Category: March 2020

Heart of Texas Association News

    Our Heart of Texas Association Spring Meeting will be on Saturday, April 4th, at Weimar UCC.  Registration starts at 10:30 am with the meeting beginning at 11.  We will start with worship in the sanctuary and then move to lunch and our meeting in the Weimar church’s fellowship hall. We anticipate having people go through the lunch line right after worship, so we can eat and meet at the same time.   Our offering will go to donate to provide supplies to those living outdoors at the border in Matamoros awaiting asylum.  We will be accepting money and supplies (list of items needed to be distributed later) to be sent down on a trip that United Christian is making later this spring.  Those who wish to stay a bit after the meeting are welcome to help sort donated supplies. All paperwork (agendas, reports, and other paperwork we have handed out in the past) will be posted on the Heart of Texas Association website,, the week before the meeting. In order to save paper, we ask that people download these from the website, as we will have only a few copies.

      At our meeting, we anticipate discussion and a vote on whether to support the formation of a conference-wide fitness review committee.  A fitness review, in the United Church of Christ, is a serious and demanding process that takes place when the fitness of a minister for ministry is brought into question, usually due to a serious accusation.  At this time, fitness reviews are held at the Association level by our Committee on Ministry, which has the general task of oversight of ministers in the UCC.  When a fitness review occurs, Committee on Ministry members have to be trained in the process, members must recuse themselves if they are close to the person who is the subject of the review, a trained team must be sent to interview people close to the situation, and there are other demanding aspects of the process. During the time of the fitness review, the other tasks of the Committee on Ministry need to continue and, as in any situation where there is a problem of this sort, it is difficult to get work done.  Some other Conferences have moved fitness reviews to a Conference level committee, which allows a group to be “on call” with ongoing training and without other ministry oversight tasks to handle. At our Association Meeting, we will be deciding whether to support this initiative, and our meeting is scheduled in time to give our answer to the Conference Board at its April meeting as they prepare for a possible decision at the South Central Conference Annual Meeting in June.  In addition, we anticipate discussion on a few proposed changes to the Conference bylaws.

   We also anticipate having either one or two Ecclesiastical Councils, following ordination interviews for one or more candidates to be held at the Committee on Ministry’s meeting on Tuesday, March 31st.  I will be sending out the information on Ecclesiastical Councils to our churches and ministers as soon we can on March 31st, and we will be posting the relevant ordination papers on our website as soon as possible.

See the source image

      Finally,  on Sunday, February 16th, the Friends Congregational Church Choir sang the Requiem by John Rutter in Carnegie Hall in New York City as part of the Distinguished Concerts Orchestra and Singers Series.  I had the privilege of hearing this inspiring and beautiful concert, along with several folks from Friends.  Congratulations, Friends choir! 

Blessings in Christ, Liz Nash, Association Minister

Our Thoughts and Prayers are With the Triesch Family

Kenneth Triesch peacefully passed away on February 14, 2020 in New Braunfels at the age of 95. He lived a life filled with music and service to others.

A direct descendant of New Braunfels’ original German settlers, Ken was born on August 30, 1924, the eldest child of Walter and Adeline Triesch.  He grew up on a farm in Solms, and graduated from New Braunfels High School…  

 Ken’s musical talent was evident at a young age–his first professional job was at the age of 6, when he was paid to sing at a wedding.  As he grew up, he developed a powerful baritone/bass voice.  He was a church organist and choir director for 75 years (locally at First Protestant, St. John’s Episcopal, and Faith UCC), sang for innumerable weddings and funerals, and worked as a cantor at Temple Beth-El in San Antonio.  He appeared several times in operas in San Antonio (both in the chorus and in featured roles), at Circle Arts Theater in New Braunfels (most memorably as Ben Franklin in their Bicentennial production of 1776) and in a State Fair production of Miss Liberty in Dallas. He was also a featured concert soloist with various organizations, including the Pan American Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, and Valley Civic Chorus.  While living in Mission, Texas, he was named Valley Musician of the Year.  He earned a Master’s Degree in music education, and spent part of his career teaching high school choir and giving private lessons in voice and piano.

As Ken once said, “A musician also has to eat and live.”  To support his young family, he worked as a bookkeeper at Airmaid Hosiery’s New Braunfels plant and at Eden Home (now Eden Hill) during the 1950s.  The contacts made there led to a dramatic change of career when he was invited to become Eden Home’s administrator in the late 1960s.  In addition to the leadership he brought to the organization for the next 20 years, he also brought music and warm interaction to the residents, and oversaw the expansion of the facilities.  In retirement, Ken discovered that he had a talent for painting.  He took classes and produced many works during his later years.  Throughout his life, he was also an avid gardener and had an enviable green thumb.  Ken was a member of Faith UC C, and was active in the Lion’s Club, Men’s Garden Club, and the local chapter of the National Iris Society.  He also volunteered many hours for Meals on Wheels, S.O.S. Food Bank, and the New Braunfels Art League.

In 1948, Ken married Betty Pfeuffer Triesch.  During their 61 years together, they had four children.  He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Randolph (“Rennie”) Triesch, his son Bruce Triesch, and his wife Betty.  He is survived by his sister Grace Triesch Dreyer, his daughter Wendy Triesch Reinke, sons Mark Triesch and Jonathan Triesch, grandchildren Joshua Reinke and Jenna Reinke, great-grandchildren Embyr Reinke and Jack Reinke, nieces Gayle Dreyer Stroh and Susan Dreyer Ziperman, and nephew Wayne Triesch…..     Ken’s memorial service was held on Sunday, February 23rd at 1:30 p.m. at Faith UCC.

Lenten/Easter Schedule – 2020

Lenten Soup & Study: Wednesday Evenings beginning March 4th through April 8th from  6:30-8:15 p.m. in Base HallWe will be studying Rev. Jim Antal’s book  “Climate World, Climate Church”.  See the February newsletter for an outline of the study sessions.

Potluck on Sunday, March 29th after church.
(Program to be announced)

Easter Early Service at Slumber Falls On April 12th at 8 a.m.  
We will gather amidst the beauty of God’s creation out at Vesper Point for early Easter service.

Easter Breakfast & Easter Egg Hunt  On April 12th  at 9 a.m. at the church.  If you were at the camp for the early service swing by the church for breakfast and the Easter Egg Hunt.  If you are coming to the regular Easter 10:30 a.m. service come early for breakfast and stay for the 10:30 service.  Note, if you were at the 8 a.m. service the 10:30 service is completely different.  So consider going to BOTH!

Easter 10:30 a.m. Service On April 12th will include communion and our annual monarch butterfly release (weather permitting).  If you want to give a butterfly in honor or in memory of someone please fill out the slip of paper with the wording you want and the donation towards the cost of the butterflies is $10.  You can also donate a lily in honor or in memory of someone.

Chewy Lemon-Ginger-Coconut Cookies

  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick) 
  • ½ cup sugar 
  • 1 egg 
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda 
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and chopped or grated  
  • 1 ¼ cups flour 
  • 1 cup toasted coconut (unsweetened) 


Preheat oven to 350° F. 

  1. Spread unsweetened coconut on baking sheet tray, bake until edges are light brown, about 5–10 minutes. 
  2. Remove from oven and set aside in a bowl. 
  3. Cream the butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg, lemon juice, chopped ginger and lemon zest and mix until smooth. 
  4. Sift together flour and baking soda. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix until well blended. 
  5. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. 
  6. Scoop out tablespoon-size balls and roll them in the toasted coconut. Place balls at least 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheet tray. 
  7. Bake for 10–12 minutes until lightly brown on edges. Remove and cool on counter or a cool surface. 
Mikki Ward

Invest in futures

Date trees can take a decade to bear fruit and 100 years to reach their full height.  The hands that plant such a tree may do so knowing they may never rest in that tree’s shade.  Moved by love, they invest in that unseen future.  Brazilian theologian Ruben Alves wrote, “Let us plant dates even though those who plant them will never eat them.”

    We are all co-workers together in God’s service,” writes Paul in I Corinthians 3.  Some of us plant.  Some of us water.  But God gives the growth. Through One Great Hour of Sharing, we become like date tree planters: serving the fruitful future for which God years.  Who knows what growth God may bring when we join hands together across distance, across traditions, and across time for the love of what we may never see?

     As an example, young women arriving at the New Life Center in Thailand have escaped difficult pasts, and often face uncertain futures.  Whether they’re survivors of abuse, trafficking, or just a lack of access to education, they may find it hard to envision a life beyond their present situation.  But at New Life Center, they are met with kindness and compassion.  They encounter people willing to invest the time and resources to help them imagine abundant futures full of opportunities for education, friendship, and healing.

    Hands that once shuck with fear now move swiftly across a keyboard, operate a sewing machine, or warmly clasp the hands of a friend.  The support they receive at the New Life Center empowers these young women to share their own gifts for the future thriving of the world.

    When we give to One Great Hour of Sharing, we help make all of this new life and growth possible.  Through our sharing, we are connected as co-workers,.  Our combined gifts empower young girls through education, help women learn trades; rebuild communities after disaster, and support communities through agriculture as they learn to sustain themselves.  In these and so many other ways, we release the waters of God’s growth when we invest in the lives of others.

The official Sunday to receive the OGHS offering is March 22nd but you can donate any time using the envelopes in the pews or online at

From the Pastor – March 2020

In February of 2012 the Anglican Church in the U.K. issued its Ash Wednesday Declaration as a theological response to climate change.  The title of document was “Climate Change and the Purposes of God.”  We used this document for the Ash Wednesday service here at Faith UCC this year.  This document was both biblically and scientifically based.  The opening line states:  “The likelihood of runaway global warming, which will diminish food security, accelerate the extinction of huge numbers of species and make human life itself impossible in some parts of the world, raises questions that go to the heart of our Christian faith.” 

What I like about this text is that it calls for a seven point  faith approach to human caused climate change.  The first is to Find Joy In Creation!   Explore, celebrate and give thanks for the amazing world that is around us.  It is a gift of God.  Second, “Listen!”  We need to listen to the best science that is out there from the majority of climate scientists remembering that “In ancient Israel, prophets were always shadowed by false prophets, representing the ruling powers.  We must listen to the scientists warning us of approaching dangers, exercise discernment, and be wary of ‘false prophets’ representing the vested interests of the powerful.”  Third, “Repent!”  In truth all of us have contributed to climate change.  Some impact is unavoidable, a byproduct of living but there are things we can do to mitigate our impact.  True repentances is not just feeling bad  but “…finding creative, constructive and immediate ways of addressing the danger.  It happens when God’s Spirit enables a change of mind and a change of heart, prompting a turn from past wrong and a decision to change direction.”  Fourth, “Take Responsibility!”  We must make these changes towards sustainability not just for our generation but for future generations and for the diversity of life on earth. Fifth, “Seek Justice!”  Poor communities and countries have done little to contribute climate change compared to the richer countries; yet they will bear the brunt of the negative effects of climate change.  We are called to question economic systems that lead to limitless consumption of the earth’s resources,  the idea of unlimited economic growth, of overconsumption, exploitative interest and debt, and destruction of the natural environment.  Sixth, “Love Our Neighbor!”  Love of neighbor calls us to consider not only our own neighbors and family in making decisions but also those not in our circle, even strangers, and yes, even future generations.  As we do unto the least of these, we do it unto Christ.  This will be needed more than ever as the stresses caused by climate change grow larger and larger.  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, “Act With Hope!”  As people of faith despair is not an option.  “We are called to faith and action in trusting response to the God made known by the Holy Spirit in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, the Lord of all life.”

Rev. Scott B. Martin

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