HMC E-Newsletter June 30, 2011

Connecting More Fully at HMC:
►Sunday School for All ages: 9:30AM Adult Sunday School Class: God and America: Inside the tumultuous 400-year history of the intersection of religion and public life in America. Please watch episode 3, “A Nation Reborn” (51 minutes) online at: our class discussion this Sunday. Those unable to watch will be able to engage conversation, but you’re encouraged to watch ahead. 
►Pastor Marty will be attending Mennonite Church USA’s bi-annual gathering in Pittsburgh July 4-9 Visit: for more info. For pastoral care while Marty is in Pittsburgh please contact the Community Life Team.
►Houston Astros Faith and Family Night: Saturday July 16. Want to see a baseball game with some friends? Like Christian Music concerts? Join us for a great night in July. Game time is 6:05PM, Houston Astros vs Pittsburgh Pirates. Concert following is The David Crowder Band. We’ll purchase group tickets in the $10 range. Please RSVP to Pastor Marty by Sunday July 10.
July 29-30 – WDC Annual Assembly, Bethel College, North Newton, KS. Make plans now to attend! Something New!  Persons attending the WDC annual assembly July 29-30 at Bethel College and Bethel College Mennonite Church, will register for one of ten “Learning Tracks” of three hours in length, designed to be resourcing events for pastors and lay leaders.  A variety of toipcs will include Immigration issues, Tur-around church, Anabaptism, Church planting, Spirituality, Adventure course, Holistic service, Welcoming children, and Potluck.  Here’s the kicker – Anyone (non-assembly-goers) can attend a Learning Track – for only $20 – it’s a great opportunity to get some quality resourcing.

Pastoral Review
From the Community Life Team (Roxie Voran, Gloria Wilson, Twila Wiens)

Marty Troyer will be completing his initial three-year term as our pastor in November of this year.  Accordingly, the Congregational Life Team (Gloria Wilson, Twila Wiens, Roxie Voran) will be leading a pastoral review during the summer.  Some of you will be receiving invitations to attend one of several Focus Group meetings that will be held in July.  Please make every effort to attend.  There will also be an open Focus Group meeting on Tuesday evening, July 26 at which everyone is welcome.  Please remember the review process in your prayers that it may help us to grow together as God’s people.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact any CLT member.

By Marty Troyer

The exodus from Houston’s summer heat has begun. Our people are spreading out across the continent for all many of family fun and personal revelry. Good for us! It’s important to cross our borders, spend time with relatives, and rest from work.

Growing up in a working class family we cherished our vacations as luxuries of playful relationship-building. Etched in my brain are the times we packed up and headed to the Upper Penninsula of Michigan, or the month-long trip we took to Mexico and the American west. We visited family, saw breathtaking natural settings like the Grand Canyon, played countless games of Uno, camped under the stars, and listened to 8-Tracks like they were going out of style.

Looking back years later I now know how hard it was for my parents to pull these trips off. The packing, the planning, the financing of these trips must have been terribly stressful for them. But completely worth it. Worth it because it reminded my dad he wasn’t the center of the universe. He didn’t need this because he had a psychological defect or complex of any sort. He needed the reminder to “stop” because he was a hard working small business owner, church leader, and a man with a clear sense of vocation. Vacations reminded him, appropriately, that life would go on back home if he was stuck in a stinky vehicle thousands of miles from home with his family. The exhausting cycle of the modern work week demands much from us, and it’s necessary to replenish our spirit with time away.

Worth it also because of the memories it created. As a youth pastor I quickly realized that you can get more done with youth in a weekend retreat than in 6 months of Sundays (ladies, you felt that on your retreat this spring!). Same is true with vacations. Special seasons with loved ones embed stories, pictures, sights and smells deep into our minds. Indeed, I probably remember several hundred specific event/stories from our family’s 1989 vacation, and probably only twenty event/stories for the total of 1989! Creating meaningful memories are key to the life and health of adults and kids alike. Vacations so often center on nature, family, fun, and culture, all of which prove necessary in developing healthy souls.

I’m also keenly aware how modern and middle class vacations truly are, and that not all at our church can afford the luxury of time away. For some the “American dream” is an unrealistic hope, vacations the stuff of legend. What are we to do with this social imbalance? Stay home and invest our monies elsewhere? Forego wider family and culture connections ought of a sense of guilt?

And to that I cautiously say no. Why? Perhaps simply because it’s a socially acceptable way of turning my back on my neighbors. Or, perhaps, because I’ve experienced time and again the formative qualities of vacations. I and my family’s personalities were in full formation as we discovered mango in a Mexican church kitchen, ate a poor families last chicken offered to us in hospitality, snapped countless silly photos of ourselves poolside while posing  “JC Penny style,” and filmed ourselves with our friends amazing new gadget, a video-camera. Last summer Malakai’s world was forever expanded by leading us on a hike through the Oregon mountains, something he remembers to this day. Hannah and I have traveled together overseas, fallen more in love through countless hours spent road-tripping, and deepened relationships with people who have made us who we are. We’ve visited a diversity of churches, experienced the subtleties of regional cultures, and learned to long for home all because of vacations. I still will struggle with inequity, but not at the expense of time with family.

So this summer: go. Celebrate, rest, laugh and play. Create memories, and broaden your horizons. And by all means, be safe.

Grace to you and peace:
May you always know that you are loved,
May you always love God,
Love yourself, and
Love everyone you meet!


Links you can use:

Christian Formation Options at HMC:
Join us each Sunday morning at 9:30AM!
►Intermediate Youth:  with Lynda Voran.
** Children’s Church during worship in our children’s ministry room for kids 1-5. They hear a Bible story, sing, and play together.

ORDER OF WORSHIP, July 3, 2011, Citizens on the Hill: Part 3
Welcome                     Psalm 33:1-5,14-22    
* Songs of Praise and Celebration                                                                                                      
Seek ye First
Micah 6:8

Scripture  Reading                   Matthew 5:17-20                                                                                 
Children’s Time                                                                                                                      
Sermon & Response                    If Jesus loved it, shouldn’t I?    

Affirmation of Faith    Make me a channel of your peace SJ #56
Sharing and Prayer

*Sending Scripture                   Micah 6:6-8                                                                                         
* Sending Prayer/Commissioning                                                                                                      

Houston Mennonite – God’s light resides in you!   
We are walking in the light of God – we are dwelling, we are dancing.  We will not fear our own capacity for goodness;       We will not hide the daily miracles of God’s grace;  We will not be afraid to expose our own beauty and delight in God’s bountiful creation.
Teach us to embrace your light, dear Jesus, because your light is life for all humanity. Teach us to appreciate and celebrate every small act of kindness, of generosity, of hope, and of love.
It is true: a city on a hill cannot be hidden, and neither will we hide ourselves from you. Help us to share your light with all we meet as we shelter ourselves in your Holy Spirit.
Go in peace, then, to love and serve the Lord –

* Song of Sending        Blest are they SJ #94 OR You are the salt of the earth HWB #226

Pastoral Care                                                    
Do you want a person to talk with about something in your life? Got a question or insight into faith or scripture you want to kick around? Have you been sitting on a great idea for the church? Need prayer? Want to get to know your pastor better? As your pastor, I’m available to meet with you at the office or at a time and spot that works better for you. Just let me know when and where! Monday’s through Thursdays, and weekends by appointment. Marty Troyer, church office (713)464-4865,, also available on Facebook.

Additional Information       
HMC E-Newsletter is compiled by Houston Mennonite Church pastor Marty Troyer.  
All are invited and encouraged to share articles, personal updates, stories, announcements, pictures, etc… to include in the weekly updates
Know of others
who would like to receive HMC E-Newsletter e-mails from Houston Mennonite?  Have them send name and e-mail to Marty at

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