I share with joy that Arlene Turner has been called to be Pastor of Bethany Congregational UCC in San Antonio, beginning on June 1st. Arlene will be ordained at United Christian Church on Sunday, May 30th (by the time most of you read this article) during the Zoom prayer and fellowship time after preaching in the morning online worship service. As some of you may recall, Arlene was approved for ordination at an Ecclesiastical Council of the Heart of Texas Association last May. Her journey to ordination came first through the United Methodist Church, and then through being a Member in Discernment at United while helping in many ways with her active membership and ministry there. Bethany voted to call her on May 9th. Since Arlene is to be ordained at United, the church is working with her to celebrate her ordination before she begins at Bethany. They are figuring out how to do it with Association representation while the whole church community is still meeting online. Our ways are a bit different than before the pandemic, but we are thankful to God that our ministry continues. We pray for God’s blessings on Arlene and on Bethany as they go forward in Christ’s ministry together, and we give thanks for the caring and faithful interim ministry of Pastor Tom Robison with the church.
As announced earlier, Kerry Kirtley was ordained on Sunday, May 23rd at Touchstone Community Church in Boerne in a vibrant Pentecost service. The service was the first in person worship for Touchstone since March, 2020. It was also their first hybrid service, meaning that the service included those attending online. In addition, the service included both online and live music. It all came together beautifully. Kerry, like Arlene, came to the UCC through the United Methodist Church (UMC), and the service included UMC pastors who had supported her in her journey as well as many from her large and loving family.
Our brother in Christ, Martin Garrison, has resigned as Pastor of St Peter’s Church of Coupland, with his last Sunday being June 27th. Martin has served at St. Peter’s since 2014. Several of our Heart of Texas ministers shared heartfelt memories together recently as we said farewell to Martin at our May “Jam and Bread” gathering. He and his wife, Emily, will be moving to Galveston for the next stop on their journey, with Martin taking a break from ministry. Our prayers for God’s blessings and the presence of the Holy Spirit go with them. Our prayers go, too, with St. Peter’s as they search for an interim minister and begin this time of transition.
Our brother in Christ, Sid Hall, will have his farewell worship service at Trinity Church of Austin on June 13th as he retires as their Lead Minister. Sid has served at Trinity since 1988, guiding them to become one of the early Reconciling Churches in the United Methodist Church and ministering with them as they became dually affiliated with the UCC, among many milestones in his ministry with the church. He has, as well, been a long time leader in social justice ministry in Austin. Sid and his wife, Mary Pratt, will be moving to Ft. Collins, Colorado, and he will move into full standing as a UCC minister in July. We give thanks to God for Sid’s ministry and pray for Sid and Mary to be blessed with God’s presence going forward. We also pray for God’s blessings on Trinity’s incoming interim minister, Christine Tata and on the time she and the church will share together releasing Sid as they start a new era in Trinity’s ministry.
Blessings in Christ,
Liz Nash, Association Minister