Tag: SCC (Page 1 of 4)

Phil’s Note-Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Submitted by Rev. Phil Hodson, SCC Conference Minister

As of today I have traveled 5,173 miles around the Conference in my car. I’ve been preaching and visiting our congregations, meeting with different individuals and groups, and asking the same question: What should a Conference Minister do? I’m asking because I want to learn our goals and dreams and also gain insight into our past experience so that we can live more fully together into the future that God has in store for us. When I started asking the question, I expected two standard answers: conflict resolution and search & call. What’s been both interesting and exciting to me is that neither of those are at the top of the list with anyone I’ve spoken to. Instead, I’ve heard these words: encouragement, guidance, direction, connection raised repeatedly. I find this terribly exciting — because that’s been my hope since I started the car on July 15! It is my deepest desire to be in ministry with you that is missional, relational, and incarnational across every setting of the church. 

One of the ways that can happen is through the use of a tool called MissionInsite, which the Conference has purchased and will make available for use in every congregation. As a pastor in the local church, I used this resource to launch a new congregation, identify ministry opportunities, and see the local church relate to its’ community in incredible ways — and I want us to do the same in the South Central Conference! This resource compiles data about the neighborhoods we live in and the neighbors who live beside us — interests, preferences, hopes, and more — using the latest from the Census and the agencies who collect our individual data for private enterprise to understand us, but their goal is to help the church gain deeper understanding so that we can be in ministry with our neighbors in relevant, practical ways that will transform lives.  Did I mention this is freely available to any setting that would like to use it? And that I will make time to personally consult with you and your leadership in understanding your mission field and help you identify new opportunities? This will be a multi-step process that will help us understand ourselves and our neighbors more fully, so that we can help the rubber meet the road in our ministries going forward! The first step is to answer this question:

Would your congregation be interested in this resource?

If you answered yes, the next step is to email me and let me know you’d like to begin the journey! Note: when you do, I’ll send you back a spreadsheet. This will come with regular homework. I’m sharing this now because we just signed the contract and I’m really excited about what is possible! I’m also sharing it now because Christmas is right around the corner (I know, right?), and the Advent and Christmas season has traditionally been a wonderful time to connect with new neighbors and showcase the power of community and relationship through the life of the church! Which leads me to another question:

Would or Could your church utilize a list of names in your community for you to reach out to?

If we developed a simple postcard that could name your church and Christmas Eve worship time, then provide you a list of 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 names in your community to mail it to, would your congregation be interested in underwriting the cards and names prepared for you?

Jesus’ ministry was highly contextual. He knew the people he connected with. Everywhere he went on his ministry journey, Jesus paid careful attention to what was actually around him and related to the folks he met. I believe, as we prepare for what God has in store in our future, we must move forward in the same fashion. These resources, and the questions I’m asking you today, are one way your Conference Minister hopes to encourage, guide, offer direction and foster new connections with you. I pray you will find them helpful and engage in this exciting opportunity together with me. We have many wonderful miles to travel together!

Blessings,

Rev. Phil Hodson
Conference Minister
South Central Conference, 
United Church of Christ
3610 River Road
New Braunfels, TX 78132


ONA NEWS: New Webinar Series Can Revive Your Church

Submitted by Andrew Lang

TRAINING PROGRAMS FOR ONA AND NOT-YET ONA CHURCHES

The Coalition’s popular series of webinars resumes on Tuesday, October 26, 2021.
Available Webinars:

ONA 101:

  • Tuesday, October 26th
  • Thursday, November 4th

ONA and the Bible:

  • Tuesday, November 2
  • Thursday, November 11

1-to-1 Conversations about ONA:

  • Tuesday, November 9

ONA Next:

  • Tuesday, November 16

Do you know churches that want to become ONA, but are hesitating because of the fear they might lose members and money?

Let them know about this series: churches that participate in our training programs learn how an ONA process can build consensus and revive energy for mission and ministry!

You can register for an individual webinar or purchase a discounted Season Pass for all sessions.

REGISTER HERE

Austin Musicians Celebrate Sid Hall – Party & Fundraiser – November 7, 2021

Shared by Trinity Church of Austin

Please join us on Sunday, November 7, 2021 from 3:30-7:30pm to celebrate Sid Hall’s 33 years of ministry with Trinity Church of Austin!

Sid retired as of July 1 of this year, but due to pandemic conditions, we delayed his retirement celebration until it was cool enough for us to gather outdoors. We encourage you to mask up and join us for live music, food, drinks, and fellowship at Ranch Austin with the Trinity community.

We have a stunning lineup of Austin musicians joining us for the evening, including Kelly Willis, Sara Hickman, Albert & Gage, Nancy Scott, Ed Miller, the Therapy Sisters, Doc Grauzer, and our own Trinity musicians. Scroll down for details!

Proceeds from the event will benefit the ongoing ministries of Trinity Church of Austin. Your generous tax-deductible donations allow us to fund sliding scale admissions for those in our community who could not otherwise afford to attend.

REGISTER HERE TO ATTEND

TX Impact Board to have UCC/SCC Representative Vacancy as Sheila Angerer Steps Down

Submitted by Sheila Angerer

I am going to step back from serving as a TX Impact board member. This will leave a vacancy to represent the UCC and SCC.

I am unwilling to drive to Austin, let alone maneuver my way through traffic. I have not made this decision without some prayer and meditation and kept coming up with the same answer. 

I have enjoyed everyone on the TX Impact board. I believe I served through three legislative years.  Two of which I was able to be in Austin several times due to the kindness of others. The rallies on the steps of the Capitol were invigorating. We were able to meet with our respective representatives and senators.

I have contacted Bee Moorehead and advised her of my decision.  Just remember the legislature meets every other year. If you are at all interested in serving on the TX Impact board, please Google TX Impact, there is good information to digest and help with a decision. TX Impact is a faith based organization. I have submitted information about TX Impact in earlier newsletters.

If more information is needed , please contact Bee Moorehead at bee@texasimpact.org or Annaliese Cothron at Annaliesecothron@gmail.com. They will have answers to your questions.

It has been an honor to represent TX Impact through Faith UCC in New Braunfels and the conference during the past six years. All good things do come to an end.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me at 830 352 3314 or email me at Geminibo2@hotmail.com.  Thanks very much.

Peace & Grace
Sheila Angerer


All of us at Faith UCC offer our special thanks to Sheila for her dedication and service! Thank you, Sheila.

Putting Feet To Our Prayers

Submitted by Rev. Phil Hodson, Conference Minister

I’ve heard this as a lyric in modern Christian music, calling out to God in a victory-seeking, almost authoritarian way. Directing praise to “God-of-the-angel-armies,” which is language I once found off-putting. Then I served a predominantly military congregation where the terminology came to life. Not in a macho, winner-take-all, generic sense, but in a specific, leading, loyal, purpose-driven way — folks who gave their lives in service to others resonated with a God who shared orders and gave directives and invited their response in the world for the good of their neighbors. So I slowly began to rethink my position.

In recent weeks, Hurricane Ida has destroyed one of our churches and impacted many, many lives throughout New Orleans and across Louisiana and so many other places, too. In recent days we have seen our own government respond to those seeking a better life — people camped out under a bridge right here in Texas after spending 11 years journeying with the hope of a brighter future — by chasing down children and shipping folks back to a land they left behind long ago and likely won’t even recognize. And these two statements I have just made, overly simplistic as they are, barely scratch the surface of the challenges faced.

So we pray for somebody to do something about it. We hope it will get better. We shake our heads in disappointment and disgust. And maybe, just for a moment, we cry out to “God-of-the-angel-armies” to mobilize a squadron and make a change. But when we do all of these things we must remember what that means. Something the folks I served in that military church knew — we are the squadron we’re asking God to mobilize. And it is God’s desire that we get with the program and be the change we seek in the world! Prayer works best when we put our own feet beneath it.

I am heading to New Orleans next week to survey damage, meet with our pastors and churches, and begin to seek God’s vision for what happens next. And today I put my name and office on a letter crafted by our Justice and Witness Ministries office in Washington, DC, to ask the administration to rethink its present course on the refugee crisis here in Texas. 

I will, in ways that I can, put my feet beneath my prayers. What about you? We are going to need, at some point soon, teams to go into Louisiana and help rebuild — both the walls of our own churches and the walls of our neighbors, too. Will you join me in that effort? If so, email me. And we need more to participate in the work of this letter, to lend the voices of our United Church of Christ, laity and pastors alike, to call out for justice. If that voice is yours, you can read the letter here and sign it here

Let’s put feet beneath our prayers and be the squadron of hope and healing we pray for.

Blessings,
Rev. Phil Hodson
Conference Minister
South Central Conference, United Church of Christ
3610 River Road
New Braunfels, TX 78132

Cathedral of Hope Dallas Acquires Believe Out Loud

Submitted by Rev. Neil Thomas, Senior Pastor COH

Cathedral of Hope Acquires Believe Out Loud, aGlobal Digital Project Providing Resources and Community for LGBTQIA People of Faith and Allies

Believe Out Loud will become a Cathedral program that will expand the church’s community and increase tailored content

DALLAS, Texas (September 14, 2020) – Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ, known as the largest predominantly LGBTQ+ church in the world, is pleased to announce the acquisition of, and partnership with, Believe Out Loud. Believe Out Loud will become a program of the Cathedral that will promote the message of God’s love for all, regardless of faith tradition. 

As a new program of Cathedral of Hope, Believe Out Loud’s mission is to meet the needs for spiritual content tailored to the LGBTQIA community. These resources will go beyond tolerance and acceptance and use the LGBTQIA experience as a framework for understanding the divine.

“In the face of constant efforts to squeeze people who are different out of public space, it is critical to remain grounded in the deep faith that all people are worthy of God’s love,” said Rev. Dr. Neil G. Thomas, Senior Pastor of Cathedral of Hope. “We are excited to partner with Believe Out Loud to spread that message and be an affirming space for all people of faith and our allies.”

Started in 2007 as the Religious Voices Project, the original mission of Believe Out Loud was to determine where mainline Protestant clergy stand on gay and lesbian equality and assess methods to move more clergy toward LGBT acceptance. Believe Out Loud has since expanded its campaign from reaching exclusively mainline Protestant clergy to reaching Christians of all kinds, regardless of denomination, affiliation, or role.

Believe Out Loud now works internationally and digitally, having evolved to become an online community for LGBTQIA people of faith and allies. The organization provides access to affirming worship services and livestreams, LGBT and faith-related events, connections to justice and inclusion organizations, mental health resources, and original content.

Now operating under the the leadership of Cathedral of Hope, Believe Out Loud aspires to be a more diverse space, specifically working to unite people of various faiths and religious experiences to find hope and reclaim their own experience of the Divine. Victoria Anderson, former digital and creative content associate for Believe Out Loud, has now joined the staff of the Cathedral of Hope as Director of Content Development. “The Board and Staff of Believe Out Loud conducted a thorough and national search, including most major national LGBTQ nonprofits, to find the perfect home for our future. We are thrilled that the new home proved to be Cathedral of Hope, and I’m excited to join the Reverend Neil and the incredible staff of Cathedral.” 

First Congregational Church of Houston Offers Invite to Sylvia Richards Memorial Lecture – October 16th

Submitted by Mary Harper

FCC Houston would like to invite local, area, and national UCC folks to the Inaugural Sylvia Richards Memorial lecture to be given by renowned speaker Dr. Jill Carroll at 4:00 pm CST on October 16, 2021.

She’ll discuss “The Faults in Our Stars (and Stripes): What 2020 Can Teach Us About Who We Are & Who We Might Become as a Nation.” Dr. Carroll is a recognized expert on issues of religious tolerance, American religion, and religion in public life.

Please join us for a stimulating talk, either in person at First Congregational Church of Houston, 10840 Beinhorn Rd, Houston, TX 77024 or livestream on YouTube. 

Tickets are available on Eventbrite. 
$20 (includes a reception and opportunity to meet Jill) 
$5 for livestream on YouTube

Eventbrite (in person)
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-faults-in-our-stars-and-stripes-in-person-event-tickets-169628018971

Eventbrite (virtual via YouTube)
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-faults-in-our-stars-and-stripes-virtual-event-tickets-169629900599

Church website pages (also found under the Get Involved tab on the home page):
https://www.fcc-houston.org/lectures/https://www.fcc-houston.org/lectures/jill-carroll/

Facebook Event: https://fb.me/e/Xndfb7ag

You’re Invited to Join the First Congregational Church of Houston at their October 8-10, 2021 Retreat at Slumber Falls

Houston Association Church, First Congregational Church is having their annual All Church Retreat at Slumber Falls the weekend of October 8-10th.

They would like to open this retreat to any and all SCC churches who would like to participate. If you have ever wanted to attend a retreat at Slumber Falls but your church couldn’t meet the minimum number requirement to reserve a facility….this is your opportunity!

If you have any questions about the retreat or would like to register, please contact Sue Earl at jearl18925@sbcglobal.net.

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