathwaystheological.org

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