On Thursday April 29th the church council of Houston Mennonite Church agreed to share our facilities with three Houston based non-profit organizations. Between April 22 and 24, three organizations contacted us about immediate needs for office space. Two are looking for very temporary office rental agreements, one is in need of longer facility usage. After discussion, council agreed to allow all three groups to rent office space from us in either the main or Annex buildings. Usage and traffic will be low from all groups. Council will work with each group to find suitable space, rental agreements, etc… They have all agreed
The three organizations that are inquiring about office space from us include:
• Mennonite Central Committee, Houston. Their current office arrangement is coming to an end. They have asked for temporary office space (one room for a couple desks, some storage) for one month starting June 1 while they look for a more central office. We have granted them rental space for 3 months as needed, and can be extended. One wonders how long they would desire to stay if more adequate space could be offered to them. MCC Houston is transitioning from Hurricane relief efforts to a longer term presence in Houston.
• Houston Peace and Justice Center. We have been long-time supporters of HPJC as a congregation. They are in immediate need of short-term office space for seven weeks, starting May 14th. Needed space would include: office space during the week enough for one desk, one computer, one phone. Meeting space for meetings on weeknights. (Below is an invitation to their annual potluck, held Saturday May 15th).
• Living Hope Wheelchair Association. Their mission statement is: “The mission of Living Hope is to improve the quality of life of individuals with spinal cord injuries or disease. For more than 5 years we have committed to improve access to services, promote the full inclusion of people with disabilities, foster independence, enhance mobility, and demand equality.” They currently have a very small office in the same facility as MCC, and ADA accessible office space is needed. They are asking for a long-term agreement. However, HMC has offered them 3 months of facility rental, during which time we will discern the possibility of a longer agreement.
Council does not see these short term agreements as money-making opportunities, but rather an extension of our own ministry and vision. Each group is asked to cover their own costs (phone, internet), and rent is designed to offset utility usage. Provisions will be in place for them to cover damaged facilities.
Connecting More Fully at HMC:
►Financial Giving: We celebrate giving our financial resources as part of our relationship with God. Care to join us? A great starting question is: What percentage of income do you feel God is calling you to give? As each person answers that for themselves, we join together in making all things new. The May 2nd, 2010 offering was $1,963.00.
►Anabaptist Learning Seminar- April 18, 25, May 9 & 16. Come Sunday nights and learn more about Anabaptism worldwide: beliefs, practices, and culture.
April 18th: Anabaptist beginnings in Europe & beyond.
April 25th: The spread of Mennonites to the “New World.”
May 9th: Global Mennonites today: Asia, Africa, and beyond
May 16th: Global Mennonite theology.
►You won’t want to miss Western District Conference Annual Retreat: Friday July 9-Sunday July 11. Put this on your calendar now! This is an amazing Christian resourcing, recreational, and relational event. Cost is incredibly low at $130 per person, for 2 nights and 5 meals. Location is Waxahatchie Texas, just South of Dallas. A 4 hour drive from Houston. Plan now to attend with your church family. Church leadership would love to see 20 or more HMCers attend. There will be a high school youth component which will include a service project.
►Ten Thousand Villages: Supporting Fair Trade through TTV is an expression of our care for the world around us as a congregation. Consider volunteering and shopping at the store in Rice Village. The third Sunday of the month (May 16th) is our Sunday to run the store, but you can volunteer anytime! http://www.tenthousandvillages.com
By Pastor Marty Troyer
On Saturday May 1st members from Houston Mennonite Church marched in a sea of thousands advocating for immigration reform and human rights for all. I was energized to lead my church in this way.
Three years ago I would not have marched for immigrants at all. Perhaps for peace, but for justice I would not have walked. But these last two years something dramatic has changed in my soul, so much so that marching for justice has become a natural expression of my faith.
What changed? Faithful study of scriptures was certainly part of my conversion. From seeing Jesus story as the story of a migrant family (see Matthew 2:13-23), to seeing the Old Testament as a people on the move, my perception of God’s Biblical people has changed. Likewise my understanding of Biblical ethics has changed. Jesus love of all, particularly the most vulnerable folks in his society, continued a thousand year focus on socially just and loving practices that God clearly demands of all followers. The Scriptural worldview of Jesus’ inclusive kingdom simply cannot be rectified with borders, boundaries, walls or unjust immigration policies.
However, what changed wasn’t just my mind. I have also come to embrace with new vitality my own family and faith tradition as being a story of immigrants. I have a growing sense that we are all immigrants. Certainly this fact is true amongst we Mennonites who continue to cling so closely to this aspect of our shared story. I am not alone in being able to tell you the dates and locations of when my ancestors immigrated to the New World – most, if not all of who would by today’s standards be “illegal” in their immigration. As a family (and denomination) of immigrants, Deuteronomy 10:19 has become not just a good text, but our good text: “You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” This is our story!
But what has changed more than anything for me has been taking this discussion out of the realm of policy, legality, ethics or safety, and putting it where it belongs: in the lives of recent immigrants themselves. Doing so demands you acknowledge why they are here and our part in that, why leaving will devastate families and destroy entire communities, and how injustice actually feels. Mostly though, it demands that you see immigrants as human beings, people just like you and I.
So on Saturday I marched. Marching with 10,000 new friends, many of whom I didn’t share a language with, I felt connected to a community of people in need of grace. I felt energy pulsing through us as we chanted and held signs that said “Treat immigrants as human beings.” And I felt grateful for a heritage and a faith that has, from my earliest days, called me to love. On this day, I give thanks for spiritual growth and transformation!
This article first appeared in the news service for Mennonite Church USA, Interchurch Relations.
PEACE CAMP 2010
“Kindness” will be the theme of the 11th Annual Houston Peace Camp, which is sponsored by the Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom. It will be held at the beautiful Cameron Retreat Center, 2403 Holcombe Blvd. from July 19-23 and July 26-30. Kindergarten through Fifth Grade children are invited to participate. Each week will be a different curriculum so youth can attend one week or both weeks. Interesting activitiess such as yoga, drumming, special arts and crafts, puppets and gardening will be a part of the program. There will also be lessons on constructive ways to deal with anger, bullying, and resolving conflicts. A different peacemaker will be studied each day. There will be co-operative games rather than a focus on competition. The cost of the camp ,is $125 and some scholarships are available. If you would like to volunteer or make a donation , please contact Judy Hoffhien , firstname.lastname@example.org Additional information can be obtained at peacecamphouston.com
Please Join Us at the Annual
Houston Peace and Justice Potluck
Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 6pm
6501 Almeda Rd.
Houston, TX 77021
There will be face painting, arts and crafts, stories and books for children
Exciting entertainment, including African Drumming and folktales by Baba Fana & Co., South American Dancing and story telling by Karla Aguilar & Co.
Come and network with other Peace and Justice Groups
Vegetarian and Ethnic foods greatly appreciated
For more information visit us at http://www.hpjc.org or 832-288-4099
Rise Up and Come Together-
Mark your calendars now for July 9-11, when persons from all congregations will gather at Lakeview Camp and Conference Center near Waxahachie (Dallas), Texas, for Western District Conference’s annual conference session and fellowship opportunity. A Program Committee is putting the finishing touches on planning details, promising an inspirational and educational experience. Programs and activities will also be included for children: infants through senior high. More details to follow in coming weeks. Z
Theme “RISE UP AND COME TOGETHER” “LEVÁNTENSE Y JÚNTENSE” In Ezekiel 37, there are graphic images to instruct the people of God. The dry bones came together with the breath of God. The two sticks are joined together to show God’s power to bring unity. How does WDC experience God’s action? What are the ways our congregations will
come to new life? Experience this text in worship, prayer, conversation, fellowship, learning communities.
We will welcome our new WDC Conference Minister and install new officers and leaders in the final worship celebration.
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Budget and debt counseling
Are you living paycheck to paycheck, trapped in a cycle of debt? Or, are you considering bankruptcy? Maybe you feel in control of your money now, but have financial questions you’d like answered. Budget and debt counseling, a free service sponsored by MMA, can answer your questions and help you take real, positive, steps toward financial stability – and freedom. For more info Check out http://www.cccs.org/ and/or call 888-577-2227, be sure to tell them you are Mennonite, and that MMA sent you!
Order of Worship Sunday, May 9th 2010
Do you know of someone who would benefit from hearing that there are things in life worth holding on to other than stuff, and that it might be time to let go of something? Consider inviting them to church. Here’s one way that might feel more comfortable to you and them: Tell them something your faith helped you to let go of, and tell them about our church Lenten theme. 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!
* Call to Worship HWB # 664
Leader: Watch! Wait! The day of the Lord is at hand!
People: Like the bud on a tree, God’s possibilities are about to blossom.
Leader: Stay Awake! The reign of God is very near.
People: We are here, watching and waiting with hope.
All: May God bring justice to all people on this day. May God’s reign come on earth as in heaven.
* Opening Prayer
* Opening Songs
New Earth, Heavens New HWB #299
One is tbe body SJ #72
Scripture Reading Revelation 21:1-6, 22:1-5 NT Pg 259
Children’s Time (Children 1-5 dismissed for Children’s Church)
Sharing joys and concerns
Prayer Feel free to light a candle-prayer
Scripture Reading Acts 16:6-15 NT Pg 136
Message Living in Asia-Called to Macedonia
Song of Response Here I am Lord HWB #395
Offering & Prayer
Welcoming of Visitors and Announcements
* Blessing Song You shall go out with joy HWB #427
* Please stand if comfortable when indicated by asterisk.
SJ- Sing the Journey (Green spiral-bound) HWB- Hymnal Worship Book (Blue hardback).
• Community Dialogue: We believe that everyone is gifted and has a voice, and value your voice in our worship. “Community dialogue” is your chance to testify to God’s presence in our world, respond to the text or sermon, or share your perspective or experience with us. Consider adding your voice for our formation by sharing verbally during this time.
Thank you to the following for sharing your gifts!
Worship Leader: Rachel & Than Vlachos; Song Leader: Linda Ensminger; Accompaniment: Margaret Gehman; Scripture Reader: Lynda Voran; Children’s Message: Judy Hoffhien; Children’s Church: Jane McNair & Danielle Graybill; Speaker: Pastor Marty Troyer; Sound: Nick Gehman.
Next Week: Speaker: Pastor Marty Troyer; Children’s Message: Jane McNair; Children’s Church: Maribel Hinojosa; Song leader: Linda Ensminger. Scripture: John 17:20-26, Acts 16:16-34.
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, email@example.com, also available on facebook.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.