HMC E-Newsletter February 2, 2012 Stewardship Edition

A True Celebration of Generosity
Eleven-year-old Squire Graves stood nervously before the Renton, Washington, Community of Christ congregation. This particular Sunday was an especially eventful day for him because, in addition to giving the offertory at church that morning, he was going to celebrate his birthday that afternoon. But his party would not be a typical eleven-year-old’s birthday party, and Squire decided that participating in the offertory would be the perfect time for him to talk about his pending celebration. He walked up to the microphone and began his story.
“My folks always let me have a party on my birthday. Four years ago, I was thinking about what I wanted, and I decided I didn’t really want anything. I had everything I needed. I told my friends that instead of bringing me a present for my birthday, they could bring some food to take to the food bank. All my friends came, and most of them brought one or two big shopping bags of food.
Now we do it every year. When my friends bring their bags of food to the party this afternoon, we’ll take all of the food down to the food bank, which our church helps, and it helps a lot of people. I really like doing my birthdays this way and so does my younger brother, Arthur. We plan to keep on doing it. I think that’s what Jesus would want us to do.”
This stewardship story is excerpted from the article “The Power of Story” in the Giving: Growing Joyful Stewards in Your Congregation.

Connecting More Fully at HMC:
►Jim Herrington will be joining us for worship Sunday. Jim is a friend of Marty’s, founder of Mission Houston, author, and director of the FaithWalking retreats. Learn more at:
► February 5: Super Bowl Party at HMC. Bring a snack to share, a game to play, and some canned food to donate. Kick-off is 5:25PM.
► The2012 Approved Budget is attached.
►Happy Birthday Mennonite Church USA! Our denomination turned 10 this week. Check out “What’s a Mennonite anyway” that celebrates why this matters:
► Are you warm at night? We’re collecting Blankets and Sleeping Bags for Houston’s homeless community. Donations will go to Food Not Bombs participants.
►Peace Club: The Peace Club will be gathering this Saturday, February 4 from 3:00-5:00 at the Mennonite Church, 1231 Wirt Rd.  We will be painting all sizes of rocks for a Peace Garden and will also be doing some planting of flowers and vegetables.  At the last session, a collage of multicultural faces was done for the group banner, and work will continue on that project.   For those who enjoy cooking, we will be preparing a vegetarian curry for the Food Not Bombs group.  Ages 6 and older are welcome, so bring your friends and come and enjoy the afternoon.  This program is sponsored by the Houston Peace and Justice Center and the Mennonite Church.
► February 12: Congregational Meeting for Campus Development. After worship. Comments and questions regarding our Development proposal are valued and encouraged! Please email them to Ed Wiens, reply to this email with them, or place them in the box at the back of the sanctuary. Thanks!
► February 19: Ten Thousand Villages Sunday: Shop, Volunteer, Support Fair Trade.
► FaithWalking Retreat: Sign up now for a 2012 FaithWalking Retreat here in Houston. It is FREE! It has nothing to do with walking whatsoever, it’s just a metaphor for the journey of faith. Retreat dates are:
·         February 10-12, 2012
April 13-15, 2012
June 8-10, 2012 (Focus on Education Sector)
August 24-26, 2012
October, 12-14, 2012
►William Cavanaugh (!!) lecture: “Being Consumed: Christianity and Consumerism.  Monday, February 6, 2012 .• 8:30 a.m. The Victual Event Room 3814 Lyons Ave .Houston TX 77020 (Breakfast served, and a lecture).  William Cavanaugh is a professor at DePaul University.  His writings provide alternative ways for Christians to re-imagine how to live faithfully in their political and economic lives.  His writings include: The Myth of Religious Violence, Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire, and most recently Migrations of the Holy: God State and the Political Meaning of the Church.  Please RSVP to: Pastor Marty has RSVP’d.

Stewarding God’s Mission and Campus
Comments and questions regarding the following Development proposal are valued and encouraged! Please email them to Ed Wiens, reply to this email with them, or place them in the box at the back of the sanctuary. Thanks!
The amount of money developers are willing to pay for our property is greatly affected by the number of lots / homes they can build. This is dependent upon a variance from Hilshire Village on the minimum lot size, street widths, etc. We feel that we need outside expertise at this time to ensure that we are able to maximize the value of a sale.

In order to enter good faith negotiations, we would also need authorization to sell the property if the “right price” is offered.
1.       To authorize CDT to sell the property contingent upon the negotiations arriving at a price agreeable to the congregation.
2.       To authorize CDT to expend CDT funds to hire a sellers representative (real estate broker / lawyer)
to work on our behalf in the negotiation with the buyers and city to ensure the best price is offered to HMC. At the time an offer would be received, the congregation would be asked for a yea/nay vote on the acceptance of the offer.

Are you Interested? In…
·         Community Garden? We have great capacity for a community garden. We need to create a small team of 5-10 folks who are willing to make it happen whether hell or high water. There are folks who are interested? Are you? Are you interested in being part of that core team? Are you interested in determining what kind of a garden it could be (donation, you keep, individuals from community have their own designated plots, etc…)? Are you interested in investing the time/energy into making it happen? If so, contact Pastor Marty, whose empowering a core team as you read this!
·         A Midweek coffee hour on Tuesday or Wednesday morning or afternoon? Who doesn’t love sitting with friends with a warm drink in your hand? There are plenty of folks available during the week for us to gather regularly (weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly?) in an informal setting to, what: chat, pray, talk, book study? Interest has been expressed, if you want to add your interest, let Pastor Marty know! Meeting times and place (church? Local coffee shop?) to be determined by interested parties.

Being Formed as Stewards of God.
Here are excerpts of several articles to equip us all to be good Stewards; follow the links to dig deeper. Send me articles worth sharing here!
1. Creating a Personal Budget Guide and Budget Tools
The subtitle of this great resource is, “How to align your money with your true needs and values.” Everence, the Stewardship arm of Mennonite Church USA, has provided an excellent personal finance resource that is totally free. You can find the “Creating a Budget Guide and Budget Tools” at or it is also attached.
2.Budget and Debt Counseling
If you are reading this email: this is a FREE and expert resource for you!! Find it here:
If you are facing a difficult financial situation or need basic financial counsel about a mortgage, your credit report, or even the household budget, Everence offers a compassionate and thoughtful service that can help. Confidential budget and debt counseling from a certified credit counselor (up to six sessions) is available to you at no cost through an arrangement Everence has with LSS Financial Counseling Service,* a service of Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota.
To use this service, call toll-free (877) 809-0039. For Spanish-speaking phone counselors, contact the National Foundation of Credit Counseling toll-free at (800) 682-9832 or at their website. (LSS also offers counseling services through mail correspondence for Amish and related faith communities. Call LSS or your local Everence office to use this method of service.)
LSS can help you work through financial issues related to:
       Losing a job (read “Financial guidelines for dealing with job loss”).
Money management and budgeting.
Credit reports and credit scores
Debt and repayment plans: For debt assistance, you can also use LSS’s online counseling service (read “The bankruptcy
Question” ).
Identity theft.
Student and vehicle loans.
Home buying and mortgages.
LSS is one of the nation’s leading consumer credit counseling agencies and has a 20-year history of successfully providing assistance on a wide range of financial issues.
3.Live Simply~ So that others may simply live
Here’s a fantastic (albeit British) 5 minute video that contrasts the high cost of a Western lifestyle with the extreme poverty (and extremely easy means of helping fight it) of 1/5 of our world. This connects with me on so many levels. Check it out!
You can read the entire resource here:
4.How Making Do Yields More with Less
By Melodie Davis
We also enjoy a frequent pastime of walking along the road with our dog and picking up aluminum cans to recycle. We fulfill at least four goals: exercise for us, walking the dog, earning a bit of money from the cans, and cleaning the roadways.
Cars and transportation are another way to reap huge benefits of “making do.” Keep an older car as long as you can (unless it is an extreme gas guzzler). Car and financial experts say even with repairs, you can afford to fix a car many times over the cost of depreciation of a new car.
You can watch the 3 minute video here:

Order of Worship for February 5, 2012
Building up the Body of Christ
*Call to Worship (inside bulletin)                   
*Opening Prayer                                                                                 
*Songs of Praise                                             
What is this place  HWB #1
God the Spirit HWB #632

Children’s Message
Sharing Joys and Concerns
Sermon                                    Leaders are Persistent

Song of Response                                                                               
A charge to keep  HWB #393

Connecting More Fully                                                                                   
*Sending Song
Heart with loving heart united HWB #420          
♦ Communion: Houston Mennonite Church celebrates an open communion. All people (members and visitors) who follow or long to follow Jesus are invited to pray and celebrate with us at the Lord’s table.                                                              
Thank you to the following for sharing your gifts! Worship Leader: Rachel Vlachos; Speaker: Jim Herrington; Song Leader: Jared Peifer; Scripture Reader: Kristi Long, Denise Duff and Kathryn Bauchelle; Children’s Message: Linda Washburn; Pianist: Margaret Gehman; Children’s Church: Laura Peifer
*Special thanks to Jim Herrington for joining us for worship today. Jim is a friend of Marty’s, founder of Mission Houston, author, and director of the FaithWalking retreats. Learn more at:

Christian Formation Options at HMC:
Join us each Sunday morning at 9:30AM!
►Adults: Worship 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.

I hope your day is filled with joy!
Marty Troyer
Pastor, Houston Mennonite Church
Cell: (713)835-9436
Church: (713)464-4865
Blogging as The Peace Pastor at

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