HMC E-Newsletter August 16, 2012
Special Invitation to all Teachers and School Workers!!! We invite you to a time of blessing and commissioning for the fantastic work you do in the lives of Houston’s children and youth. You are amazing! May you be filled with just a little of the energy, creativity, and hope you’ve given others! PS. Enjoy your last days of summer before the students come back!
Connecting More Fully at HMC:
►Special Congregational Gathering this Sunday at 9:30AM to talk about laying the foundation for the future God has for us. You are invited to join us the next two Sundays!
►Ten Thousand Villages Sunday is THIS Sunday. Shop, Volunteer, Support Fair Trade.
► HMC is happy to present a PARENT’S NIGHT OUT for the parents in our church. The Parent’s Night Out will be offered August 25th. Kids can be dropped off at the church annex any time starting at four and will need to be picked up by ten. If you are interested in taking part in the Parent’s Night Out, please let Kristi Long know. There may be some other goodies involved in addition to offering you a free a night =)
►Mennonite Movers are needed Saturday August 25 9AM to help move Sara M.
►Potluck Fellowship Meal is next Sunday, August 26.
►“Like” The Texas Mennonite Relief Sale on your Facebook page and you’ll get all their updates! Then click “share” so that all your followers know about it too!
►Mennonite Central Committee Penny Power: Please start bringing your pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters to church for Penny Power. Proceeds this year go to relief and development work in Mexico through Mennonite Central Committee.
►Memorize the Books of the Bible: We encourage you to memorize the 66 books in the Bible. Grab your bookmark at the back!
►Congregational Meetings: Sunday September 2 and 23 to dialogue regarding Campus Development.
►Remember the Future. https://houstonmennonite.org/sermons-from-marty-troyer/remember-the-future/ One of two sermons preached this summer about God’s Preferred Future for us.
Who do we want to become???
On Sunday July 29 we looked at several texts that empower us to dream God’s dreams for our congregation. We asked ourselves, who do we want to become in 50 years? Not what do we want to do, but who do we want to be. What kind of people? What kind of culture as a community? And how do we express that?
50 years, a horizon far enough away to inspire hope yet still connected to the present. We noted that the decisions of our founders almost 50 years ago did and do continue to shape who we are today. And thus, the decisions and practices we embrace today can impact future generations with our own legacy of love and faith.
Here are the visions we shared, in their original words:
Be more Christ-like.
Be the hands and feet of Jesus. Get “dirty” loving people, all people, everywhere, no matter what.
Become a church that does more mission work, in Houston and oustside of Houseon. A church that becomes more diverse, to mirror Houston with a diversity of race and a ages in the church.
I think we should be a light, into the community by that I think we should provide evening meals, after school activities and drop in places for seniors during the day. Practice living the Sermon on the Mount.
A much larger group of diverse people who hae a strong presence with the the city and communities.
Put more emphasis on Peace. Work and be a catalyst for new Mennonite Churches.
2065 Relief Sale: $1,000,000.
An outward, forward leaning force for advocating Christ’s love, with emphasis on peace.
A prophetic people, i.e., people who speak for God, vocally, visibly, boldly. Through words as well as actions. Calling our community and society to break down barriers of all kinds and demonstrating that in our life together.
A person who likes to spend time with other people.
A people/community commited to Jesus Christ. Recognize Jesus in others.
More DIVERSE – “Red, brown, yellow black and white.”
More Christ-like, loving – spreading the WHOLE Gospel.
We want to become a church that people recognize when mentioned not just a building so many people drive by without noticing.
A place where people could come and rejoice to God and be comfortable.
A comfortable haven for outdoor meditation, a green garden, a quiet cool place (with a water feature) for rest. With spiritual leadership and counseling available upon request of any garden visitor/worshipper.
[Spiritual Goal] A significant discipling body. [Secular Goal] Enable less advantaged to survive (?) the system.
A larger congregation with more ties to non-Mennonite community and/or more publicly open events/services.
We want to become “the difference.”
A distinctly Christian peace presence in Houston. Empowering each other for the mission they are called to where we live, work and play; equippers and disciplers. 25 Mennonite/Anabaptist congregations in Houston. Inclusive/Diverse. Creative, generative, self-starting.
More aggressive in sharing our faith with others.
A welcoming church to all racial groups.
A loving, open Christ-centered church where people are celebrated.
Traditional Mennonite church along with Peace ideas.
The word “shalom” struck a chord with me and reminded me of the musical “peace in the kingdom” which HMC put on in the 80’s. The idea of reaching others in the community in this way is very appealing because it is creative and fits in with thinking outside the box. It we could share with the community with music, drama, I think the peace message would be more accepted and not as controversial.
Church of simplicity and somehow others will see, stop and think. Mennonite monastery in Houston.
Diverse, open, growing, greater/larger size, peace presence, safe haven.
A vibrant church with a faith in Jesus that is constantly growing and willing to change with new revelations.
A church more actively involved in the community.
A church at the center of the community with locations in all parts of Houston and vicinity. Focus on relationsips and bringing people together for the good of the community.
Major peace and justice presence in Houston.
A light in the city of Houston promoting peace and helping others.
Now, how will we become that???
By Pastor Marty Troyer
To be honest, I’m not exactly sure how we’ll become who God is calling us to be. But I don’t think it will happen by accident. And I’m not certain it will happen if we keep doing the same things we’ve always done. Perhaps it will. But the world, our church, and our people are so very different than we were in 1968 at our founding that I have serious doubts that more of the same will somehow equal different results than we’re currently getting.
Here are some tentative steps I’m taking to become who God is calling me, and us, to become. I’m realizing the power of a vision. Felipe’s father Conrado demonstrated as much to us last Sunday in telling his story of planting a church in Texas. We need a clear, compelling and passionate vision of who God is calling us to become, and we need guardians who will protect that vision when resistance (both internal and external) try to derail us.
As Christians deeply rooted in God’s Story and Jesus Christ who is the Word of God, it’s imperative we connect this vision of self and congregation in Scripture. This is, after all, our Story, our foundation, our guide. With this in mind, over the next week’s we’ll be building on our responses to the question, “Who do we want to become?” (see above) by choosing 12 Foundation Stones from God’s word to guide us on our journey of becoming.
Taking the vision statements above (particularly noting the prominence of hope for 3 main areas: Being a strong peace presence, diversity and inclusive community, and deeper connection to and ministry in Houston) we’ll dialogue together to select 12 passages/verses/stories/texts that speak both to who we are and who we want to become. Questions we’ll answer together include: What texts call us to become who we long to be? What texts reflect our values and faith? What texts define who we want to become as individuals? As a congregation? What texts will challenge and pull us towards our preferred future? What texts declare our allegiance, identity and mission in the world? Are there obvious texts we’d be crazy not to include? Subtle texts we’d be wise to include?
We see this as a fun and meaningful part of the journey itself, after all, there are 66 books, 31,000 verses and hundreds of characters: how to choose 12? A process of saying yes and no (discernment) in this way will itself clarify for us who we are and want to be.
Other churches in MCUSA have also been engaging in this, what has been called “The Twelve Scriptures Project” and have used their verses in various ways. One church created meaningful artwork to highlight each Foundational text, and displayed them on their walls to “speak” to visitors about who they are.
PLEASE consider joining us each of the next THREE Sunday’s at 9:30 for open dialogue on choosing 12 Foundational Stones from God’s word. We’ll also be using time in worship to move us into this discussion. The 9:30 hour will be more dialogue based, the 10:45 time will be more introspective.
We believe this will be a meaningful end to our summer series on God’s Story and fitting way to continue to place God’s word at the center of our faith family for years to come. Thanks for your responses to both!
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, email@example.com, also available on Facebook.