HMC E-Newsletter February 5, 2010
Contents include: Upcoming calendar of event, the second of Roxie Voran’s reflections on how our church has grown to be the church we are today, and more! ________________________________________
This beautiful little story illustrates the kind of church we have been, and reflects our desires to “be like the Father,” to borrow from our Prodigal Sons worship series. May we continue to find creative ways to give and to welcome!
By Roxie Voran
In 2003, Marco Guete, Associate Conference Minister for Western District Conference, met with our Church Council. Marco shared with us the story of some Hispanic Mennonites from the Rio Grande Valley who had moved to the Houston area. They had a desire to be able to worship in a Mennonite church in their native language here in the Houston area. At that time, they had already connected with others of like mind. There were capable leaders within their group and they had begun meeting regularly in someone’s garage.
Marco’s invitation to HMC was to become involved in supporting this church plant. As we listened, what came to my mind was the phrase “Lead, follow, or get out of the way,” which I remembered from my growing up years in the turbulent 60s (although it originated with Thomas Paine much earlier). The Holy Spirit was planting, indeed had planted a new church. Our choice was whether we would join in this work of the Spirit here in our city.
We chose to get involved. Several HMC members served on a support committee that met regularly with the leaders of the emerging congregation. And with the rental income we had at the time, we were able to provide a substantial part of the financial support. What emerged was Iglesia Menonita Casa del Alfarero (Potter’s House Mennonite Church), a vibrant congregation now larger than our own located across the city in Pasadena.
It’s been said that the primary task of the church in every time and place is to discern what God is doing then and there and to get involved in it. That certainly seemed to be true at the emergence of Casa del Alfarero, and I suspect it remains just as true for us today.
________________________________________Connecting More Fully at HMC:
►Church Work Day: This Saturday9AM till we’re done. Most work is outside, bring gloves and rakes if you have them.
►Sewers and Doers is gearing up for the 2010 Relief Sale. Sewers and Doers is a group within Houston Mennonite Church that meets usually twice a month on Saturday mornings. We make a wide variety of crafts including needlework, quilting, wood and paper crafts, for the Relief Sale in November. We invite everyone interested to join in this effort. Whether you come just once or become a regular, we will gladly welcome you. Expert skills with needle and thread are not required. With the variety of projects that are always underway, your willing hands and heart are qualifications enough. Please see Sylvia Klauser or Denise Duff for more information. We will be meeting on this Saturday, February 6, at 9:30a.m. at the Annex of the church to do some organizational work. Please join us.
►Super Bowl Party: This Sunday 5:30PM at HMC. Bring friends, food, drinks, & games.
►Stewardship Sunday: February 14th. Rhoda Blough, representative from Mennonite Mutual Aid will join us next week to explore the intersection of faith and finances. Resourcing times include:
• Sunday School: Making your wishes known, finances and the end of life.
• Sermon: Integrating Faith and Holistic Stewardship
•Available for financial counseling.
• Stewardship Team Lunch regarding congregational stewardship.
►Ash Wednesday: February 17th, 7PM at HMC.
►Chili Fundraiser for International Missions: Sunday February 28th after worship. Join us as we discern who to partner with more deeply as an expression of our desire to support missions overseas.
►New Offering Bag: The Stewardship Team affirmed that we receive our offerings with a visual symbol that reminds us of our commitments, and expresses our faith. The new Laotian offering bag was purchased from Ten Thousand Villages, a Fair Trade store in Rice Village. It allows for a safer & less cluttered reception of our morning offerings.
________________________________________ YOU ARE INVITED to SUNDAY SCHOOL:
You and your friends are invited to join us for our Sunday School programs for people of all ages. 9:30AM each and every Sunday!

►ADULT Class: BOOK STUDY: Time Warped: First Century Time Stewardship for 21st Century Living. This book study will begin Sunday morning February 7th, 9:30AM.
This book is on time-but not time management. You don’t need another organizational tool or trick. What you’ll study in these pages is our society’s inclination toward busyness-and what that means to the Christian seeking God and wholeness. Each chapter ends with discussion questions that will help you identify areas where you may need to do some repair work.
►Preschool (age 2-4): With Teacher Beth Wiebe.
►Grades 3-5: With Teacher Linda Ensminger.
►Junior Youth (Grades 6-8): With Teachers Alan Wilson, Kristi Long.
►High School: With Teachers Lynda and Roxie Voran, Marty Troyer.

** Children’s Church happens during worship in our children’s ministry room for kids 1-5. They hear a Bible story, sing, and play together.

The new building is up and running! Having received our long awaited Certificate of Occupancy, we have moved two Sunday School classrooms to the new Annex. Sewers and Doers also have carved out some great space for themselves in the new building. Check it out this Sunday.
One of the SS rooms that was moved was our High School class, leaving the room temporarily fairly empty of décor and seating. Fear not! The old High School youth room is under plans to be renovated as our new church library, coffee and fellowship area. Stay tuned for more info!
Haiti Relief Kits: DUE THIS SUNDAY IF POSSIBLE. The Outreach Team will be collecting relief kits for Haiti. We are asking each home-unit to donate one complete kit and bring it to the church. Cash donations, of course, are always welcome. The deadline is the end of February, but we’d love to have them by THIS Sunday.

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is undertaking a multimillion-dollar, multiyear response to the earthquake that struck Haiti Jan. 12. You can help through prayer for the people of Haiti and by donating to MCC’s Haiti Earthquake appeal. In addition, MCC is asking for donations of 20,000 relief kits, 10,000 heavy comforters and 10,000 sheets for shipment now through Feb. 28. Donate online at, by check to the MCC office nearest you, or by phone toll free: 1-888-563-4676.

MCC is asking for donations of 20,000 relief kits as part of its response to the Haiti earthquake. Thank you for joining this response. Relief kits provide valuable supplies to families traumatized by war and disasters. In recent years, kits have been sent to Iraq, Gaza, Bosnia, Serbia, Nepal, Mozambique, Indonesia and Honduras.

RELIEF KIT Contents (NEW items only)
4 large bars bath soap (leave in wrapping)
1 plastic bottle shampoo (13-24oz; place in a re-sealable plastic bag)
4 large bars of laundry soap (Some stores carry Fels Naptha, Sunlight or Zote brands; contact your local MCC warehouse with questions)
1 squeeze-tube toothpaste (minimum 130ml / 6oz; leave in box)
4 adult-size toothbrushes (leave in packaging)
4 new bath towels (medium weight, dark or bright colors)
2 wide-tooth combs(6 to 8in / 15 to 20cm)
1 fingernail clipper
1 box adhesive bandages (minimum 40, assorted)
1 package sanitary pads (18-24 thin maxi)

Place contents in a box or bag and deliver to the church. The kit will be re-packed in a new 5-gallon plastic pail with lid.

The following link lists all the current resources for MCC’s response to the Haiti earthquake, bulletin inserts, flyers, prayer PDF, videos and pod casts. Please, when given a choice, select Central States so the information is sure to be pertinent to our region.
For Updates on the happenings of Western District Conference, please see the monthly newsletter at:
Houston Mennonite Church is a member of the largest Anabaptist denomination in the US, called Mennonite Church USA. MCUSA has 25-30 regional conferences within it. Our regional body is WDC, which covers the area of Kansas, Nebraska and Texas (with two congregations in Nebraska). MCUSA was formed in 2002 when two Mennonite denominations merged. If you are interested in more info about the denomination please see the MCUSA webpage at:

Lent 2010:Holding On- Letting Go
Lenten Schedule
►Ash Wednesday: Wednesday February 17th, 7PM at HMC.
►Wednesday Nights: The Journey (see below). Beginning February 24th.
►Maunday Thursday: Thursday April 1, 6:30-8PM.
►Good Friday: Friday April 2, 7PM Tennebrae Service of Shadows.
►Easter: Sunday April 4.
Lenten Activities
Read and/or listen to the New Testament. We invite you to “work out” your faith this Lenten season by listening to or reading the entire New Testament through the 40 days of Lent. Mp3 copies of the NT will be available the next several Sundays, for those who want to listen. Bible Reading guides will be available for those who want to read. Of course, you can do a bit of both. The January 10th sermon talked about “making the impossible possible” by training ourselves to practice what we want to become.

The Journey: A mid-week service of sharing life, prayer, and reflecting on Lenten scripture texts. 7PM Wednesdays at Houston Mennonite Church, beginning February 24th. Pack your Bible and perhaps a journal. Travel companions provided. Why stumble alone when you can walk together? Come share the Journey! ‘Come to me, all who are weary and in need of rest.’ Jesus.
What is Lent, anyway?
Lent is a 40 day season of preparation prior to Easter, the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. The Lenten season allows us to begin “our spiritual life all over again refreshed and reoriented…Lent calls each of us to renew our ongoing commitment to the implications of the Resurrection in our own lives, here and now. This demands both the healing of the soul and the honing of the soul, both penance and faith, both a purging of what is superfluous in our lives and the heightening, the intensifying, of what is meaningful (Joan Chittister, The Liturgical Year).”

Last Week’s Sermon:
God’s Love Reconciles and Builds Community
Interested in reading a copy of last week’s sermon, or know of someone who might be? Click here or visit our webpage at: You can find all the sermons and articles from this sermon series on our webpage.

Thanks to Margaret Gehman for leading us in a great discussion on the book The Shack last Sunday night for Soup’s On! Our next Soup’s On will be the end of May, and we’d love to have volunteers for: hosting the event at your home, leading the discussion, discussion topics. Please speak with Community Life Team if you have ideas, or want to volunteer!

________________________________________Order of Worship February 7, 2010 GOD’s LOVE IS TRANSFORMING
Do you know of someone who would benefit from hearing about God’s welcoming love for them? Consider inviting them to church. Here’s one way that might feel more comfortable to you and them: Tell them how you felt to hear about it last week, and let them know you care for them. Let them know where and when we meet. Tell them to check us out online for themselves, so they know what they are getting into before they come. Try it, it might be just what they need!
Welcome & Call to Worship
Scripture Reading Psalm 126 OT Pg.572
* Opening Songs
The Love of God SJ # 44
For God so loved us HWB #167
Scripture Reading 1 John 4:7-12 NT Pg 241
Children’s Time (Children 1-5 dismissed for Children’s Church)
Blessing for the Combs Family SJ #157
Sharing joys and concerns, Prayer
Preparation Song Slowly Turning SJ#23 Scripture Reading Luke 15:1-2, 11-32 NT Pg 78
Message God’s Love Transforms
Song of Response Rain Down SJ #49
• Communion
Sermon Response
Offering & Prayer
Welcoming of Visitors and Announcements
* Benediction Song New Earth, Heavens New HWB # 299
* Benediction
* Please stand if comfortable when indicated by asterisk.
SJ- Sing the Journey (Green) HWB- Hymnal Worship Book (Blue).
• 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.
________________________________________Looking for a Trustee: Peggy Campbell
My friend George O’Malley received some inheritance money a couple of years ago. George decided to make a small start on a fund for college (or what other needs three of the children might have upon reaching adulthood). He set up, with Bank of America, a Fund for Minors account of $500. each for Jose Pena, Rosa Betancourt, and Maria Pena.

George would very much like to have someone else in the church take over the role of adult signer for the accounts. One factor is that, knowing himself to be bipolar, he would like to protect against any future temptation to access the fund himself. Another factor is that George’s health is compromised. If he died before they reached 18, there would be legal hassles in their accessing the money. A final factor is that he would prefer someone present here in Houston to be responsible for it. He is planning to move to Round Rock when I go.

The duties of this responsibility are minimal — receive the statements from Bank of America. If you choose, the job could be turned over to someone else at a later date. Unfortunately, there can be only one adult signer for the accounts. Please contact me or Pastor Marty if you want to consider this. Thanks so much for your prayerful consideration of this need.
________________________________________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, cell:(713)835-9436, 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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