HMC E-Newsletter December 30, 2011 Epiphany

Thank you!! HMC deposits for December 2011 totalled $18,359.01. Out of that total income I think offerings total ~ $17,788.01 which exceeds our offering budget for 2011.   This is probably the highest monthly offering that we have ever received at HMC.
Thanks to all who gave very generous extra offerings and end of the year gifts!
Gerald Gehman, Stewardship Chair

Connecting More Fully at HMC:
New Years Day: Worship at 10:45 AM, No Sunday School.
January 8 is “Covenant Sunday.”
As a church family, we annually sign a covenant of support and care with each other. We invite you to prayerfully consider signing next Sunday as being one of us!
Ten Thousand Villages Sunday January 15: Shop, Volunteer, Support Fair Trade at the store in Rice Village.
Congregational Meal and Meeting: January 22, 2011 after worship, meal provided.    (Note date change to accommodate TTV Sunday)              

Spiritual Formation: Christmas Links Roundup Part 3
Here are excerpts of 4 great blogs to inspire your life of faith; follow the links to dig deeper.

1.The Christian Industrial Complex
By Shane Claiborne
I went into a Christian bookstore the other day and was surprised to see some of the most prominent display space given over to military flags for the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. These flags, and a vast assortment of Americana merchandise, were on sale for the holidays.

A part of me ached because I know how difficult it must be to run a little Christian bookstore these days. But I winced as I heard the manager fatalistically confess that he resorted to selling military merchandise to “make it.” It is a sad day when we sell our military banners next to Jesus’ enemy-loving cross to make it in a financial recession. (Before long we’ll be pushing posters of scantily-clad women accompanied by a verse from Song of Solomon).

It’s true that my Christian faith gives me a passion for peace and sets me at odds with militarism. But I think I’d feel a similar dissatisfaction if the last resort for economic survival at our bookstores was selling Home Depot or Wal-Mart gift cards. I just have higher hopes for a distinctive Christian witness in the world today, even in a recession … especially in a recession.

You can read the full article here:

2.Christmas Reflection 2011
By Shannon Kearns, a twitter friend of Marty’s who blogs as the Anarchist Reverend

We paint pictures of a picturesque Bethlehem, a quiet manger, a silent baby. But the reality was a lot more complicated. Jesus was born to refugee parents in the occupied Roman Empire. His birth was felt to be a threat to established order, a threat to the King. In “The Song of the Magi” by Anais Mitchell she sings:

“A child is born
born in Bethlehem
born in a cattle pen
a child is born on the killing floor
and still he no crying makes
still as the air is he
lying so prayerfully there
waiting for the war
welcome home, my child
your home is a checkpoint now
your home is a border town
welcome to the brawl
And life ain’t fair, my child
put your hands in the air, my child
slowly now, single file, now
up against the wall”

What a different picture that paints! And yet it is much closer to the truth of Jesus’ birth. We cannot divorce our stories of Jesus from the reality of the time in which they were lived.

Some might say that knowing this history takes away from the wonder and peace of the Christmas season, but I think knowing this history deepens our understanding of what it means for God to enter into the mess of human existence. Jesus wasn’t born to people with wealth and power, he was born to the poor and that, to much of the world, is good news.

You can read the full article here:

3.Breaking News: Angel Choir Inspires Local Action!!
By Marty Troyer, posted on The Peace Pastor blog at the Houston Chronicle.

When I hear the angels song, “Peace on earth,” I think of the myriad of friends with a steady commitment to peace one economically-ecologically conscience decision at a time. Like Kathryn who reduces petro consumption by sharing one car with her husband (in Houston this is a modern miracle!), has transformed her office into a Recycling and No-Disposible trash zone, researches purchasing decisions and encourages her favorite stores to be ecologically sustainable. As Julie Clawson has said, “Every decision has a price tag” that ripples around the world, meaning what we do here matters elsewhere. Which is why so many friends I know volunteer, shop and support Houston’s finest Fair Trade store: Ten Thousand Villages at 2424A Rice Blvd. Fair trade wages peace by confronting unjust economic practices and the exploitation and trafficking of workers. A small decision here and now, which creates the context for peace somewhere else.

You can read the full article here:

4.Reading Peace in 2011
By Marty Troyer, posted on The Peace Pastor blog at the Houston Chronicle

My one year old daughter is growing to appreciate books. At first she treated books as an object just like any other. But with dexterity comes fascination with turning pages, seeing images, and with time listening to words & stories. By the time she hits four like her big brother books will be best repeated repeated. They get it from both my wife and I, who love books and reading.

But what’s even better than reading books is when they read you. Here’s my list of most formative books read in 2011: Hint, the list includes some novels (The Hunger Games trilogy), some books I read with you, and the top book is about prayer!

You can read my book list here:

Order of Worship for Epiphany, January 1, 2012
Call to Worship (see bulletin cover)
*Opening Scripture     Psalm 72:1-7
*Opening Prayer
*Songs of Praise and Celebration
To us a Child of hope is born HWB #189
            Good Christian friends, rejoice! HWB #210
Scripture                      Matthew 2:1-16
Children’s Message
Sharing Christmas Reflections and Hopes, Joys and Concerns
Confession (see bulletin cover)
Song of Response
What Child is This? HWB #215
*Sending Scripture       Isaiah 52:7
*Song of Sending
I want to walk as a child of the light SJ #95
*Blessing (see bulletin cover) 

Thank you to the following for sharing your gifts! Worship Leader: Laura Peifer Children’s Message and Sermon: Pastor Marty Troyer; Song Leader: Jim Emmert; Pianist: Pam Stephens; Children’s Church: Danielle Graybill.

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.

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