HMC E-Newsletter December 15, 2011

Connecting More Fully at HMC:
December 18, 6-8PM: Christmas in the Park: Spring Valley Village Park (1025 Campbell, 1 block North of Katy Freeway). Come live the Christmas Story! Live Re-enactment and Nativity, FREE Camel Rides and petting zoo, music, entertainment, refreshments.  Sponsored by 15+ local churches and ministries, including HMC.
HMC will be hosting the refreshments.
We had lots of cookies signed up for, but still need folks to help volunteer to host/serve. This is amazing exposure for our church (if you’re in to that kind of thing), a fantastic time to work side-by-side with some church friends, and a very cool gift to our community (we’re expecting 3000 people). All of those sound good to me. Please email me or sign up Sunday to help host refreshments for this great outreach and ecumenical event. (We need at least 12 volunteers to help us! Come hang out with me!).
Ten Thousand Villages Sunday is December 18. Volunteer, shop, support fair trade!
Holiday Sunday School:  There will be no Sunday School Classes on December 25 (Christmas Day) and January 1 (New Year’s Day).  Classes will resume on January 8, 2012.

Congregational Meal and Meeting: January 15, 2011 after worship.                                                                                          
The Peace Club will gather on Dec. 17 from 3:00-5:00 at the Mennonite Church, 1231 Wirt Rd.  The group will be learning about Human Rights Day and  various  holiday customs of different ethnic groups.  Bring any items such as a dreidel, menorah, wreath, etc. to  share.  There will also be preparation of vegetarian casseroles for the Food Not Bombs nights downtown.  We  hope to practice the Afghan reading project with Lee Loe, so the You Tube presentation can be finalized.  Please E mail me if you can participate (, so I can plan accordingly. 

Christmas Links Roundup

1.What’s it like in Bethlehem Today?
By Alex Awad (from Mennonite Weekly Review’s awesome blog)

“O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.” This line and others from favorite ­Christmas carols invite “all ye faithful” to Bethlehem. Most of us can easily travel to Bethlehem with our thoughts and imaginations, while a few of us will actually visit contemporary Bethlehem. If you are among the people who visit today’s Bethlehem, what will you see, hear or feel?

As you come near Rachel’s Tomb at the entrance to the city, you will be stopped by a checkpoint, a military watchtower and an 8-meter high wall. The checkpoint is guarded by Israeli soldiers whose job is to welcome internationals to Bethlehem while at the same time keeping Israelis from entering the city or Palestinians from leaving it. If you ask an Israeli soldier why his or her government forbids Israelis from going to Bethlehem and Palestinians from going to Jerusalem, he or she will point to security as the main reason.

Read the entire article at:

2.When a Poor Baby in a Manger Overthrows an Empire: The First Christmas
By Kurt Willems, Anabaptist blogger

What Augustus claimed about himself is turned upside down by a baby that was born into the system of oppression created by the Romans. What was supposed to be true of Caesar, it turns out is actually true of Jesus! Jesus is the true Savior and the qualities that were given to the Roman emperor have turned out to be a cheap imitation. Luke having used this language to describe the birth of Jesus puts him “in religio-political opposition to the emperor.”

Read the complete article here:

3.Houston Needs Saint Nick
By Marty Troyer (posted on The Peace Pastor at the Houston Chronicle)

Santa Claus gets a bad rap from a lot of people. And well he should. He represents all that is wrong with Christmas: sentimentalism, forced belief in lies, consumption and consumerism, and a total disconnect from the Christmas story. His jolly-wielding belly laugh can’t begin to redeem such a diversion. A diversion Houston could live without.

Which is ironic, because the character Santa Claus is based on is remarkable precisely because Houston needs him now more than ever. As the human trafficking capital of the western world, Houston needs Saint Nick!

You can read the full article here:

Order of Worship for Advent 4, December 18, 2011
Reordering our World We serve a God who lifts the lowly, fills the hungry, and chooses an unwed teenage girl for a role of greatest honor.  God’s shalom overturns the world’s assumptions about what matters and what doesn’t. How do we begin to evince this new kingdom reordering now?

Call to Worship (see bulletin cover)                        
*Opening Scripture     Luke 1:46-55                       
*Opening Prayer
Christmas Choir- A La Nanita Nana                          
*Songs of Praise and Celebration
Hail to the Lord’s anointed  HWB #185

My soul proclaims with wonder
HWB #181
Scripture                      Luke 1:26-38
Children’s Message                                                     

Confession (see bulletin cover)
Song of Response Where the poor SJ #69, v1-2 English, v1 Spanish        Sharing Joys and Concerns
*Sending Scripture       Isaiah 52:7                          
*Song of Sending                                                     
My soul is filled with joy  SJ #13
*Blessing (see bulletin cover) 

Thank you to the following for sharing your gifts! Worship Leader: Byron Gingrich; Speaker: Marty Troyer; Children’s Message: Pam Stephens; Song Leader: Mike Schmidt; Children’s Church: Laura Peifer.

 Christian Formation Options at HMC:
Join us each Sunday morning at 9:30AM!
►Adults: Living More with Less book study
►Junior High/High School Youth:  with Lynda and Roxie Voran, in the Annex.

** Children’s Church:  During worship in our children’s ministry room for kids aged 1-5. They learn a Bible story, sing, and play together.

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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