HMC E-Newsletter January 28, 2010
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Contents include: A note from pastor Marty on giving, a word from Peggy Campbell on prayer, a reflection on how our church has responded to disasters in the past by Roxie Voran, meeting schedule, church council minutes and more!
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The Joy of giving
Further Reflections on the Prodigal Son, by Pastor Marty Troyer
I think the marinade is working! As we continue to soak in the amazingly beautiful and complex story of the Prodigal Sons from Luke 15:1-2,11-32, I feel a richness that wasn’t present with the story a few short weeks ago. Today, I’m struck by the resources of the Father in the story. Coupled with the father’s desire to minister to his son was his ability to do it. He didn’t just want to give something to his son, he actually could! Indeed, the man in our story was apparently quite wealthy. He follows an early inheritance with a ring, sandals, robe and party complete with fatted calf.
As a congregation, we are very much like the father in our desires to do good things. We long to be a healthy vibrant worshipping community of Christ followers who push beyond the walls of our own families and church. We desire to do good things for the local community in need (Food Pantry, MAM); the international community in need (Ten Thousand Villages, Mennonite Central Committee Relief Sale and Relief Kits); for our partners in ministry (Western District Conference, our sister churches in Houston); and for our own children and people (Sunday school, discretionary crisis fund, worship, etc…). And this is just the beginning! As much as we love and support these ministries, our desire for doing good isn’t limited to them. Recent desires I’ve heard from folks at HMC about doing good have included international service trips, a community garden on our property, adopting a missionary family, working more deeply at local peace and justice initiatives, and perhaps above all spreading the word that we are a gospel-formed community.
So, while we are like the Father in our desire to do good things, are we also as a congregation like the Father in our ability to respond? Do we have the resources we need to be the kind of community with the kind of character we want? It would be hard to find someone in our church’s leadership who could say anything but “No.” For the second year in a row now, we’ve passed a budget where our income falls far short of our expenses. Cuts have been made. In other words, our desire for good ministry exceeds our ability to fund them by tens of thousands of dollars (our 2010 budget has a $25,000 gap between pledged offerings and pledged ministry!).
The reality is that individuals who commit to each other for the common good can accomplish more together than lone individuals. We saw this in 2009 where we received record levels of giving, going past our pledge to each other. This extravagant giving allowed us to unexpectedly address three needs we otherwise would not have. After the congregation empowered church council to give $428 away, council agreed to support the Interfaith Worker Justice Center, East Spring Branch Food Pantry, and to purchase 12 much needed new worship books. Together we did what none of us could have done alone.
For 2010 we’ve covenanted with each other to give even more. Our pledge to one another was $80,000 this year in offerings to be received, or $1,538.00 per week. A 20% increase from 2009. A stretch no doubt. But one that stretches us to become more like the Father: able to do the good things we feel called to do.
I invite you, as individuals and families, to help provide our congregation with the ability to do good. Your financial contributions are power for good in our world! While not possible for everyone, 10% of total income is an ancient standard of giving to the local church. Some of you should give less than this (or nothing), some of you much more. But most of us are capable of a 10% tithe, and would feel a deeper sense of connection to our church and God’s mission by considering giving at this level. While most Christians agree in theory to the 10% standard, in practice the national average is 2.4%. Imagine how Jesus would have had to alter his Prodigal Sons story had the father character not been able to respond as he wished! While it is my policy as your pastor to not see what individuals give (indeed, I have never seen what anyone but my own family gives), I would imagine we are a typical church in that we have families at all giving levels and percents, and that our average is far less than 10% per giving unit. And so again, I invite you to assess your own giving practices and to join us in making our collective desires to do good possible.
Individuals and families who faithfully give to the church enable us to be like the Father in one more key way. You enable us to experience the joy of giving and the joy of ministry! The Father ministered to his son gladly, joyfully, extravagantly. There was no worry about having enough, overextending himself, checking the budget for allowances or where to get money from. No! There was joy and freedom to do so in a non-anxious way.
And so here we are, soaking in the marinade of this gospel story about a Father’s love for his sons. And like any good marinade, it’s transforming, enriching, and enhancing who we are. It’s helping us to become whom we’ve always wanted to be!
Soak even more by praying with us using our daily prayer practice, which you can find at: houstonmennonite.org/worship
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Connecting More Fully at HMC:
►Soup’s On: 5:30PM Sunday night January 31 at Marty and Hannah (and Malakai) Troyer’s home. Call pastor Marty at 713-835-9436 for directions, or find their address in the church directory.
Book discussion on The Shack. Please pick up a copy of the book and read it ahead of time. This is a fascinating little book, written as a “parable” that wrestles with grief, pain, and loss. It is the story of one man’s healing after the violent death of his daughter, and his incredibly colorful journey of reconnecting to God. This book connects marvelously with our ongoing worship theme on the Love of God!
► Military Counter-Recruitment meeting this Saturday: There will be a training at HMC this Saturday, January, 30 from 10:00-1:30 for those who are interested in counter- recruiting. This will be a workshop which will give information about what is being done locally and nationally to inform high school and college students about the military. Attending does not mean a commitment to volunteer. It is a session designed to educate people about the work being done and what each of us can do to promote alternatives to the armed services. If one is not available for both the morning and afternoon sessions, it would still be beneficial to participate . If you have questions or would like additional information, contact Judy Hoffhien.

►Church Work Day: work day at the church for February 6, 2010 at 9 AM.
►Super Bowl Party: 5:30PM Sunday February 7th at HMC. Bring friends, food, drinks, & games.
►Stewardship Sunday: February 14th. Representatives from MMA will be available for financial counseling, along with a sermon and Sunday School presentation.
►Ash Wednesday: Wednesday February 17th, 7PM at HMC. The Beginning of Lent is almost here!
Meeting Schedule:
►Community Life Ministry Team: Saturday January 30th, 1-3PM.
►Campus Development Taskforce: Sunday January 31, after worship.
►Outreach Team Meeting: The Outreach Team will have its first meeting of the year this Sunday, January 31 after church. We will be discussing the Haiti Relief kits, the chilli cook off and other possible activities. If you are interested in working on these projects, please plan to attend. Lunch will be provided.
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YOU ARE INVITED to Sunday School:
The Discipleship Team wants to invite everyone and your friends to join us for our great 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 study 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 and Kristi Long.
►High School: With Teachers Lynda and Roxie Voran, along with Marty Troyer.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2
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On Prayer By Peggy Campbell
I am all for prayer. In my past life, I lived in an Episcopal Christian community which observes morning prayer, noontime prayer, and evening prayer. In that context, prayer is not carved into the daily schedule of work, but it is life’s pattern around which the fabric of our lives take shape.
Some months ago, when Pastor Marty asked us to sign up for a prayer commitment, I was ready, and I partnered with another member of the church to pray for the church and our concerns on a daily basis — every night. I also had an imperfectly observed rule of saying morning prayer (an Episcopal thing) and reading the accompanying daily scriptures. Fine. My life was in order.
Then. Then! Marty gave us a card outlining a new morning prayer discipline, I was totally undone. Ok, so I’m compulsive, but there you have it. I could not fit in one more thing! The turning point came about a week later when I talked to Rosa (my 10-year friend) on the phone. She said she really liked the Pledge of Allegiance. I asked her if she did the church’s new morning prayers. She does! Wow!
Decisions fell into place. I would continue the prayers for the church with my prayer partner. I would do our church’s morning prayer. I would keep the daily scriptures and slip in the Episcopal noontime prayer. Sounds like a lot; but, disciplines are often cumbersome if they are slighted or minimized. When they are done fully, they are taken in stride. It’s like running. When you start, it is an effort. As you continue, your body realizes you are not going to back down, and it becomes smooth and automatic — even exhilarating. (Or so the real runners tell me.)
In science, there is such a thing as a threshold level. At that point, a drug becomes effective; a toxin becomes damaging, and so on. My new prayer “rule of life” has reached a threshold level, and everything is upside down. Life is no longer the list of things to do in the little notebook in my purse. Prayer is not worked into the schedule, but the schedule is woven around the pattern of prayer
Disclaimer: This describes a “rule” of life not a law. It’s the “normal”, but not a law which condemns me if I miss part of it.
*NOTE: If you are interested in a prayer practice that highlights silence, listening and talking to God, check out our church webpage and the “WELCOME HOME” prayer practice on the worship tab, houstonmennonite.org/worship
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Haiti Relief Kits: 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.
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 donate.mcc.org/project/haiti-earthquake, 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.
http://mcc.org/haitiearthquake/resources
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Mennonite Disaster Service and Houston Mennonite Church
By Roxie Voran
Since Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) was organized in the early 1950s, Mennonites from across North America have mobilized from time to time to help their neighbors respond to natural disasters. That has also been the case at HMC. For about the first 15 years of the church’s existence, small groups would occasionally travel to help with cleanup in a nearby area that had experienced some flooding or perhaps a tornado. Typically, this involved no more than a handful of people spending a Saturday. In addition, someone from HMC often attended interfaith disaster planning meetings that were held through the years in an effort to be prepared for the big storm that could come our way.
A larger scale effort unfolded in 1983. In August of that year, the Houston area was struck by Hurricane Alicia—the first major tropical system to hit the area since Hurricane Carla in the 1960s. Several thousand homes were destroyed or made unlivable and tens of thousands were damaged. Dozens of MDS volunteers came from many places in the United States and Canada to help with the cleanup and HMC members helped as they were available. Ed Wiens and Pastor John Heyerly spent a great deal of time coordinating the effort, which focused on helping elderly and handicapped residents with cleaning up their property. The cleanup work continued for a few weeks and a small crew of MDS volunteers stayed in the area to continue working beyond the initial cleanup. Home repair and reconstruction projects in the LaMarque area near Galveston continued through March 1984.
It would be almost 18 years until the next major storm would affect the Houston area. However, in the intervening years HMC members continued to volunteer on MDS projects. During the late 1990s, Carl and Laura Dube organized annual MDS weeks. Each year they selected a week and offered church members the opportunity to accompany them to an MDS work site and to volunteer for that week. This continued for several years and usually involved 4 to 6 people. Those planning meetings continued, too.
June 2001 is remembered for Tropical Storm Allison. Allison was a minimal tropical storm that moved inland across the Houston area causing some flooding due to the rainfall, but relatively modest damage. But after moving about 150 miles to the north, Allison returned and was stationary over the Houston area for a couple of days. Parts of northeast Houston received up to 26 inches of rain in one day. Flooding was widespread and serious. In fact, after this storm the Harris County Flood Control District redrew the flood plain maps.
Mennonite Disaster Service made a major commitment to assisting with home repair and renovation in the Houston area after Allison. Within a few weeks after the storm, teams of out-of-state volunteers arrived and began work. Initially work was begun in two areas—Brookside Village in the Pearland area and in northeast Houston, but as time went on the work was focused in northeast Houston.
At the time, HMC was in a transitional period between pastors and we had a parsonage sitting empty. So the work in northeast Houston began with volunteers housed in the parsonage until a more convenient arrangement could be worked out. Working out that arrangement proved to be more difficult than anyone expected. A mobile home was donated to MDS and the owner of a vacant lot in the area donated the use of his property. However, when it came time to make utility connections and to obtain the permits, the City of Houston bureaucracy reared its ugly head. Negotiations continued for several months until everything could be worked out and the volunteers could begin staying in the area where they were working.
In the end, MDS work continued for over a year completing repair and renovation of well more than 100 homes. Ed Wiens again spent lots of time coordinating the effort with considerable assistance from Dan Miller of the San Antonio Mennonite Church. Lisa Peters from HMC also invested a great deal of time helping coordinate the work, including attendance at countless meetings.
Several short years later, 2005 was to become known as the year of the hurricane. Shortly after the horrors of Hurricane Katrina, a menacing Hurricane Rita approached Houston and put a big scare into us all before veering to the east shortly before making landfall. MDS initiated its largest effort ever in response to the Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2005. Home reconstruction work was begun at a number of sites, some of which are still active as we begin 2010.
Most of the work begun in 2005 was in Louisiana and Mississippi, but one project site was established in Newton, Texas. Ed Wiens served as director of the work in Newton for a few weeks when it began. The work in and around Newton continued, with some interruptions, for more than two years. Several other HMC members assisted for short periods of time and one, David Harms, left his job as an investment banker to spend a year as a full time volunteer with MDS in New Orleans.
With the post-2005 work still going on, the Houston area experienced a direct hit from Hurricane Ike in September 2008. Thousands of trees were blown down and many HMC members were without electrical power for one to three weeks. However, the worst damage was to the east of Houston. In the weeks and months following the storm, MDS established units at Anahuac and in the Beaumont-Port Arthur area. Once again, Ed and Twila Wiens spent a tremendous amount of time serving as local coordinators, picking up MDS staff and volunteers at the airport, and hosting many of them as they were making their way to and from the project sites.
Mennonite Disaster Service continues to operate a number project sites and offers all of us the opportunity to participate in this ministry. No one is required to be a master carpenter, although the willingness and ability to swing a hammer is helpful. Virtually everyone who has volunteered on an MDS project will tell you that the work isn’t necessarily easy, but it is very rewarding. Anyone who may be interested in volunteering can talk with anyone at HMC who has been involved or visit the MDS web site at http://www.mds.mennonite.net/.
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Houston Mennonite Church
Church Council Meeting
January 23, 2010

Members present: Outreach Chair Judy Hoffhien, Discipleship Chair Lynda Voran, Worship Chair Linda Washburn, Stewardship Chair Gerald Gehman, Congregational Life members Ana Rosa Craig and Roxie Voran, and Pastor Marty Troyer.
1. Members shared their responses to the question about their hopes and dreams for 2010.

1. Marty led a discussion about the Culture of Church Council. He primarily reviewed work that the 2009 Council had done to better define its role and he highlighted two areas.
1. Leadership – Historically Church Council has mostly functioned as a coordinating body and a clearinghouse where information is shared by the various teams. But Council has begun to provide more proactive leadership to become a creating body instead of only a reporting body. The 2009 Council decided to give priority to church growth in 2010 and worked together on the 2010 calendar and the 2010 budget in an effort to reflect that priority in both documents.
2. Communication – The Council is becoming more of a steward of the church’s communication and calendar. There can never be too much communication and often it should be in multiple formats and repeated. We still need to work at this and several suggestions were offered.

1. Reports
1. Pastor – Marty noted aspects of his job where he has recently given energy and others where he feels the need to give more energy or to work at differently. He has invested energy in administrative and big picture items including the recent congregational meetings and also in several speaking engagements in the community. He’s feeling the need to invest more energy in pastoral care and to find ways of dealing with or delegating mundane matters to minimize the energy they consume.
2. Stewardship – report attached. The Council raised the possibility of the Stewardship team inviting others in the congregation to take care of some of the many items they have to deal with. Gerald also invited everyone to send emails with maintenance items that need attention.
3. Worship – Linda noted that the team has continued planning without interruption during recent weeks. They have discussed the candle lighting during the service and possible improvements. They are also considering the timing for a farewell for Peggy Campbell.
4. Discipleship – Lynda stated that the first meeting of the team is upcoming.
5. Congregational Life – Ana Rosa stated that the team is preparing for their first meeting and reviewed the team activities that will continue in the new year.
6. Outreach – Judy stated that the Chili Cook-Off is coming on February 28. It will replace the Fellowship Meal for February and will help to discern missionaries we may wish to support. Judy also stated that over the next month the Outreach Team will focus some energy on preparing Relief Kits for MCC to be sent to Haiti.

1. Selection of Council Chair for 2010 – Marty reviewed the process that he had outlined for selecting the chair and the responses that he had received. Roxie and Judy had both indicated a willingness to serve with varying degrees of enthusiasm about the position. After discussion from both Judy and Roxie, Marty moved that Roxie be 2010 Council Chair and Judy seconded. The motion carried.

Ana Rosa suggested that Judy serve as the Recording Secretary for the year. Everyone agreed.
1. Disbursement of $428 in funds from 2009 – Based on the decision made at the January 10 congregational meeting, Council was to decide how to disburse $428, which is 20% of the above-budget giving in 2009. Suggestions were offered including (1) Interfaith Workers Justice Coalition, (2) additional Hymnals and Song books, and (3) East Spring Branch Food Pantry. The Council agreed that the money be split equally among these three causes.

1. The “Problem” of Church Growth—Marty noted that the recent higher attendance has led to the need for more song books, more parking and more seating for worship. He has encouraged people to park in the Terrace Methodist parking lot. He also reviewed possibilities for different seating arrangements that the Worship Team has discussed. A different arrangement will probably begin with Lent.

1. Other items – Marty stated that he was contacted by Evelyn Reyes who wants to use our building on January 31 from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.. This would be for a meeting of a group dealing with Honduran human rights and would involve up to 50 people. The Council agreed with that group using the building providing they were finished by 5:00 p.m. to accommodate the Soup’s On meeting that may take place.

1. Next meeting. The next meeting of the Council will be Sunday, March 7 after church.

Respectfully submitted,
Roxie Voran
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Ten Thousand Villages Update:
Ten Thousand Villages has had another successful year! Volunteers participated in 6 events for 2009 earning $2,027.25 in sales of centerpieces, $23,310 net for off site venues, such as churches, festivals, etc. and $33,000 in shopping nights at the store. The average monthly sales are around $40,000. December was the highest month with $161, 256. Although 2009 was not our best year, considering the effects of Hurricane Ike and the downward spiral of retail businesses in the economy, this was an excellent year. One major reason that the store has thrived is the result of the dedication of the volunteers. If you would like to be involved in the effort to help struggling artisans around the world, contact the store at 713-533-1000 or volunteer on the third Sunday of each month with other people from the congregation. There currently are not any Mennonites on the Board, and if you would like to connect in that way;, see Judy Hoffhien or Jean Koshy.
NOTE: HMC donates $250 per year through our annual budget to the work of Ten Thousand Villages Houston.
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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 prayful consideration of this need.
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Last Week’s Sermon:
God’s Love welcomes and celebrates us!
Interested in reading a copy of last week’s sermon, or know of someone who might be? Click here or visit our webpage at: https://houstonmennonite.org/sermons-from-marty-troyer/welcome-home/
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Order of Worship January 24, 2010
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!
Prelude
Welcome & Call to Worship
Scripture Reading Psalm 133 OT Pg.575
* Opening Songs
Come let us all unite to sing HWB #12
Joyful, joyful we adore thee HWB # 71
Scripture Reading Matthew 18:15-20 HWB # 837
Children’s Time (Children 1-5 dismissed for Children’s Church)
Sharing joys and concerns, Prayer
Scripture Reading Luke 15:1-2, 11-32 NT Pg 78
Preparation Song Come and Fill our Hearts (Eng-Span-Eng) SJ#59
Message
Prayer of Confession SJ # 142
Song of Response Make me a channel of your peace SJ #56
Sermon Response
Offering & Prayer
Welcoming of Visitors and Announcements
* Benediction Song The Lord lift you up SJ #73
* Benediction SJ # 159
* Please stand if comfortable when indicated by asterisk.
SJ- Sing the Journey (Green) HWB- Hymnal Worship Book (Blue).
Thank you to the following for sharing your gifts!
Worship Leader: Kristi Long; Song Leader: Gloria Wilson; Scripture Reader: Rachel Vlachos; Children’s Message: Frances Chavez; Children’s Church: Frances Chavez and Maribel Hinojosa; Message: Pastor Marty Troyer; Accompanist: Margaret Gehman; Sound: Jim Emmert and Nick Gehman.
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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, hmcpastor1@sbcglobal.net, also available on facebook.
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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 hmcpastor1@sbcglobal.net.

HMC E-Newsletter January 14, 2010
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Membership Update:
Sunday January 10th saw 42 people sign our annual “Membership Covenant” committing themselves to both God and our congregation. If you were unable to be present last Sunday, and are interested in signing the covenant, please do so the next time you are with us. This Sunday it will be on the main altar as a visual symbol. Following that, it will be on the back bulletin board. You can sign it anytime!
Signing the covenant enters one into the “Associate member” status of our congregation with all the rites and privileges of full membership. If you are interested in becoming a “Full member” please speak with pastor Marty.
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Connecting More Fully at HMC:
►Ten Thousand Villages: This Sunday is our Sunday to volunteer at the store. Consider shopping and volunteering at Ten Thousand Villages (2424A Rice Boulevard)! Supporting Fair Trade is one of the main ways we express our care for the world around us as a congregation.
►Soup’s On: Sunday night January 31. Book discussion on The Shack.
►Super Bowl Party: Sunday afternoon February 7th.
Meeting Schedule:
►Campus Development Taskforce: Saturday January 16th, 2PM, Annex.
►Children’s Church Meeting: Sunday January 17th after worship, 10-15 minutes. This is a training session for all those who have helped or are interested in helping out with our fabulous children’s ministry that we call “Children’s Church” which takes place during the worship service. Children pre-K and under are invited to the Children’s Ministry room for story, song, snack and play while we worship. If you have more questions, contact Linda Ensminger.
►Church Council: Saturday January 23rd, 9-11AM
►Discipleship Team: Sunday January 24th, after worship.
►Stewardship Team: Monday January 25th, 7:30PM
►Community Life Ministry Team: Saturday January 30th, 1-3PM.
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Welcome Home! A Worship Series on the Love of God;
OR, The “Problem” of Church Growth
By Pastor Marty Troyer
This is a sermon series I did not choose and could not escape. It has spent three years stewing inside my soul, bubbling thoughts and feelings to the surface until finally, this fall, I could no longer ignore its voice in my head. What is the love of God? Is God personal? How does it feel to be loved? What about those times when I don’t feel God’s presence at all?
These are the questions that linger. And these are the questions that collided in summer of 2009 with an idea for a series of sermons: to preach the same text every week for a month. This collision brought me to a simple story I’ve known since my flannel-graph days: the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). It’s a story of the boundless love of one father for his two sons, and their journey to both throw off and embrace that same love. It is to this story that I invite you over the next month. Read it this weekend before church and see what new thoughts creep up since the last time you encountered it.
But know that when you do, it is a much richer story than I ever before imagined! For instance, I find it to be a perfect story for HMC at this time. Why? Because it, like Epiphany 2 weeks ago, tells the simple story of someone coming, and the host community’s response to having new people around. And this is, at least as we’ve expressed it, our goal for 2010 and beyond. Remember, we’ve said as one of our core Transformation values that “We want to grow numerically.”
And so a story that tells about people coming, and some rejoicing with celebration while others mope with bitterness and longing for the way things used to be is a story fit for a congregation in the throngs of church growth. Because the truth is, that right now whether we ever wanted to grow or not, whether we’ve done anything to make it happen or not- we are growing! Did you notice Sunday that we had 7 more new visitors, and over 70 in total attendance? Did you watch as people searched for an open seat, set up new chairs, and had to reach to share song books? Did you notice how each one of our visitors took communion, engaged the service with a smile, and stuck around afterwards to chat? Did you notice a parking lot spilling over into the grass? Most of them enquired about connecting more in the future. Folks, the wise men are coming (like in Epiphany)! The prodigal is coming home!
And, like the compassionate father in this story there are things we need to do to welcome those who come. Short of killing the fatted calf, what might these changes be? I see them in two categories: things we can do right now, and things we need to plan for in the not-to-far-off future.
Right now things to do:
• Welcome those around you and celebrate that they are here. Tell them your name, ask them theirs, and help them to feel at home.
• Invite them to something, anything. Find some upcoming event in the bulletin to invite them to, or adult SS, or next week’s worship, or be gracious and invite them to lunch.
• Make room for everyone! If things start getting full, scoot in, make sure everyone has a song book, and help people find what they need.
• Pray for our visitors! Thank God for them, ask God to help them find a spiritual home, and ask God to help us embrace the new culture that visitors create us to be.
• Expand our seating: we need more seats! So starting Sunday you will see more rows of seats placed in the overflow. Since we have two Sunday school classes that meet in the overflow, this will require some quick changeover of space. We will need help to make this happen, please connect with Gerald Gehman if you want to help with this. Thanks!
• Parking: our parking issue has not gotten any better. Let me repeat what I’ve said before in the fall: please try to reserve parking along the building for visitors and those with disabilities, lots to carry, and young families. We need 5-10 cars who volunteer each week to park in Terrace United Methodist parking lot, and walk through our path. I park there every week, it’s a nice little walk.
In-the-near-future things to do:
• Rearrange our current seating arrangement to larger capacity. Feedback on our current arrangement has been nothing but positive. So we’re looking for ways to retain the current “feel” and intimacy while at the same time gaining more chairs.
• Solidify a team of greeters who also act as ushers, helping people find seats when things get tight.
• Expand our parking lot to add more spaces.
• Visit area churches with eyes to see how others welcome (or don’t welcome!) newcomers. Equally important to learn is how it feels to be a new person. Report back to the group with findings.
• Remodel/renovate our current building to give us more sanctuary space and a larger welcome entrance.
Choose to be the Father
Finally, the most important thing for us to do is make a choice. Will we choose to be like the elder son? Who groaned and complained about someone coming, revealing inside himself an overflowing fear, distrust, and bitterness. His actions remind me of my sister’s church in Oregon. They recently experienced deep conflict and finally a split over the presence of new people (who, gasp, weren’t ethnic Mennonites!!) whose presence many resented because it threatened “our identity.” And so they grumbled and complained; but even worse, their actions unconsciously excluded anyone but the pure. Their subversive actions, like the elder sons, undermined their own ability to embrace the love of God for themselves. Their subversive acts also unfortunately revealed that their “identity” did not mirror that of the welcoming compassionate Father!
Or, will we choose to be the father, who runs with open arms to greet those coming down the road? Or course welcoming his prodigal son would change things! Of course it would cost him money, demand his time, change how he lived his life and interacted with the rest of his family! Of course everything would be different. But different, apparently, is exactly what the father wanted! Paul says that when we are in the will of God, “Behold, there is a new creation!” The Father embraced the new gift of God, the son rejected it. Ultimately, ours is the same choice. To accept our identity as a transformed people as good news, or to reject it entirely and with bitterness pine for the days of old. The choice is yours.
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Welcome Home!! DAILY DEVOTIONAL PRACTICE
Pray with us each morning as we enter the story of one father’s love for his children (Luke 15:11-32) through prayer and scripture.
Prayer
Good morning God.
We are amazed that you choose to be present with us today. We don’t deserve your companionship. Yet you embrace us as your beloved children, for your mercy is bigger than our weaknesses and failure. We are thrilled and thankful you are with us. Without you, life would be meaningless and lonely.
We welcome you as our constant guest of honor. We welcome you to join us throughout this day at home, at work, at school, at play because your presence enriches the things we care about. We welcome you into our relationships because we want others to know your presence with them. We welcome you in our moments of decision today because you are the source of wisdom. You are welcome to use our time, our energy, our talents and our possessions for your purposes in the world.
Silence
Daily Scripture Reading
Sunday: Lamentations 3:22-24
Monday: Psalm 139
Tuesday: Ephesians 3:16-21
Wednesday: Romans 8:31-39
Thursday: Exodus 34:6-7
Friday: Psalm 103
Saturday: 1 John 4:7-12
Prayer
Name things you are thankful for today
Name the people, places, & situations that you hold before God
Breathe in God’s love for you for today. AMEN
Closing
I pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ,
And to God’s kingdom for which he died,
One Spirit-led people the world over, indivisible,
With love and justice for all.
Pledge of Allegiance ©2004 J. Nelson Kraybill and June Alliman Yoder Used by permission.
AMEN
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Calling Youth and Young Adults
►Camp Mennoscah: Dynamic and energetic and FUN! Summer staff recruiting at Camp Mennoscah has begun. Applications and information are available at http://www.mennowdc.org/Camp.html or contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290 or campmno@mennowdc.org. Application deadline is February 24, 2010.
►Youth Venture: Get ready for a new adventure…and be a part of what God is doing around the world. Who: Youth and young adults= ages 14-20 (North American locations), ages 16-22 (international locations). Where: France, Germany, Botswana, Bolivia, Guatemala, Montreal, California, Philadelphia. Apply: Service.MennoniteMission.net
►!EXPLORE! “Do you know youth who are passionate about the church and who
desire a place in it–youth who are asking deep questions and long to
share their vision, energy and hopes? *!Explore: *A Theological Program
for High School Youth provides young people in the 11th and 12th grades
in high school an experience designed to encourage the development of
their gifts in leadership, expose them to the world of theological
ideas, and foster in them a call to vocation in the church. Youth who are in grade 11 and grade 12 may apply (in collaboration with
their pastors) for the summer program following that year in school. The
program involves an internship at their home church (100 hours, normally
in the summer) and a 16-day intense program for the youth at Associated
Mennonite Biblical Seminar in Elkhart, IN.

See the brochure for !Explore 2010

or the web site
.”
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Looking for work?
Census bureau info
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Mennonite Central Committee is responding to the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti late Tuesday afternoon. MCC committed $100,000 for immediate needs and anticipates a response of at least $1 million over multiple years. MCC is planning its response which will include short-term relief plus recovery efforts over the medium and long term. Donations to MCC’s response in Haiti are welcome and can be made online at mcc.org, or by sending a check, designated Haiti Earthquake, to MCC Central States PO Box 235 North Newton, KS 67117 or call 316-283-2720.
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Order of Worship Sunday January 17th, 2010
Prelude
Welcome & Call to Worship
Scripture Reading Psalm 103 OT Pg. 554
* Opening Songs
Come let us all unite to sing HWB #12
For God so loved us HWB #167
Scripture Reading Luke 15:1-2,11-20a NT Pg 78
Children’s Time (Children 0-5 dismissed for Children’s Church)
Sharing joys and Concerns
Prayer (See Announcement in bulletin)
Scripture Reading Luke 15:20b-32 NT Pg 78
Preparation Song There is more love somewhere SJ #109
Message The Love of God
Prayer of Confession SJ #131
Song of Response Rain Down SJ #49
Sermon Response
Offering and Prayer
Welcoming of Visitors and Announcements
* Benediction Song The Lord Lift you SJ #73
* Benediction

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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, hmcpastor1@sbcglobal.net, also available on facebook.
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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 hmcpastor1@sbcglobal.net.

HMC E-Newsletter, January 7th, 2010. “Hook ‘em Horns” edition!!
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This Sunday:
►Congregational Meeting This Sunday: A meal is provided for all by church council. You don’t have to bring anything at all!
►Annual Covenant Signing Ceremony This Sunday: Houston Mennonite Church annually celebrates our commitment to each other, Christ, and our congregation through by signing the HMC covenant as part of our worship. All friends and members of Houston Mennonite who journey with or long to journey with Jesus and others are invited to sign as a symbol of commitment and faithfulness.
►Annual Reports: Below please find annual reports from our 5 teams, pastor, and Campus Development Taskforce. Included as attachments are 4 financial statements: The 2010 Proposed budget, 2009 Financial Summary, 2009 Income-Expenses summary, and a dedicated giving donations and payments. Hard (printed) copies of all reports will be provided for everyone Sunday. They are included here so you have read them and are familiar with them ahead of time. Comments and questions are appreciated and accepted.
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Connecting More Fully at HMC:
►Ladies Only Luncheon THIS SATURDAY!!! ►Worship Team Meeting – Wed. Jan. 13 – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the church. New team members welcome! If you are interested in planning music and other aspects of worship services, we would love it if you would attend our first meeting of 2010. No obligation to join for the whole year.
►Ten Thousand Villages: Next Sunday January 17th is our Sunday to volunteer at the store.
►Ten Thousand Villages: Consider shopping and volunteering at Ten Thousand Villages! Supporting Fair Trade is one of the main ways we express our care for the world around us as a congregation. The next Orientation session for new people interested in volunteering at Ten Thousand Villages will be Tuesday January 12, 6:30PM at the store (2424A Rice Boulevard). To register, please go to http://www.villageshouston.org and click on “Volunteers” to register with Shiftboard, or call the store at (713)533-1000.
►Soup’s On: Sunday night January 31. Book discussion on The Shack, by William P. Young. You can purchase the book for $6 from Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=the+shack
►Super Bowl Party: Sunday afternoon February 7th.
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2009 Pastor’s Report By Marty Troyer
Psalm 126 proclaims, “The Lord has done great things for us!” 2009 was a wonderful year for me personally, for our congregation, and for our family. I thank God that we are being transformed, and that I’m included in that! I am a different person today than when first you met me, filled with hope and joy. And our congregation is a living example that the Lord has done great things for us! My report follows the Transformation values.
We are an Anabaptist Mennonite Church: 2009 allowed for many opportunities to strengthen personal and professional ties with the wider church. Connecting to: Casa de Alfrarero and pastors Alberto and Aurora Parchmont, Texas Mennonite Convention, Western District Conference, MCUSA churches in Ohio and Kansas for speaking engagements, the Junior High Convention at the bi-annual Mennonite gathering, and participating in the Immigration Forum in Dallas in September were all marvelous opportunities to embrace our heritage. But perhaps the highlight for me came October 25th when HMC celebrated Mennonite Heritage Sunday and several new attenders boldly proclaimed they now see themselves as Mennonite!
Worship shapes us and expresses our faith We have indeed seen the truth of this statement this year! Our new “Sermon Reflection” time and rearranging our seating have both formed us to be today who we were not one year ago. This has been equally true of my own private times of prayer and study. Gratefully, I have established a connection with a local spiritual director, taken a retreat at The Cenacle, enjoyed the quiet of the sanctuary after Monarch’s move for times of singing, and found Panera Bread of all places to be my prayer office.
Community nurtures and challenges us. If Christ is our cornerstone, relationships are the house we hope to build. The depth of our relationships have grown this year with one another and our newcomers. Highlights for me include spontaneous potlucks, Soup’s On, birthday parties, Christmas Banquet, time with members during hospital visits, and hospitality given and received.
God calls us to serve others and to grow numerically I spent considerable time building connections outside our congregation. I made a point early on to relate to each organization our church supports in Houston (Food Pantry, MAM, etc…). My primary connections have been with Monarch school and the Interfaith Worker Justice Center, through which I have attended and spoken at various justice actions. The growth we have experienced has been fantastic this year! Including children, we have over 30 more people today than at our January 2009 congregational meeting! Putting energy into our new folks has filled me with joy and energy; I long to see them each feeling at home here, and connecting at the deepest levels of congregational life.
Location shapes mission Except for the people, the most transformative aspect of 2009 for me has been the role that Houston and Spring Branch (our church neighborhood) have played on my growth. I have developed a deep love, curiosity, and fascination for Houston. Scripture shines brighter and makes more sense, my hearts’ capacity to care, and my eyes ability to see right have all been formed by our context. Establishing the long overdue Campus Development Taskforce, working with Hilshire Village to purchase our new “Annex”, going on our “Wirt Road Scavenger Hunt” in October, and establishing connection with a local little league baseball team have all hardened the sense that this location will shape our mission.
Issues awaiting in 2010 I believe we enter the new year with resources we didn’t have a year ago. New people, confidence, hope, energy and a new spirit are all proof that we have all we need to step boldly into the new year. Church growth, integrating our new people, giving extravagantly, plans for campus development all await us this year. Focusing our energy here will require us to build on our core strengths more than ever: solid and trusting relationships, caring, vibrant worship, and a faith tradition that inspires us to see our world as it should be. Let’s take the steps needed today to become the church we’re called to be tomorrow. Peace!
Congregational Life Ministry Team
End of Year Report-2009
Our by-laws say that the purpose of the Congregational Life Ministry Team is to build a strong Christian community through fellowship opportunities and to expand the Kingdom of God by welcoming newcomers.
We began the New Year of 2009 by sponsoring a game night on New Year’s Eve, and we also ended the year of 2009 with a game night. In 2009, we also had game night on Super Bowl Sunday as some of us viewed the Super Bowl.
Fellowship dinners were held each month with a lot of congregational support. Our Christmas dinner was also in the mode of a fellowship dinner.
Linda Ensminger came to council with the idea of having a “Soup’s On” dialogue dinner every month that there is a 5th Sunday. We were very happy to facilitate this gathering on the fifth Sundays. They were well received.
Our committee was asked to serve refreshments after our Anabaptist Seminar sessions and we obliged. Refreshments enriched the discussions.
We had a farewell for Frank and Linda Kandel. A cake was served after our church service.
We were so blessed this year with new attendees and were delighted to have a luncheon for these new attendees. At this meeting, we were able to tell newcomers something about our history and also about our church goals and purposes of our teams.
We spent time in prayer at each one of our meetings. Take Our Moments and Our Days was the prayer book we used to aid our prayer time. At this time we shared personal prayer requests and remembered needs of the congregation.
We worked with our pastor, Martin Troyer, on goals for the spiritual growth of our congregation, and so our Prayer Team was begun and our candle prayers also were born.
Our pastor also shared his personal goals and we gave support.
Our committee members were Pastor Martin Troyer, Roxie Voran,
Ana Rosa, and Twila Wiens.
As this year’s chairperson, I was blessed by the committee’s patience, knowledge, and they taught me more about what it means to be Christian.
Respectfully submitted by Twila Wiens
2009 ANNUAL OUTREACH REPORT
By Judy Hoffhien
Last year, the focus of the Outreach Team’s work was on the Houston community. Over half of the money allocated for the budget was spent on remodeling the playground at Casa Juan Diego. This involved three Saturdays in which 10 people participated. There were also four guests from the metropolitan area who are Christian social activists who came to do a program for HMC-Dave Atwood on abolition of the death penalty, Bren Hardt on Compassionate Communication, Pancho Arguelles from Interfaith Workers Justice Center, and Bob Henschen on counter recruitment. The church also hosted three events for peace organizations in the city-the Peace and Justice Center potluck, the Interfaith Worker’s luncheon, and the Decade of Non-Violence’s winter fundraiser.
For 2010, the main emphasis will be on growth as a congregation. There are four major events scheduled-a chili cook-off in February which will focus on mlssionaries abroad, an Outreach Bar BQ in April, publicizing Lenten activities, and paid advertising for November and December holidays such as the Community Thanksgiving meal and Christmas programs. Another project the Outreach Team hopes to initiate is a Youth Peace Library whlich could be open each Saturday for 2-3 hours and would offer co-operative games, puppets, puzzles, peace books, a story time, gardening, and art and drama activities. The Houston Peace Camp has offered to loan their materials collected over the last ten years and to help with volunteer stafffing. This could be a tremendoous witness and outeach to the community and could help us to connect with the local neighborhood people.
The members of the Outreach group-Elizabeth Rodriguez, Samuel Garcia, Pastor Marty and Judy Hoffhien -will contionue to be involved with and share information about our community organizations-Casa Juan Diego, Interfaith Ministires, Spring Branch Food Pantry, Memorial Area Ministries and local peace groups. There are three new members of the team for the coming year, and we hope that each person at HMC will be motivated and inspired to become involved in living out the teachings of Christ.

Houston Mennonite Church
2009 Stewardship Committee
Annual Meeting Report
January 10, 2010
The 2009 Stewardship Committee met ten times and consisted of Alan Wilson, Kristi Long, Joel Thierstein, Ed Wiens, Dave Wiebe, Treasurer and Gerald Gehman, chair. Pastor Marty Troyer also attended and participated in most of our meetings as well. Thanks to all persons mentioned above for all of their hard work on behalf of Houston Mennonite Church (HMC) and its ministries in Houston.
The Stewardship Committee carried forth the following tasks this year:
● Every Sunday counted offerings, filled out giving records and deposited funds. The Treasurer and Stewardship partners paid bills, handled health and property insurance, utilities, filed Church Payroll.com monthly pay requests (payroll); and payment of all church committee expenses, maintained checking, saving accounts and financial records. Thanks to Dave Wiebe and Jim Emmert for their diligent service in relationship to treasurer work and handling of offerings.
● Coordinated transition of Monarch School departure and the purchase of former Monarch School modular office (the Annex) along with work on obtaining the Hilshire Supplemental Use Permit. Thanks to Ed Wiens for the many hours of work he has done on the Annex to get it ready.
● Assisted Church Council in Development of the Campus Development Task Force. Ed Wiens is chairing this Task Force.
● Building and yard maintenance included clearing the west fence line, repairs in the church including AC and the hiring of a yard crew to replace the yard maintenance formerly paid for by Monarch School. Marty Troyer coordinated with the Brykerwoods Little League on use of HMC’s north lawn as a practice field.
● Stewardship with Marty Troyer’s help prepared and presented the Draft 2010 Church Budget at the December 3, 2009 1st Congregational Meeting. Thanks to Marty Troyer, Dave Wiebe and Kristi Long for their power point work on the church long term finances and budget. Church Council spent the better part of several meeting working on a budget that reflected the vision statement.
● Assisted Church Council in Development of a Dedicated Giving Policy
As we look forward to 2010, I anticipate more activity in Stewardship Education and also working with the Campus Development Task Force at HMC.
Thanks again for all who assisted us in the HMC stewardship work in 2009 and to all of those in the congregation who participated in the stewardship of their time, gifts and financial resources for the benefit of God’s ministry through HMC.
Respectively Submitted,
Gerald Gehman, Chair
Worship Team Report
2010 Annual Congregational Meeting
January 10, 2010

Members: Pastor Marty Troyer, Peggy Campbell, Linda Washburn, Nick Gehman,
Margaret Gehman, Chair

The Worship Team met on a monthly basis to plan worship services for Houston Mennonite Church. To some extent, our work is routine in that, for the most part we observe the same special days each year. That being said, we added a few new observances this year. To our Lenten observances we added a weekly Bible Study led by Pastor Marty at his house as well as a seder meal which was held in the Gehman home. We also added communion on a monthly basis.

Typically we followed the lectionary readings with some exceptions. At the beginning of 2009, Pastor Marty led a series celebrating the transformation journey of HMC. In the fall Pastor Marty preached a series on the city. We also held a Thanksgiving service which was a departure from the past.

Some physical changes were made as well. The Worship Team asked that the church purchase copies of the “Sing the Journey” songbook for the congregation. This was done and we have enjoyed using many of the songs in our worship. The seating arranged was changed to sitting in “the round.” After many positive comments, this change became permanent. And most recently, spoken and unspoken prayers have been signified by lighting of candles during the service.

The Worship Team is aware that as our church grows, our worship will need to change as well. We want to add more members to our team including some of the newer HMC members so there will be new and fresh ideas alongside the tried and true. We also need to make plans for new ways of doing worship as we make visitors feel welcome in our congregation.

I want to recognize Peggy Campbell for the years of work that she has put into the Worship Team, many times when she was tired and not feeling well. We appreciate all her input, particularly in the area of music. We have been very happy to have her for quite a few more months than originally anticipated.

I will be stepping down from leadership after four years, though I will continue to serve on the team. It has been my privilege to work with this great group of people. As always, I encourage any input and comments from the congregation.

Respectfully submitted,

Margaret Gehman
Chair, Worship Team
H M C CAMPUS DEVELOPMENT TASKFORCE
REPORT TO HMC CONGREGATION
JANUARY 10, 2009 – FOR YEAR 2008
On June 15, 2008 our congregation voted to remain at our current location.
On May 30, 2009 the HMC Council appointed a taskforce to “develop the grounds and faciliities to enable HMC to carry out it’s vision and mission”. The members of this taskforce are: Jane Mcnair, Rebecca Voran, Jose Koshey, Martin Troyer, Ed Wiens serving as chairperson.
Funding for the work of this group is to be taken from the proceeds of the sale of our parsonage. The total funds allocated for our use was $ 287,668.00
Expenditures to date 15,436.57 (Major amount for purchase of Annex was $ 10,000)
Balance as of Dec. 31, 2008 $ 272,231.43
The first meeting of this group was on August 20, 2009. We have had a total of 5 meeting this year. Our primary focus has been to convert the Annex to our use. To date, the following items have been completed;
All finished flooring was removed. Hole in the floor at door from kitchen to deck was repaired. New carpeting was installed by Home Depot. New vinyl tile and resilient base was installed by HMC. Doors have a new coat of paint and walls have been touched up. All fire extinguishers have been recharged. New shelving installed in storage closet. New Annex sign made and installed by HMC. Exterior of building has been pressure washed.
Existing conference table has been refinished. New items which have been purchased, refrigerator, microwave, 25 folding chairs, 7 tables, 1 base cabinet, vacuum cleaner.
The Annex has 1,440 sq. ft. and contains 10 rooms plus a corridor. A specific use has been assigned to each room or space: *Kitchen- Restroom- General Storage- MCC Storage- Conference- Common Area-
2 Sewers & Doers rooms- Youth S/S room- Jr. Hi. S/S room. (All other S/S classes will remain in the church.)
*The library in the church building will be moved from its current location to what is now the Youth Room.
After a number of inspections by Hilshire Village and removal of two modular units by Monarch Schools, we feel we are now in compliance with H.V. dictates. We have asked that they issue to us the Specific Use Permit and the Certificate of Occupancy as soon as possible. When those are in hand we will proceed with adapting the Annex to our use and our needs. This has taken more time than we anticipated. Your patience has been appreciated.
I would like to say a special thanks to the four other folks that compose our task force. They represent a good cross-section of our congregation, each of them bring something special to our group. We have also appreciated Elissa lending her professionalcounsel to our group.
Our focus will now shift to changes in the church building and possibilities for the future use of the property. We already have received a number of suggestions from you regarding ideas and changes you would like to see. We will continue to solicit your prayers and ideas in the coming year. You are welcome to attend any of our meetings if you prefer to share your thoughts verbally. Our intent is to meet at least once a month in the coming year.
We welcome your continued interest in our work as we continue to implement our vision for the future of HMC. The minutes of all of our meetings will continue to be posted on the the back bulletin board. Questions and suggestions by you will always be welcome.
Respectfully Submitted,
Ed Wiens
Chair of CDT
HMC E-Newsletter, December 23, 2009 “Merry Christmas!!!””
________________________________________Call to worship (Join us Sunday for worship at 10:45AM!)
With faith to face our challenges,
With love that casts out fear,
With hope to trust tomorrow,
We accept this day as the gift it is – a reason for rejoicing.
Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life in the presentness of God.
GKowalski
________________________________________Be like an animal this Christmas
by Pastor Marty
My 27 month old son Malakai loves books. The first thing he wants in the morning and the last thing he wants at night is to sit on our lap and plow through several books. Currently, he’s in the Christmas spirit with favorites about Jesus’ birth. Perhaps it’s because they are kids’ books, but all of the Christmas books we read to him focus significantly on the presence of animals at the birth of the Christ child. In one, “Old Ox” welcomes all “little ones” into his stable for warmth and safety. In another, the cattle guard the baby Jesus while Donkey warms Mary. In still another, each animal is in turn pictured as presenting the baby a precious gift similar to the wise men.
All of these stories can be attributed to “artistic license,” as Scripture does not include the literal presence of animals by Mary’s side while she delivered the Christ child. (Nor, for that matter, is there ever mention of a stable, or the location of Jesus’ actual birth!). However, there is a longstanding tradition to include the animals like the HMC Christmas choir who sang, “Ox and ass before him bow…” This tradition may have its genesis with St Francis of Assisi, the 12th century lover of animals who was the first to create what we know of as the nativity scene complete with animals, stable, shepherds, parents, magi, and baby Jesus. This picture is a mash up of all the stories spread throughout the gospels alongside a fair bit of creative license. Francis loved animals and nature, and one day, while Francis was traveling with some companions, they happened upon a place in the road where birds filled the trees on either side. Francis told his companions to “wait for me while I go to preach to my sisters the birds”. The birds surrounded him, drawn by the power of his voice, and not one of them flew away. Francis spoke to them:
My sister birds, you owe much to God, and you must always and in everyplace give praise to Him; for He has given you freedom to wing through the sky and He has clothed you… you neither sow nor reap, and God feeds you and gives you rivers and fountains for your thirst, and mountains and valleys for shelter, and tall trees for your nests. And although you neither know how to spin or weave, God dresses you and your children, for the Creator loves you greatly and He blesses you abundantly. Therefore… always seek to praise God.
No one knows for sure if animals were present at Jesus’ birth. But I, like Malakai and Francis, love to think they were! I love the picture of all creation praising God at the birth of the baby Savior! Creation praises God throughout the Psalms, in Joel, Amos and Revelation. And at one point in his ministry Jesus declares, “If these people were silent then the stones would cry out!”
And so, with a little artistic license, I invite you to take time this Friday (Christmas day) to be like the animals. Set aside time for family, for food, for presents and fun. But also set aside some time to worship God and Christ the newborn king. Pull out an old hymnbook and sing some songs together (we do that quite a bit at our house, and no one seems to mind when we’re off tune!). Read the Christmas stories from Scripture (Luke 2:1-20; Matthew 1:18-2:18; Psalm 148) and reflect silently for several minutes. Jot down a list of things that would be missing from your life and the world if Christmas had never happened. Attend a worship service at a local church near your home. Try a breath prayer: sit quietly for 15 minutes and, as you breathe in say to yourself “Immanuel”; as you breathe out think “God with us.” Find a way to worship that fits your personality, gifts, and mood. And by all means, do it with your dog laying peacefully on your lap! In all that you do this Birthday, be like the animals: Be awestruck at the glory of God in Christ!
The heavens and the angels, the sun, moon, and stars, all that dwell in the sea, and the mountains, and the air, all people, men and women, young and old, wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds,“Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 148).________________________________________
Connecting More Fully at HMC:
An interactive and updated version can be found daily at houstonmennonite.org.
► Year End Giving: Please remember Houston Mennonite Church in your year-end giving. Celebrate Christmas by gifting your congregation. November giving was $5,871, putting us $4,002 from our 2009 goal of $66,000. Let’s exceed our giving goals and give us something else to celebrate!
Have you fulfilled your personal tithing goals this year? Now would be a great time to look back on your personal financial records and see. Perhaps life circumstances changed on you unexpectedly in 2009 (certainly this is true for some of us!) and your givning needed to be lower than expected. But perhaps you missed several Sunday’s and unintentionally forgot to give resources you had planned on giving. Or, perhaps you are in a position to give above and beyond your plans and could afford to give generously to the church as an expression of your own faith. Please consider helping us exceed our giving goals for 2009!!
►Looking for help around the house? Mowing? Raking? Painting? Cleaning? Please contact pastor Marty (713-835-9436) if you are interested in hiring people from our church to do a little work for you. A gift to you and to those who need the work!
► New Years Eve Party: Thursday night December 31st 8PM to 1AM at the church. Please bring friends, snacks, drinks, and games. All are welcome for a relaxed and safe evening of fellowship and games!
►Christmas Sunday, December 27th: Doug Ensminger will bring the morning message. No Sunday School this Sunday.
►For Ladies only: You are invited to Beth Wiebe’s house on Saturday January 9, 2010 for lunch at 11:30 AM. Please bring 2-3 dozen cookies (or finger foods) for a cookie exchange.
Directions: follow 45 south to Galveston to exit 29, turn right onto 2351. After 6 traffic lights turn right on to Melody Lane. 1 mile later turn left on to Melodywood Drive. They are down on your left.
►Congregational Meeting: Sunday January 10th after worship. Reports from each of our 5 Teams and the Campus Development Taskforce, election of officers, approval of 2010 budget, etc…
►Annual Covenant Signing Ceremony: January 10th. Houston Mennonite Church annually celebrates our commitment to each other, Christ, and our congregation through by signing the HMC covenant as part of our worship. All friends and members of Houston Mennonite who journey with or long to journey with Jesus and others are invited to sign as a symbol of commitment and faithfulness.
►Ten Thousand Villages: Consider shopping and volunteering at Ten Thousand Villages! Supporting Fair Trade is one of the main ways we express our care for the world around us as a congregation.
The next Orientation session for new people interested in volunteering at Ten Thousand Villages will be Tuesday January 12, 6:30PM at the store (2424A Rice Boulevard). To register, please go to http://www.villageshouston.org and click on “Volunteers” to register with Shiftboard, or call the store at (713)533-1000. ________________________________________
Link to last Sunday’s Sermon on choosing either President Obama’s or God’s path to peace here.
Share it with friends and family.
https://houstonmennonite.org/sermons-from-marty-troyer/do-not-be-afraid-peace-on-earth/
________________________________________Announcements:
Pastor Marty and family will be out of the office Thursday December 24th – January 2.
For pastoral care needs please contact Twila Wiens, Ana Rosa Craig, or Roxie Voran. ________________________________________
Team Leaders and the Congregational Meeting:
Please remember that all Teams will submit their 2009 Annual Report for the January 10th Congregational Meeting. These should be in written form submitted early in order to be photo-copied. Thanks!
________________________________________Order of Worship for December 27th, 2009
Focus Statement: In dramatic contrast to the fears named in Advent, here the whole cosmos is integrated in an enormous liturgy of worship: the heavens and the angels, the sun, moon, and stars, all that dwell in the sea, and the mountains, and the air, all people, men and women, young and old, “Praise the Lord!”
Prelude
* Welcome & Call to Worship:
Leader: We who lived in the shadows have seen a great light! Let us come to worship our Lord.
People: Glory from the heavens embraces creation, like a mother’s arms holding a newborn baby. Sun, moon and stars proclaim God’s salvation. Let our hearts give thanks, our spirits sin and our hands rejoice! Enter God’s presence, and be reborn!
Leader: Lord God, we adore you. We rejoice at your birth and respond by living out your word.
All: Gracious Sustainer, we bow in awe before your unwavering support, always there to hold us up.
Leader: Loving God, we thank you for the birth of Jesus Christ. Like Hannah and Elkanah, Mary and Joseph, we ask you to give us wisdom and to help us treasure in our hearts that which we do not comprehend. As we celebrate with them today, help us remember and share the joy they experienced because of what you have done. Amen.
* Opening Songs
Hark the Herald Angels Sing HWB #201
Joy to the World HWB #318
Christmas Candle Lighting
Scripture Reading Colossians 3:12-17 NT Pg??
Sharing joys and Concerns
Prayer (See Announcement in bulletin)
Scripture Reading Luke 2:41-45 NT Pg58
Preparation Song Away in a Manger HWB #194
Message Doug Ensminger
Song of Response To Us a Child of Hope is Born HWB #189
Offertory & Prayer
Welcoming of Visitors and Announcements
* Benediction Song O Come, all ye Faithful HWB # 212
* Benediction Unison Reading: As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another. Forgive each other, just as the Lord has forgiven you. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, doing everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. AMEN.
* Please stand if comfortable when indicated by asterisk.
SJ- Sing the Journey (Green)
HWB- Hymnal Worship Book (Blue).
Thank you to the following for sharing your gifts!
Worship Leader: Sylvia Klauser; Song Leader: Paul Siemens; Accompanist: Linda Ensminger; Scripture Readers and Candle Lighters: ; Children’s Church: Linda Ensminger ; Message: Doug Ensminger; Sound: Jim Emmert.
________________________________________
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, hmcpastor1@sbcglobal.net, 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 hmcpastor1@sbcglobal.net.
HMC E-Newsletter, December 10, 2009
________________________________________
Transformation Journey & Plans for 2010
Pastor Marty Troyer
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you to will and work for God’s good pleasure.” Phil 2: 12-13
Sometimes in life our journey seems long, really long. It’s comforting to know that we are not alone on that journey. Nor, to be honest, is it even our journey. The Bible is a story about God so much more than anything else! It tells about the work that God has, is and will be about. For it is through God’s actions that we truly get to know God.
This is true for our collective journey as Houston Mennonite Church, just as much as it is true for any individual. Ours is a story about God and what God is doing in our midst. It’s not a story about budgets and organizations and filling leadership slots. No! God is working in us! God is transforming us as individuals and as a community. Though my list is long, I believe we have witnessed God at work in one key way. We have witnessed the extravagant generosity of God and others in 2009. God has poured out the rich gifts of new life and energy, new people who swamp our parking lot and provide so much vitality and inspiration, a new pastor who loves ministry again, healing and hope for individuals, confidence and connection for leadership, a deeper sense of identity for church council, answered prayers, vibrant worship and sharing. We have also seen each other respond to God’s generosity: from the gifts of new hymnals and chairs, to HMC tithing on its parsonage sale, to the Mennonite Central Committee Relief Sale, to setting a stretch goal of $66,000 and now being 3 weeks away from surpassing that margin, to care packages and prayer ministries.
Clearly, God is at work in us enabling us to will and work for God’s good pleasure! The invitation is for us to join God in that same work, and to do so with fear and trembling. What does it mean to join God in the work of extravagant generosity and love?
First and foremost, I believe it means we need to celebrate the work that God is already accomplishing in us. Many churches follow the Bible in calling this “testimony.” But joining God also means that we plan to do the things that God is doing. Our work is not to “go it alone,” then ask God’s blessing. Rather, our work is to participate in the work that God is already doing; we complement what God is up to. Thus I think we need to (and are already) prepare to do our own “work” in 2010.
Church Council and our various teams have already spent much time discerning what we are being called to in 2010. Many of you heard more about it at our congregational meeting on Sunday. And we invite everyone to join us in praying for our 2010 plans.
Responding to what we see God at work doing, church council has affirmed the Transformation Journey and the 6 core values it expresses. We desire to continue strengthening each of these values, and affirm their interdependence. The values we have stated are central for our Transformation Journey include:
1. We are an Anabaptist/Mennonite church.
2. Worship shapes us and expresses our faith.
3. The Houston Mennonite Church faith community nurtures and challenges us.
4. God calls us to serve others.
5. We want to grow numerically.
6. We will stay at our current location and develop the grounds and facilities to enable HMC to carry out its vision and mission.

Please discern with us the following ways we are planning to join God in the work already being done:
Values: Out of the core values, council affirms we concentrate in 2010 on God acting to help us grow. This means that our best energies, the ministries of all 5 teams, the pastor’s time, and budgetary increases will be centralized around this core value. All existing ministries (worship, Sunday school, etc…) will be used at one time or another to open ourselves up to this work of God. You will notice in both the proposed budget and the proposed calendar an increase in outreach events.
Calendar: We’ve also worked to be able to propose to you a calendar of events (see below) which reflect God’s presence in our midst: from several new retreats being offered, to a chili feed for international missions, to newcomer meals, to the 3rd Annual Anabaptist Learning Seminar, and outreach BBQ’s: we want to provide events and ministries that are meaningful and challenging for all our people.
Leaders: It is imperative that any organization find the right people for the right positions. This is no different for a church. Thus, we have been talking and praying with you about new leaders for well over a month now. Council is in the process of calling several people to fill key leadership roles. But more important is the perspective that all Christians have gifts and ministry to offer! How can we create a culture where ministry and service is expected of everyone, and at the same time give and receive ministry joyfully, rather than out of a sense of duty? Where is the ministry for you?
Budget: Council is recommending that we pass a budget that is part of a larger 3 Year Financial Plan. The 3 Year Plan calls for a 20% increase in giving each year, along with a freeze in ministry expenses that is subject to evaluation. The 2010 budget calls for an increase in giving from $66,000 to $80,000, and a decrease in expenses to $104,000 which will leave us with a $24,000 operating deficit. The 3-Year Plan highlights the need for our own extravagant giving and the expectation of church growth. It also puts a conscious spotlight on deficit spending and our Church Savings account, which currently stands at just over $100,000.
My questions for each of these four areas is, Will this help us to connect with the work that God is already doing in our midst? Does this plan have the potential to transform us? I invite you to prayerfully ask those questions with me. Please pray for each of these plans, for with God, all things are possible!
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” Psalm 127:1
HMC 2010 Calendar
January
3 Sun Covenant Signing Ceremony
10 Sun Congregational Meeting & Meal
17 Sun Ten Thousand Villages Sunday
24 Sun Fellowship Meal
31 Sun Soup’s On
February
7 Sun Super Bowl Party
13 Sat Leaders Retreat
14 Sun Stewardship Sunday
17 Wed Ash Wednesday
21 Sun Ten Thousand Villages Sunday
28 Sun Chili Cook-off Fell Meal
March
7 Sun Anabaptist Learning Seminar
14 Sun Anabaptist Learning Seminar
21 Sun Ten Thousand Villages Sunday Anabaptist Learning Seminar
28 Sun Palm Sunday Fellowship Meal Anabaptist Learning Seminar
April
1 Thurs Maunday Thursday Meal and Worship
2 Fri Good Friday Service
4 Sun Easter Sunday!! Sunrise service, Brunch, Worship
11 Sun Outreach BBQ Begin Collecting for Care Packages
18 Sun Welcome Meal for Newcomers
18 Sun Ten Thousand Villages Sunday
25 Sun Care packages deadline

May
1 Sat Church Retreat ????
8 Sat Women’s Retreat
16 Sun Ten Thousand Villages Sunday
23 Sun Fellowship Meal
30 Sun Pentecost Sunday Soup’s On

June
20 Sun Ten Thousand Villages Sunday
27 Sun Fellowship Meal
July
9-11 Fri-Sun Church Retreat at Western District Conference Annual Gathering in Waxahatchie, Texas.
18 Sun Ten Thousand Villages Sunday
25 Sun Fellowship Meal
August
15 Sun Ten Thousand Villages Sunday
22 Sun Sunday School Teacher Training
29 Sun Soup’s On
September
5 Sun Labor in the Pulpit
19 Sun Ten Thousand Villages Sunday
26 Sun Fellowship Meal
October
17 Sun Ten Thousand Villages Sunday
24 Sun Fellowship Meal
31 Sun Mennonite Heritage Sunday Soup’s On
Begin Collecting for Care Packages
November
13 Sat Mennonite Central Committee Relief Sale
21 Sun Ten Thousand Villages Sunday
25 Thurs Outreach Meal for Thanksgiving
28 Sun Fellowship Meal
December
5 Sun Congregational Meeting
12 Sun Christmas Banquet
19 Sun Ten Thousand Villages Sunday
31 Fri New Years Eve Party

________________________________________
Prayer for Transformation

Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrive safely because we have sailed too close to the shore.Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the waters of life; having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity; and in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim. Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly to venture on wider seas where storms will show your mastery; where losing the sight of land, we shall find the stars. We ask you to push back the horizons of our hopes; and to push in the future in strength, courage, hope, and love. Amen.
Prayer of 16th century English explorer Sir Francis Drake:
________________________________________
Calendar of Events: Connecting More Fully at HMC:
An interactive and updated version can be found daily at houstonmennonite.org.
►Christmas Choir: Saturday December 12, at 4:00PM NOTE TIME!!
►This Saturday Night: Decade of Nonviolence Potluck at HMC 6PM. Please join Decade members and endorsers on December 12, 2009 at The Houston Mennonite Church, 1231 Wirt Road (North of I-10) for a evening of fellowship, fun and laughter along with an auction to raise money for the Decade’s work in 2010 and beyond. As many of your know, next year is the end of the first Decade of this millennium. Prior to the Decade, living Nobel Peace Laureates urged us to start educating ourselves on building cultures of peace for the children of the world. As this first Decade ends, where do we go from here? Learn more by joining us on Saturday, December 12th. For more information about this event, go to: http://thepeacehour.blogspot.com. You can also call either Judith Hoffhein at 713-863-8708 or P.K. McCary at 713-893-1304. If you’re an endorser of the Decade, bring your materials and let others know what you’re doing. We’re looking forward to seeing you.
►Christmas Banquet Tonight: 5PM. Come tonight and plan on a great evening of entertainment (brought to us by each other), food, and fellowship. This year we will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with special catered Birthday Cakes!! The meal will be different than previous years: the church will cater the birthday cakes, not the main dish. Please bring main and side dishes for pot-luck, no need to bring any dessert. Connect with Margaret Gehman if you have a “talent show” item (song, skit, story: serious or lighthearted) you’d like to share with us! Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Jesus, happy birthday to you!
► New Years Eve Party: Thursday night December 31st 8PM to 1AM at the church. Please bring snacks, drinks, and games. All are welcome!
►Christmas Sunday, December 27th: Doug Ensminger will bring the morning message. No Sunday School.
►Congregational Meeting: Sunday January 10th after worship.
________________________________________

Some Great Christmas Ideas:
MAM gift certificates The holidays are upon us and I’m sure many of you are shopping for your loved ones, for families you have adopted through your churches and for those who you know need an extra bit of cheer this time of year. We have a great idea for you!!!! MAM Resale Store certificates are a terrific way for you to not only give as gifts, but also a way to support MAM. You may purchase your certificates at MAM. If you would like to pre-order, send an email to Cindy Husband with the amount of dollars for the certificates and how many you would like and she will have them ready for you when you arrive. Her email is: chusband@maministries.org.
Save 20% on gift subscriptions to Mennonite Periodicals
Rejoice! daily devotional magazine provides encouragement for individuals, families, and groups. Each day’s entry includes a scripture reading, a short inspirational message, and a prayer of response. Prayer requests representing Mennonite mission workers, schools, and church agencies, are also included. Published quarterly. See http://www.mpn.net/rejoice.
Purpose
Purpose offers inspiration for daily Christian life, with regular columns on food, peace, humor, and resources for faithful living. Published monthly. Find more information at http://www.mpn.net/periodicals.
________________________________________
Advent Prayer
Incarnate God,
you fill the deepest blue of world and soul.
Help us to claim the sturdy hope
that Mary held in her heart and sang out in witness,
that we too may rejoice to be disciples
of the one coming as dawn from on high.
We pray in his name,
your kingdom come, your will be done.May the God of peace sanctify us entirely; and may our spirit and soul and body
be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls us is faithful, and will do this. AMEN

From: Take our Moments and Our days, an Anabaptist Prayer Book: Advent through Pentecost, pg 50.
________________________________________
Helping Each Other
1. Please consider providing gifts for kids in need this Christmas: Consider buying a gift (age and size are in each stoking at the back of the church) and putting it in the stoking.
2. Chelsea Spade could use Christmas decorations for her and her house. If you have unused holiday décor, please let her know!
Helping Yourself
1. A recent “Santa Claus” at HMC donated 25 brand new folding chairs to the church. This means that we have 25 old folding chairs available to those who might need them. If you want to make a donation to church, you can, but you do not need to. If you need them, they are yours!
________________________________________
Order of Worship
Focus Statement: God’s turning us around toward right living is our salvation.
Prelude A La Nita Nana Christmas Choir
Welcome
* Call to Worship:
Leader: We live in troubled times, waiting for God’s light to burst into our dark world. Rejoice! God is coming in mercy to turn us around.
People: God takes away all judgments against us, we no longer fear disaster.
God takes down oppressors and lifts up the oppressed.
God restores our hearts and minds and brings us home.
All: May we turn to God with prayer and thanksgiving. May we be ready to proclaim to all the good news of God’s grace. May we turn to others in generosity and sharing.
Leader: O Lord, you are the coming one. We lift up our eyes and our souls, longing for your coming in justice. We trust; we will not be afraid, for you have promised to bring us home. Amen.
* Opening Songs
Hark the Glad Sound HWB #184
Longing for Light SJ #54
Advent Candle Lighting
Scripture Reading Zephaniah 3:14-20 OT Pg877
Children’s Time (Children 0-5 dismissed for Children’s Church)
Sharing joys and Concerns
Prayer (See Announcement in bulletin)
Ministry Update: Houston Area Committee for Youth and Non-Military Opportunities
Song of Preparation
Scripture Reading Luke 3:7-18 NT Pg60
Message
Litany of response:
Leader: Lord, in this time of Advent, we celebrate your presence with us and long for your coming. We rejoice that you do not forget us, but break into the confusion of our lives. You keep coming in mercy to turn us around.
People: Lord, help us in our turning around. Help us repent and turn toward you.
Side 1: We confess that we have tried many paths and that our wandering has made us weary.
People: Guide us with your grace.
Side 2: Lord, in your loving kindness, help us to fear no more.
People: Rejoice! Sing aloud! God forgives!
Side 1: We rejoice because God is in our midst, turning us around and taking away our fear. God rejoices over us with gladness, God renews us with love.
Side 2: God saves the lame, gathers up the outcasts and changes their shame into praise.
People: We rejoice in your plan of salvation. You restore your people. Lord, come to save us! Amen

Song of Response Veni, Veni Christmas Choir
Offertory & Prayer
Welcoming of Visitors and Announcements
* Benediction Unison Reading: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen, and the God of peace will be with you. Amen
* Benediction Song O Come O Come Immanuel HWB #172
* Please stand if comfortable when indicated by asterisk.
SJ- Sing the Journey (Green)
HWB- Hymnal Worship Book (Blue).
Thank you to the following for sharing your gifts!
Worship Leader: Sylvia Klauser; Song Leader: Paul Siemens; Accompanist: Margaret Gehman; Scripture Readers and Advent Candles: ; Children’s Message: Linda Ensminger; Children’s Church?; Message: Pastor Marty Troyer; Sound: Jim Emmert and Nick Gehman. Next Week: SL: Jim E.; CM:. Gehman; CC: McNair.
________________________________________
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, hmcpastor1@sbcglobal.net, 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 hmcpastor1@sbcglobal.net.
HMC E-Newsletter, December 3, 2009
________________________________________
Dear members and friends of Houston Mennonite Church,
This Sunday, December 6, our church will hold the first of two congregational meetings. Your presence is essential as we will be looking at key issues that speak to the vitality and commitments of our congregation. We will be dialoguing about two areas in particular: our congregational vision, and congregational budget. The DNA of any organization is its vision and mission for being. Houston Mennonite Church sees itself on a Transformation Journey, as we connect more and more with God at home and church. Thus, we want to dialogue about how we see ourselves doing on this journey and where we should concentrate our energies in 2010. And, to the degree that Transformation = Change, what changes do we foresee to implement are shared vision?
Our church council is in the process of building our 2010 budget, and we highly respect your input. This process involves a careful evaluation and interpretation of the ministry needs of our congregation, recent giving patterns, and our overall financial picture. The church council is committed to continuing our faithful witness inside and outside our church walls, but is also aware that our current giving is well below our ministry expenses.
I realize that on the surface, this may sound like a meeting that some would like to skip. Please do not underestimate the value of your participation. The church council desires dialogue from church members and friends as we develop a plan to finance and build for our future.
The values we have stated are central for our Transformation Journey include:
Our Values
1. We are an Anabaptist/Mennonite church.
2. Worship shapes us and expresses our faith.
3. The Houston Mennonite Church faith community nurtures and challenges us.
4. God calls us to serve others.
5. We want to grow numerically.
6. We will stay at our current location and develop the grounds and facilities to enable HMC to carry out its vision and mission.
Are these values reflected in our current programming, study, calendar, and budget? What resources do we currently have to further these values? Who are the people in our midst we need in place to lead us along the lines of these values at this time in our life together?
I cannot stress enough the need for your participation. Please put the NFL, the Sunday paper, and an afternoon nap in the back seat this Sunday afternoon. A potluck fellowship meal will be immediately after the worship so that we can be well fed and ready to dig deep into our future together. All members and friends of HMC are encouraged to join us; whether new or old, we value your input and commitment to our church body!
I look forward to seeing you at this Sunday’s Congregational Meeting.
Pastor Marty Troyer
________________________________________
Prayers for Transformation
As we prepare for our congregational meeting on Sunday, I invite you to pray with me:
Sometimes we pray carelessly for transformation.
But at this moment we pray differently.
We suspect how uncomfortable, how painful, how pricey, our transformation might be.
Will you knock over one of the pillars that holds up the house of our belief?
Will you slip in uninvited, and snatch away the security blanket that no longer comforts us?
Will you back us into some corner and with a determined gleam in your eye, inform us that what we thought was just and right is in fact not?
Will you put a belt around our waist and take us where we do not want to go?
What price will we pay for transformation?
What does prayer cost?
Yet if in wisdom you choose to transform us, however reluctant we may be, however much we may kick and scream and claw, then we do ask for life.
We ask for your life-
life that shepherds us beyond our hopes, beyond our fears, beyond the final frontier of death itself.
Give us your life in the area of budget, giving, leadership, and vision for our congregation.
If you push us into a world of alternate possibility, then please hold our hand and go with us.
So bless us, not because we deserve it, but because you love us. AMEN
Adapted from Words for Worship 2: #90, Daniel P. Schrock
________________________________________
Calendar of Events: Connecting More Fully at HMC:
An interactive and updated version can be found daily at houstonmennonite.org.
►Christmas Choir: Saturday December 5, at 2:30PM Note time!
►This Sunday: Potluck Fellowship Meal with Soups and bread. All invited to stay
►This Sunday: Congregational Meeting: Sunday December 6. We annually have 2 meetings at which we discuss and pass budget, discern and affirm congregational leadership, and discuss congregational life and business. Our first is after worship on December 6.
►Christmas Banquet: Sunday Evening December 13!!! Put it on your calendar, and plan on a great evening of entertainment (brought to us by each other), food, and fellowship. This year we will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with special catered Birthday Cakes!! The meal will be different than previous years: the church will cater only the birthday cakes, not the main dish. Please bring main and side dishes for pot-luck, no need to bring any dessert. Connect with Margaret Gehman if you have a “talent show” item (song, skit, story: serious or lighthearted) you’d like to share with us! Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Jesus, happy birthday to you!
________________________________________
ADVENT 2009:Visions for Peace-Plans for War
Tuesday night’s Presidential address did little to keep me in the Advent spirit. Plans to escalate war fly in the face of everything I believe is at the core of Christmas, and at the core of what our world needs.
The New Testament calls on various Old Testament texts in order to interpret the meaning of Jesus birth. Strangely these texts have nothing to do with generosity or the mental gymnastics necessary to believe its better to give than receive. No, the New Testament almost univocally pulls on texts that promise justice and peace, deliverance from real-world oppression, an upside-down kingdom, and political-economic-spiritual “light” – a new and better world for all as defined by God. The New Testament supplements those Old Testament readings with its own interpretations of the birth that sharpen the contrast between the President’s plan. “Peace on earth among those whom God favors (Luke 2:14).” “God sent his son into the world…that we might love one another (1John 4:7-12).” “The word became flesh… and was full of grace and truth (John 1).”
On top of both of those accounts, the Christian church for 2,000 years has pulled various Old Testament texts to highlight the Messianic expectation of God’s people. These texts are a highlight reel of what they expected when Messiah (who turned out to be Jesus) finally came. Consistent with the two categories above, peace, justice, love, the upside-down kingdom are mentioned throughout our history of Advent. Perhaps my favorite of these is Isaiah 11:1-10, one of the grandest and most fascinating pictures of God’s kingdom ever! Isaiah’s picture of wolves and lambs together is an extraordinary picture of how the world will look when God answers the prayer: “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).”
As the President spoke directly into the faces of future soldiers who will die for his war plans, I found myself begging instead for the words of Isaiah 11:9: “They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of God.” And what is this knowledge of God that Isaiah tells us about? That “the wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together (11:6).” The message of Advent/Christmas is not security based on military might; nor is it the President’s catchy twist of words that “right makes might.” Violence under any name is still misguided, and ill-equipped to accomplish the necessary ends for Afghanistan or any region. Isaiah counters the “myth of redemptive violence” with his promise the coming Christ-child will overcome evil with his word of righteousness, faithfulness, and peace. Righteousness as pictured in the Old Testament is “the right ordering of the world according to God’s intention, with a special bias toward the poor and the outcast (John E. Toews, pg 401).” Proper ordering of Afghanistan does not include more war or a longstanding imperial presence. It includes faithfulness in relationship and nonviolence that leads to love of enemies. “When we hear the good news of the love of God,…our response includes… placing full trust in God alone…When we who once were God’s enemies are reconciled with God through Christ, we also experience reconciliation with others (Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, Article 8: Salvation).”
This is an extraordinary voice this Christmas season! This is what we are called to be about. As the body of Christ, our fellowship is a foretaste of this vision, our worship is designed to celebrate it, our Christian education must be about forming people to be the type of people who work for this vision, our outreach works to spread it, and our giving is directed towards this end!
But this Advent vision was alarmingly absent from the President’s plan. The President sadly chose not to listen to the strategy of Isaiah but rather to listen to his war council. He erroneously chose to believe one story over another: the story that proclaims violence can and does solve our problems.
But, as Christians, that is not our story.
Ours is the only story that can “win” in Afghanistan.
This Christmas, I grieve violence done in our name. I grieve that we are not creative enough to think of new and different plans. I grieve our inability to read the history of violence as being woefully deficient. I grieve our incalculable spending for destruction and our petty spending for development. I grieve the loss of life in American and Afghan families. I grieve that the church has yet to muster up a nonviolent training program (Isaiah 2:4 says that when Messiah comes they “shall not learn war anymore”) to rival that of Westpoint. But mostly, I grieve that another story besides that of Jesus birth has so captured our attention again this year that once again we will miss hearing the angels song: “Peace!”
I pray that you would believe Christmas is more than generosity and more than a miraculous virgin birth. Much moreso, it is the birth of a miraculous picture of the world as it should be! This Christmas, may we all come to more deeply believe in the proper ordering of our world as Isaiah saw it, and the story of peace that Scripture so boldly proclaims. Will you join me in this prayer for “righteousness”:
Your kingdom come, your will be done, in Afghanistan as it is in heaven. AMEN
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Leadership Discernment
Please prayerfully discern appropriate people for the following leadership positions in our congregation. You can either print this form off and turn it in Sunday to the offering plate or pastor Marty, or use the form in Sunday’s bulletin. Thanks!
Houston Mennonite Church
Nomination Information (please print)
Your Name
Community Life Team member
Discipleship Team chairperson
Discipleship Team
member/s
Outreach Team
member/s
Worship Team
member/s
Stewardship Team
member/s
It is our policy to affirm by congregational vote all Team Chairpersons and all 3 members of the Community Life Ministry Team. These positions are considered to be filled by “call,” (i.e. internally), with all Team members to be volunteer positions.
Please note above if you feel called and are open to a ministry position.

________________________________________
Story Corps hits Houston
StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit project whose mission is to honor and celebrate one another’s lives through listening.
By recording the stories of our lives with the people we care about, we experience our history, hopes, and humanity. Since 2003, tens of thousands of everyday people have interviewed family and friends through StoryCorps. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to take home and share, and is archived for generations to come at the Library of Congress. Millions listen to our award-winning broadcasts on public radio and the Internet. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, creating a growing portrait of who we really are as Americans.
If you are interested in interviewing someone, or want to tell your own story, visit their webpage at: http://www.storycorps.org/record-your-story/locations/houston-tx

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Advent Prayer
Mary’s Song-
can we sing it on a bleak mid-winter midnight
while we wait for good news
and the wars just get worse
and the children keep dying?
Is the Child winning the battle
and we just can’t see well enough?
But we can pray- that the hope of the world
keeps being born in us
and God will do the rest! AMEN
Words for Worship 2, #175 by Linea Reimer Geiser.
________________________________________
Caring for Each other
There continues to be a need for household items for the grandparents of some of our children who attend here weekly. Rosa, Jose, and Maria’s grandparents were evicted recently and lost all of their belongings. They could use the following items, if you have them, please connect with Peggy Campbell at (832)244-7912.
– Beds or mattresses (queen, 2 double beds for 2 teenagers)
– Dining room chairs (not table)
– Smaller needs: blender, microwave, towels &/or bath cloths, toaster, coffee pot, dish towels, bed linens.
________________________________________
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, hmcpastor1@sbcglobal.net, 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 hmcpastor1@sbcglobal.net.

Breaking in and Bursting Out: Advent 2009 in Context
By Marty Troyer
The following article was written for Leader Magazine as an introduction to the Advent 2009 worship theme and texts. The theme for this year’s lectionary texts is “breaking in and bursting out,” highlighting the Messianic expectation found in the Old Testament. You can read the article in the Leader magazine, on our webpage, or below.
Advent-Epiphany, Year C
Let’s be honest about the boldness of this theme, breaking in and bursting out. Most of us are more comfortable to plan for, study, discuss and usher in that which is new. Bursting and breaking sounds so invasive, so uncontrollable. For me, however, the most formative events have been precisely those which burst uncontrollably into my life. The birth of our first child, being called to urban ministry, the unexpected people I’ve met in my role as pastor. Wild and untamed, each became a gift in its own way.
Which begs the question, what and who are we celebrating to be breaking in and bursting out? And where is it coming? How will we respond to these intrusions into our carefully planned existence? Our Advent-Epiphany texts invite a fresh look at God who bursts upon neighborhoods and world alike.

Advent 1, November 29: Jeremiah 33:14-16 & Luke 21:25-36.
In the shadow of empire, Jeremiah sees justice and righteousness breaking out in the work of Messiah, who will establish shalom-peace. Only after justice is established will Judah be saved and Jerusalem live in safety. Luke presents a cosmic Son of Man bursting in with full redemption shaping the whole cosmos from individuals to galaxies. “The kingdom of God is near!” So “stand up and be ready,… be on guard, …be alert!” In other words, fasten your seats belts and get ready for the ride of your lives. Things are in need of change, and justice is coming.
Advent 2, December 6: Malachi 3:1-4 & Luke 3:1-6
Luke highlights his local and imperial context by saying something along the lines of: “In the first year of the reign of President Barack Obama when Rick Perry was governor of Texas, and Bill White was Mayor of Houston, the word of the Lord comes to us.” Situating ourselves locally broadens and strengthens the gospel of peace. Luke presents John the Baptist in word and deed filling valleys and bringing mountains low. The proclamation of forgiveness via baptism created the possibility for an entirely new way of being, spiritually, socially, and politically. All of which was necessary on a local level, but which sounded radical to the ears of empire. On the surface this was decidedly not good news to those in power (highlighted by the slaughter of the innocents in Matthew 2:13-18 & John’s arrest in Luke 3:20). We see this also in Malachi’s prophecy of the Lord coming to refine and judge those at temple. Clearly when God bursts an entirely new way of being is birthed. This was the expectation and the hope.
Advent 3, December 13: Zephaniah 3:14-20 & Luke 3:7-18
Here we see the tension between the now but not yet of God’s presence. Zephaniah attributes all manner of goodness to God already present in Jerusalem. God banishes shame, defeat, enemies, and fear, replacing them with salvation and world renown. This theme of the renown of God’s people runs throughout our Advent texts, and deserves our attention. On the other hand, Luke through the Baptist longs for the coming of the one who will baptize not only with water, but with the Holy Spirit and with fire. The Baptist continues to clarify what “every mountain and hill made low” means by chastising the crowds who come running to him. And yet they persist, begging for more! From John’s perspective judgment and the refiner’s fire of Jesus are bursting into our midst. Like Malachi last week, Luke begs the question, Are we ready for this?
Advent 4, December 20: Micah 5:2-5 & Luke 1:39-55
Micah gives a succinct picture of what is coming: “He shall be the one of peace.” Coming from Bethlehem, the one who is to rule gathers the people from the ends of the earth, feeds the people and makes it possible for them to “live secure.” The Gospel text, known as “Mary’s Song” sings about the justice and shalom-peace of God that arises through the Coming One. Like for Jeremiah in Advent 1, we see in both texts here that justice and right-relationships are necessary before peace can reign.
Christmas Sunday, December 27: 1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26 & Luke 2:41-52
The Lukan birth narrative itself (Luke 2:1-40) is clear that what yesterday was only coming is here today: “and on earth, peace!” They have clearly seen what burst in and was breaking out. This is no less true for us than it was for the shepherds who Luke baths in the metaphor of sight. It has happened. Jesus has burst into our world. The two primary texts for the first Sunday after Christmas give us a glimpse of the humanity of Jesus and a chance to watch the maturation of that which is bursting and breaking. Christ and all God’s goodness may come to us in a singular event, but it must be formed and allowed to grow to full maturity. For Samuel and Jesus, formation happened in the temple through Biblical study and mentoring.
Epiphany, January 6, 2010: Isaiah 60:1-6 & Matthew 2:1-12
Both Isaiah and Matthew present outsiders as streaming, parading, running towards God’s people. Why? Why will they come? What is it about the character and essence of the New King and his people that makes outsiders want to belong? The people come (or resist, as we have seen) because of the New King in town (Matthew) and the light in the midst of the people (Isaiah). In other words, they come precisely to the extent the promises of Advent and Christmas are fulfilled in God’s people. Outsiders come not only to participate in the fulfillment, but also to add to it. In both cases the attraction is so absolute outsiders are pictured as bringing gifts to God’s people. Isaiah 60:7 (and presumably in Matthew as well) reveals these gifts are accepted by God. What does our world have to offer God’s people this year?
Reading Advent in Context
So, what is coming into our midst? Our texts reveal justice, peace, and righteousness (among other things). Perhaps Mennonites see these as old friends with keys to the front door. Why then must they burst in and break out? There is, after all, nothing we have studied or self-identified with more.
These old friends are bursting upon me in new and exciting ways simply by shifting their horizon from the global to the local. We live in empire, yes! A fact we must continue to develop. But we also live in Jerusalem, and Newton, and Houston. These are and must be our primary contexts within which to do the things that make for peace. Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of Christmas in John 1:14 is: “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood (The Message).” In order for Christmas to authentically burst in, we must spend energy to exegete both scripture and our neighborhoods. Then and only then can God burst in with us and break out into the world beyond.
The Advent-Epiphany season is a journey from promise to fulfillment. These powerful pictures reveal what life and society are meant to be. They also give us hope that the way of Christ is wildly attractive. “See – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people (Luke 2:10).” This is what is bursting forth and breaking out into our world. Who will join in?
Printed in Leader Magazine, Fall 2009. See http://www.leaderonline.org
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Calendar of Events:
Thursday November 26: Thanksgiving Day Potluck meal and games at the church, from 2-4PM. All are welcome. The Outreach team has invited some community members, giving us an opportunity to care for each other, and some outside our church. Please bring a covered dish.
Breakfast Sunday November 29: 9:30-10:30AM we will have a casual breakfast and time of sharing, rather than Sunday school classes.
Christmas Choir Practice: Saturday December 5, 2009. 2:30PM Note time change.
Congregational Meeting: Sunday December 6. We annually have 2 meetings at which we discuss and pass budget, discern and affirm congregational leadership, and discuss congregational life and business. Our first is after worship on December 6. We will have a soup/bread lunch before the meeting begins.
Christmas Banquet: Sunday Evening December 13!!! Put it on your calendar, and plan on a great evening of entertainment (brought to us by each other), food, and fellowship. This year we will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with special catered Birthday Cakes!! The meal will be different than previous years: the church will cater only the birthday cakes, not the main dish. Please bring main and side dishes for pot-luck, no need to bring any dessert. Connect with Margaret Gehman if you have a “talent show” item (song, skit, story: serious or lighthearted) you’d like to share with us! Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Jesus, happy birthday to you!

Leadership Discernment
Houston Mennonite Church
The Church on the Sermon on the Mount

Nomination Information (please print)
Your Name
Community Life Team member
Discipleship Team chairperson
Discipleship Team
member/s
Outreach Team
member/s
Worship Team
member/s
Stewardship Team
member/s
It is our policy to affirm by congregational vote all Team Chairpersons and all 3 members of the Community Life Ministry Team. These positions are considered to be filled by “call,” (i.e. internally), with all Team members to be volunteer positions.
Please note above if you feel called and are open to a ministry position.

Alphabet Soup: A Newcomers Guide to Mennonite Vocabulary
Joining a new church is like a cross cultural experience. New people, new traditions, new places, and new behaviors all need to be picked up on before feeling comfortable. But perhaps the most important “new experience” is the language that any group or church has that is unique to itself. Houston Mennonite is no different! We have a lot of unique aspects of our shared life together, and the speed at which visitors pick up on our idiosyncrisies dictates the speed at which they feel genuinely to be a part of our church. Let me say it slightly differently, if as a congregation we do not work to not only welcome, but also to integrate newcomers, they likely will never feel welcome in our midst.
One key example of insider Mennonite culture is what I call alphabet soup, the extravagant use of acronyms in our speech. Below is just a sampling of the acronyms we too readily toss out in our worship and print. At best, these are Mennonite shorthand for those “in the know”; at worst, they are insider secrets that work to exclude anyone not in the know from becoming “in the know.”
To our new people and visitors: we want you to not only feel welcome among us, but to integrate into the deepest levels of who we are. Forgive us if our speech ever flies over your head! And don’t hesitate to ask if you need a translation. Below is a beginners’ guide to get you started on alphabet soup.
To our members: try to remember to use language that is inclusive and understandable to all people, even the uninitiated. Always assume there is someone listening who doesn’t know anything about what you are going to say.
HMC: Houston Mennonite Church, you and me.
S&D: Sewers and Doers, group at our church that creates items for sale at the annual Texas Relief Sale.
MCC: Mennonite Central Committee, the inter-Mennonite agency for transnational development, relief, peacemaking and justice ministries.
TTV and/or “The store”: Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade store in Rice Village.
MDS: Mennonite Disaster Service, a disaster-response agency that works primarily in the US.
WDC: Western District Conference, the regional body HMC (see above) is a member of.
MCUSA: Mennonite Church USA, the national body (denomination) we are a member of.
MAM: Memorial Assistance Ministries, and ecumenical support agency about a mile from our building location.
MMN: Mennonite Mission Network, the mission agency (both domestic and international) of the MCUSA (see above).
MMA: Mennonite Mutual Aid, the financial, and insurance agency of MCUSA (see above).
HWB: Hymnal Worship Book, the big blue songbook we use most Sunday’s in worship.
SJ: Sing the Journey, the little green spiral-bound songbook we use most Sunday’s in worship.
PPT: Power Point, what we use when we project songs onto the front wall during worship.
HPJC: Houston Peace and Justice Center, a local network of peace-minded agencies in Houston.
IWJC: Interfaith Worker Justice Center, a local non-profit that works to recovery stolen wages from workers.
Caring for Each other

There continues to be a need for household items for the grandparents of some of our children who attend here weekly. Rosa, Jose, and Maria’s grandparents were evicted recently and lost all of their belongings. They could use the following items, if you have them, please connect with Peggy Campbell at (832)244-7912.
– Beds or mattresses (queen, 2 double beds for 2 teenagers)
– Dining room chairs (not table)
– Smaller needs: blender, microwave, towels &/or bath cloths, toaster, coffee pot, dish towels, bed linens.

A good time to pray for peace in Afghanistan
This is a good week to work and pray for peace in Afghanistan. The President is scheduled to announce next Tuesday (December 1) whether or not he will support a troop increase in Afghanistan. Please see your bulletin insert from Sunday for more details. Prayers, letters and phone calls are all part of being a peacemaker.
Praying without words by Marty Troyer
I have to confess, I have a love-hate relationship with sharing time during worship. Allow me to explain. I am a huge believer in prayer, and love how our sharing time symbolizes the depth of community we share as a congregation. But, on any given day of the week, I have dozens of prayer requests clamoring for my attention, not just one. These are daily life experiences I think about, pray about, or should be thinking and praying about: world issues, local issues, my neighbors, church issues, family issues, friends and congregation members issues; not to mention my own internal wrestlings that constantly accompany me on my journey! I seldom find space in my heart to carry all of these “requests” at one time. Nor am I comfortable verbalizing each and every one of them publicly. I imagine that you are the same in some ways.
This limits the prayer requests that we might, on any given Sunday, actually feel led to publicly share. Clearly the 5-20 prayer requests we hear each Sunday are but the proverbial tip of the iceberg for us. Some of you I know to be deeply committed to prayer have yet to grab the microphone and request our prayers. And, though there are many concerns we share about our congregation, we seldom verbalize these either.
So let us not limit our “prayers” to only those things which are public, or to only words. Prayer happens in many ways for us: through song, fasting, spoken or written word, silence, and ritual. It is my hope that each time you join us for worship, you are given the space you need to open up your prayers before God, and to let God have them all! Therefore, this Sunday the Community Life Ministry Team would like to open to you an ancient yet new way of praying: the lighting of a candle. You are invited to pray by lighting a candle during the worship service, inviting the light to symbolize God’s presence with you and with your concern. Beneath the cross on the front wall will be a table with many unlit candles. At a specific time, simply come forward and “pray your prayer.” We will do this while the worship leader is praying for the “joys and concerns,” her verbal prayers mixing with the scent of match and flame. At that time, silently come up and light a candle, allowing the light to be your prayer. You are welcome to light a prayer candle whether you verbally asked for prayer or not during sharing time. We assume there will be numerous folks who would like to try praying in this way, perhaps even a line will form. Be patient, and when room opens up for you, light your candle by using the flame of another. If you would like, you can even bring your own candle with you to leave on the prayer altar. We will “test drive” this form of prayer for 4-6 weeks to see if it is indeed an authentic way for Houston Mennonite Church to express our prayers to God.
Candle-prayer works well for many people, and at different times in people’s lives. Perhaps this form of embodied prayer will be more comfortable for introverts and extroverts alike, for shy people or folks not comfortable with the language of prayer, for those of us with confidential requests or prayers you just don’t have words to describe yet.
So come one and all, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to the Lord (Philippians 4:6).”
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, hmcpastor1@sbcglobal.net, 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 hmcpastor1@sbcglobal.net.

HMC E-Newsletter, November 19, 2009
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Relief Sale
To everyone who helped and/or supported with the wonderful Texas Mennonite Relief Sale last Saturday, close your eyes and:
…breathe in…
…breathe out….
…breathe in…
…breathe out….
(repeat as needed).
From Roxie Voran: Thanks to everyone who played a part in the Relief Sale last Saturday and the days leading up to it. The sale was a resounding success with a total of more than $47,000 raised for the worldwide relief, development and peacebuilding ministries of Mennonite Central Committee, all of which are carried out in the name of Christ. An event like this requires the efforts of lots and lots of people. The Sewers & Doers making crafts throughout the year; woodworkers; bakers; those who solicited donations; everyone who helped to spread the word with brochures and posters; the set-up and clean-up crews; and many, many more.

Looking ahead, if anyone has thoughts, ideas, inspirations, or questions about possible ways to improve, enlarge, or enhance the sale, please share them. And if anyone is interested in becoming more involved, you are welcome. The work of the Relief Sale is done not only with needle and thread or a table saw, but also with tools like a computer or a telephone, so we can find a place for everyone. Thanks again to all who helped and thanks to God who has blessed our efforts.
From Marty Troyer: It was remarkable to watch –for an entire year!- this congregation prepare for what amounts to our primary expression of faith: the relief sale! We sew and do, we craft and bake, we design artwork made from wood, we network with sister churches, we prep and plan, we set-up and tear down: all because we long to join with God in what the Spirit is doing around the world!
As a first-timer let me say this: every minute of work we put in to this sale would have been worthwhile had we not raised one cent. The real “value” of the sale is time spent together, Christian formation into the image of Jesus, awareness of a world beyond my home, sacrificial and creative giving, connection to an organization bigger than just our congregation, a shared project. For all of these (and the bottom line) I give thanks! Thanks to God, and thanks to each of you!
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Praying without words by Marty Troyer
I have to confess, I have a love-hate relationship with sharing time during worship. Allow me to explain. I am a huge believer in prayer, and love how our sharing time symbolizes the depth of community we share as a congregation. But, on any given day of the week, I have dozens of prayer requests clamoring for my attention, not just one. These are daily life experiences I think about, pray about, or should be thinking and praying about: world issues, local issues, my neighbors, church issues, family issues, friends and congregation members issues; not to mention my own internal wrestlings that constantly accompany me on my journey! I seldom find space in my heart to carry all of these “requests” at one time. Nor am I comfortable verbalizing each and every one of them publicly. I imagine that you are the same in some ways.
This limits the prayer requests that we might, on any given Sunday, actually feel led to publicly share. Clearly the 5-20 prayer requests we hear each Sunday are but the proverbial tip of the iceberg for us. Some of you I know to be deeply committed to prayer have yet to grab the microphone and request our prayers. And, though there are many concerns we share about our congregation, we seldom verbalize these either.
So let us not limit our “prayers” to only those things which are public, or to only words. Prayer happens in many ways for us: through song, fasting, spoken or written word, silence, and ritual. It is my hope that each time you join us for worship, you are given the space you need to open up your prayers before God, and to let God have them all! Therefore, this Sunday the Community Life Ministry Team would like to open to you an ancient yet new way of praying: the lighting of a candle. You are invited to pray by lighting a candle during the worship service, inviting the light to symbolize God’s presence with you and with your concern. Beneath the cross on the front wall will be a table with many unlit candles. At a specific time, simply come forward and “pray your prayer.” We will do this while the worship leader is praying for the “joys and concerns,” her verbal prayers mixing with the scent of match and flame. At that time, silently come up and light a candle, allowing the light to be your prayer. You are welcome to light a prayer candle whether you verbally asked for prayer or not during sharing time. We assume there will be numerous folks who would like to try praying in this way, perhaps even a line will form. Be patient, and when room opens up for you, light your candle by using the flame of another. If you would like, you can even bring your own candle with you to leave on the prayer altar. We will “test drive” this form of prayer for 4-6 weeks to see if it is indeed an authentic way for Houston Mennonite Church to express our prayers to God.
Candle-prayer works well for many people, and at different times in people’s lives. Perhaps this form of embodied prayer will be more comfortable for introverts and extroverts alike, for shy people or folks not comfortable with the language of prayer, for those of us with confidential requests or prayers you just don’t have words to describe yet.
So come one and all, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to the Lord (Philippians 4:6).”
________________________________________
Calendar of Events:
This Sunday November 22: A Celebration of all that we are thankful for. Our church Council will lead us in sharing testimonies of what they are thankful for about Houston Mennonite Church. Everyone will have a chance to share what they are thankful for at HMC, in life, to God, etc…
Reception: Following Worship there will be snacks to commemorate Pastor Marty’s first year of ministry with us. Come and join the fun!
Thursday November 26: Thanksgiving Day Potluck meal and games at the church, from 2-4PM. All are welcome. The Outreach team has invited some community members, giving us an opportunity to care for each other, and some outside our church. Please bring a covered dish.
Breakfast Sunday November 29: 9:30-10:30AM we will have a casual breakfast and time of sharing, rather than Sunday school classes.
Congregational Meeting: Sunday December 6. We annually have 2 meetings at which we discuss and pass budget, discern and affirm congregational leadership, and discuss congregational life and business. Our first is after worship on December 6. We will have a soup/bread lunch before the meeting begins.
Christmas Banquet: December 13!! Put it on your calendar, and plan on a great evening of entertainment (brought to us by each other), food, and fellowship. This year we will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with special catered Birthday Cakes!! The meal will be pot-luck, but with the yummy cakes, no need to bring any dessert. The program includes a hymn sing, and the Christmas choir. But it also might include you!! If you have a skill, talent, story, something humorous or serious you would like to contribute, start practicing! Nothing is off limits (music, drama, dance, storytelling, etc..).
Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Jesus, happy birthday to you!
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A Note From Dorothy Nickel Friesen
Dorothy seemed to have a wonderful weekend on her first trip to Houston! She was impressed with our energy, our music, the sense of celebration we shared that was centered on something other than the bottom line. She wrote me a nice note, in which she says:
“Please convey to the congregation my appreciation for their hospitality,
their conversation, their hosting, their work! It’s an impressive
weekend–not unlike a couple of congregations that I have pastored! I
hope everyone can be thankful during this season for success but, more
importantly, their Christian witness in Houston.”
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Inseparable beams of the cross
by Susan Mark Landis (Peace Advocate for Mennonite Church USA)
The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) was in so many of my Sunday school quarterlies when I was a child that one would think I’ve scrutinized every possible lesson. I got the basic one–be nice to people you meet along the way. But the wisdom of these verses is so deep that insights keep coming, year after year.
This past Sunday I preached on the vital interrelationship of love of God and love of neighbor. Jesus (and people talking about Jesus) constantly talks about both as one concept. People relationships, morality, relationship to God and physical well-being are closely related in ‘eirene’ (Greek for peace, which Jesus likely used); interdependence twines them in a way we dare not separate.
How will we know that it is true God who is born in Bethlehem? Because he has come for all people (Luke 2) and preaches Good News to the poor (Luke 4). How will people know if we are disciples of Jesus? By our love for one another (John 13:34-35). How will we know if we are parented by God? We’ll be peacemakers between people (Matthew 5:9). How important is relationship to another human and worship of God? So important that we take care of relationships before worship (Matthew 5:23-24).
How do we inherit eternal life, the lawyer asks Jesus. Love God and love neighbor. Ethics and evangelism can’t be separated. The cross reminds us: The vertical beam is our relationship to God; the horizontal our relationship to each other. Either beam alone simply isn’t a cross.
When Jesus tells this parable, in one fell swoop he embraces two ideas people have difficulty accepting or living. First, mercy is more important than holiness. In recent helps for adult Sunday school on 1 Peter, one writer claimed that Jesus never called us to be holy, only merciful. Other New Testament writers do call us to be a holy people, and our congregations must live in this tension. But if Jesus called us only to mercy, perhaps we have a sense of which side might be favored.
Secondly, Jesus reminds us that our enemy/neighbor is the person who interprets scripture differently than we do. Samaritans and Jewish people during Jesus’ time hated each other, went out of their way to not walk through the other’s villages and generally held self-righteous anger against the other–mostly because of how they practiced religion. Through the years we’ve all heard re-tellings of this story with the Good Samaritan being the hated ethnic group in our country. We also need to hear the story with the Good Samaritan being the person who interprets the Bible differently than we do, the person we’re not sure we can worship next to on Sunday morning.
No wonder Jesus tells us that the world doesn’t understand peace the way Jesus wants us as his followers to understand peace.
________________________________________
Prayer for a caring spirit
Sovereign Lord God, we recognize that
we are too often selfish, distracted and forgetful.
It is so easy for us to be that way. Why not?
Our world seems to revolve around ourselves.
But there are other people, some hurting people, needing a friend,
some looking to us, needing hope.
Needing God. They are a part of our world, too!
We are too often distracted by little things–new curtains for our bedroom, this or that game, this dress, that shirt–good things. Not that important.
O outgoing God, have mercy on us.
We too often forget about you and your purposes.
Yes, you want us to be delighted with good things, but you want us to care also about other people.
Help us to remember that your kingdom exists for everyone.
Everyone needs a home, an income, health care, justice and peace.
Help us not to get carried away with caring only about ourselves.
Help us to remember that your kingdom is bigger than us, our family,
our friends, our school, or even our church.
May your kingdom come closer now to our earth, even through us, through Jesus.
Amen.
Written by Mike Mast, retired pastor from Dalton, Ohio.
________________________________________
Order of Worship
Music Prelude
Welcome and Prayer
* Call to Worship Psalm 126
* Opening Songs
We gather together HWB # 17
Give Thanks PPT
Scripture Reading Joel 2:21-29 OT Page 848
Children’s Time (Children 0-5 dismissed for Children’s Church)
Sharing joys and concerns, and Prayer (See Announcement in bulletin)
Scripture Reading Matthew 6:25-33 NT Page 6
Song of Thanksgiving Great is Thy Faithfulness HWB #327
•Testimonies of Thanksgiving
Song of Response You are all we have SJ #29
Offertory & Prayer
Welcoming of Visitors and Announcements
* Benediction Song Now thank we all our God HWB #86
* Benediction
SJ- Sing the Journey (Green), HWB- Hymnal Worship Book (Blue).
* Please stand if comfortable when indicated by asterisk.
•This is a time to give thanks for God’s actions in our church and lives.
Thank you to the following for sharing your gifts!
Worship Leader: Judy Hoffhien; Song Leader: Jim Emmert; Accompanist: Margaret Gehman; Scripture Reader: Nthanael Vlachos; Children’s Message: Adrienne Graybill; Children’s Church: Linda Ensminger; Sound: Jim Emmert and Nick Gehman. Next Week: SL: Wilson..; CM: Washburn.; CC: Chavez.
________________________________________
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, (713)835-9436, hmcpastor1@sbcglobal.net, 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 hmcpastor1@sbcglobal.net.

November 12, 2009 Newsletter:
The Texas Relief Sale is finally upon us. http://www.texasreliefsale.org
Please be in prayer for our leaders (Roxie Voran as sale coordinator, Linda Ensminger as craft coordinator, etc…), for safe travel for everyone coming to Houston, and for people to form or strengthen relationships with each other, Mennonite Central Committee, and God’s work around the world!
Here is a schedule of weekend events:
Friday afternoon: Set-up at Holy Cross Lutheran Church corner of Wirt Road and Westview (just North of our building).
Saturday: Whether you signed up yet or not, there will be lots to both enjoy/buy, and to help/do.
8AM Set-up and prep.
9AM Doors Open.
12 Noon: Auction begins
4PM Doors Close
6PM Supper: We have arranged with Goode Company BBQ to use their upstairs room for dinner on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 6:00 pm. The room can accomodate up to 50 people. It has been kind of a tradition for many of us to gather to eat out after the Relief Sale and we’ve usually gone to Goode Co. The address is 8911 Katy Freeway, south of I-10 between Bingle/Voss and Blalock/Echo Lane. It’s a place where you go through in a line, pay for your food and then sit down.
Sunday:
NO SUNDAY SCHOOL
10:20 Choir Practice
10:35 Pre-worship meeting
10:45AM Worship: SongFest and message brought by Dorothy Nickel Friesen, Conference pastor of Western District Conference.
Snacks to follow the service.
________________________________________
For a little humor…
The 12 Days of Kitschmas
Turn on the Xmas lights, cue the mall muzak, release the elves into Santa’s grotto, stick Cliff’s “Mistletoe and Wine” on endless repeat, and welcome to Kitschmas 2008. Below is our annual list of 12 “What Would Jesus Buy?” gifts, as sourced by shipmates around the world. See days 2 to 4 to find out how kitschmas can help you get through the financial crisis!

1. Military Santa
2. Jesus piggy bank
3. Joseph home selling kit

4. Credit card rosary
5. Mormon beefcake calendar
6. Papal caganer

7. John Calvin chocolates
8. Holiday Barbie
9. Say-a-blessing!

10. Jesus shaves mug
11. Archbishop baubles
12. Nativity rubber ducks

http://www.shipoffools.com/kitschmas/2008/index.html Accessed Thursday morning Nov 12, 2009.
For better holiday gift ideas that are truly Christian, come to the Relief Sale!!
________________________________________
Thanksgiving!!!
Sunday November 22: A Celebration of all that we are thankful for. Our church Council will lead us in sharing testimonies of what they are thankful for about Houston Mennonite Church. Everyone will have a chance to share what they are thankful for at HMC, in life, to God, etc…
After Worship: Snack reception. Join us as well celebrate Pastor Marty and his family’s first year with us at the church!
Thursday November 26: Thanksgiving Day Potluck meal and games at the church, from 2-4PM. All are welcome. The Outreach team has invited some community members, giving us an opportunity to care for each other, and some outside our church. Please bring a covered dish.
________________________________________
Music Prelude
Welcome and Prayer
* Call to Worship SJ # 125
* Opening Songs
Over my Head SJ #18
Oh for a thousand tongues to sing HWB #110
Wonderful grace of Jesus HWB #150
Scripture Reading Psalm 16 OT Page 495
Relief Sale Celebration
Children’s Message or songs (Children 0-5 dismissed for Children’s Church)
New Testament Reading Hebrews 11-12:1-3 NT Page 225
Message Surrounded by Witnesses- Just who are they?
• Songs of Celebration Halle, halle hallelujah SJ #17
Offertory & Prayer
Welcoming of Visitors and Announcements
* Benediction Song Praise God from whom HWB #118
* Benediction
SJ- Sing the Journey (Green), HWB- Hymnal Worship Book (Blue).
* Please stand if comfortable when indicated by asterisk.
•This is a time for you to request celebration songs you want to sing!
________________________________________
Thank you to the following for sharing your gifts!
Message: Conference pastor of Western District, Dorothy Nickel Friesen; Worship Leader: Judy Hoffhien; Song Leader: Linda Ensminger; Accompanist: Margaret Gehman; Scripture Reader: Marty Troyer; Children’s Message: Gloria Gehman; Children’s Church: Jane McNair; Sound: Jim Emmert and Nick Gehman. Next Week: SL: Emmert..; CM: Adrienne G.; CC: Ensminger.

Welcome to Houston Dorothy Nickel Friesen!
We are honored to have Dorothy Nickel Friesen, Conference pastor of Western District Conference (WDC), as our guest and speaker this morning. Friesen has been conference pastor since 2002, and has led the conference in some extraordinary ways through troubling times. For more on our regional conference please see http://www.mennowdc.org
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 one congregation 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: http://www.mennoniteusa.org/
November 5, 2009
Coming Events
This Sunday afternoon November 8th is our annual Peppernut making party and Craft-Fair with our sister churches: Iglesia Menonita Casa del Alfarero: The Potter’s House Mennonite Church in Pasadena, and Iglesia Menonita Nueva Jerusalén: New Jerusalem Mennonite Church in North Houston. 2PM with snacks, until we’re done! Followed by a brief time of joint worship.
PEPPERNUTS! Make some dough for some dough!! If you would like to help make peppernuts for the Relief Sale, Please see the attached pdf for the recipe for peppernuts. TO BE CLEAR: You are asked to make the dough, then bring the uncooked dough to church where it will be baked as part of the party! (PS, they are actually quite yummy! Marty)
►Sunday Worship: Social Justice in the city Amos 5:21-24, Micah 2:1-2 & 6:6-8, Mark 12:35-13:3, Psalm 146. When did you fall in love with justice?
►Christmas Choir: Saturday 4:30PM.
►Adult Sunday School is beginning a Bible Study on Covenant Communities. Consider joining us Sunday!
Texas Mennonite Relief Sale November 14. Check it out at http://www.texasreliefsale.org
Volunteer form is in the foyer for sign ups. Please consider signing up to help out!
►Thanksgiving Day: 2PM Potluck Meal for us, and for community guests. If you are interested in joining us, or in helping to host, please see the sign-up sheet in the back, or talk to Judy Hoffhien.
We Have all we Need! Leadership Discernment and Development
I remember clearly one January 2009 prayer time in particular. New to our church, I was preparing a series of sermons that highlighted the core values that define Houston Mennonite. Praying in front of the picture wall at church, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the notion that we have everything we need. I was studying Paul’s assertion that “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good…you are the body of Christ, and individually members of it (1 Corinthians 12:7,27).” Wow! What an awesome message for a small church to hear, and for your new young pastor. God has poured gifts into all of us! For the common good.
We do indeed have all that we need! All the wisdom, all the faith, all the people, all the skills and gifts. God has given us who and what we need not only to sustain ourselves as an organization, but to thrive as vibrant, growing disciple-making church of Jesus Christ.

With knowledge that God has poured out gifts and with trust that God is calling people to the common good let us enter into our natural season of leadership discernment and the calling of people into ministry positions. Due to term expirations for some and moving for others, we have several key ministry positions that will be open. We need a discerning spirit to connect the right people to the right ministries. Here is a list of ministries:
Ministry Leadership Needs for 2010 and beyond:
(A& B will be filled by call from the group itself and approved by congregational consensus; D-I are volunteer positions).
1. Community Life Ministry Team member (Twila Wiens term has expired)
2. Discipleship Team chairperson (Frances Chavez term has expired)
3. Additional Discipleship Team member or members
4. Additional Worship Team member or members
5. Additional Outreach Team member or members
6. Additional Stewardship Team member or members
7. Sewers and Doers coordinator/s to replace Linda Ensminger
8. Sunday School teacher and/or teachers
9. Musicians for worship
We are inviting you to:
1. Join us in prayer. Please invest in praying for these ministries, the people who currently serve, wisdom in calling and appointing new leaders, and God’s blessing on our shared work! You are invited to name each of the ministries above, and to pray through our church directory, asking for God’s will to be done.
2. Consider your own calling. Please ask yourself, How is God calling me to express my faith? Do I have gifts and skills that our church would be blessed by? How do I want to participate more fully in some of the exciting things taking place at our church? Please consider how you are being called to minister in the coming year, and talk with pastor Marty or a Team leader about volunteering your time and talents.
Do you believe with me that we have all we need? Then let’s give thanks for what we have today, and celebrate what will be tomorrow!
Mennonite Central Committee Giving Projects for the Relief Sale
Since when is helping people around the world this much fun?
Each year in Canada and the United States, thousands of volunteers come together to raise money for MCC for the relief of suffering in the world. Over $5.5million was raised in 2007 with an average of 85 percent sent to the field.
Over the last 20 years Houston Mennonite Church has done this. We have shared our gifts and helped change the world. The Texas Relief Sale has raised over $600,000 in those 20 years, and will provide opportunity for giving November 14, 2009. Included in this pamphlet are the three Mennonite Central Committee projects Texas Relief Sale proceeds will benefit. Please see http://www.mcc.org for more information.
Project #1: Penny Power
Food – The world produces enough food for everyone, yet millions go hungry everyday. MCC Penny Power helps hungry people have food for today, grow food for tomorrow and share food for all.
Two places that will benefit from Penny Power this year include Tanzania and North Korea. In Tanzania, Africa a drought, combined with the effects of HIV/AIDS left many communities and orphans in need of food. In North Korea, Asia less than 20% of the land is farmable and does not produce enough to feed the countries 22 million people.
Our goal for Penny Power collection in 2009 is $500,000 US for all US Relief Sales. HMC has thus far raised $400for Penny Power in 2009!
Project #2: Congo: Menno Santé
Menno-Santé (Mennonite Health), is a multi year campaign to revitalize Mennonite hospitals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Your contribution will support hospitals with aging facilities and few resources.
Nearly two decades of war, economic hardships and the departure of foreign missionaries, who once provided a steady stream of funds and supplies from abroad, have taken a serious toll on the hospitals.
Menno-Santé is focused on building the capacity of the hospitals through the provision of essential medications and supplies and training for hospital staff. Support from MCC offers renewed hope to doctors and nurses who work in the hospitals. People who live in the region are thankful for improved access to health care and medicines.
MCC is seeking to raise a total of $630,000 in the multi-year campaign: $140,000 is needed each fiscal year 2009 through 2013. $28 pays for the daily medications sold at a hospital pharmacy. $500 helps maintain stable salaries for hospital management staff for one month. $1,500 provides transportation ( a driver, a reliable vehicle and a mechanic) and delivery for three months supply of medications to a rural hospital.
Project #3: Asia Disasters
MCC has committed $250,000 and is appealing for donations to assist people in South Asia whose homes and lives were devastated by recent earthquakes and flooding. Recent typhoons and earthquakes have killed thousands and left millions displaced. Your contribution will help provide immediate shelter, food and other emergency supplies to people in Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam.
In Indonesia, MCC will rebuild homes in the village of Guci, where about 95 percent of the homes were destroyed, and in the city of Padang. MCC’s partner, Mennonite Diakonial Service, is currently providing health care, trauma healing exercises and locally purchased relief packets of food and other necessities. Mennonite Diakonial Service is the disaster response arm of the Gereja Kristen Muria Indonesia, the Muria Mennonite Synod.
In addition to this appeal, MCC is contributing $500,000 Cdn., or $480,000 U.S., from its account at the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, raising MCC’s total relief effort to $760,000 Cdn., or $730,000 U.S.
Money from the Canadian Foodgrains Bank will buy about 1,000 metric tons of rice, which will be distributed by MCC partner Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action in a food-for-work program for longer-term projects, including repairing huts and houses, de-silting agricultural land, cleaning wells and repairing roads.
ORDER OF WORSHIP November 8, 2009
Music Prelude
Welcome and Prayer
* Call to Worship Psalm 146 HWB # 825
* Opening Songs
Where cross the crowded ways HWB # 405
Longing for Light SJ #54
Scripture Reading Micah 2:1-2, 6:-68 OT Page 862 & 866
Children’s Message (Children 0-5 dismissed for Children’s Church)
Sharing of Joys and Concerns
Gospel Reading Mark 12:38-44 NT Page 49
Preparation Song Micah 6:8 PPT
Message
Song of Response Slowly Turning SJ #23
Sermon Reflections
Offertory & Prayer
Welcoming of Visitors and Announcements
* Benediction Song When the Church Insert
* Benediction
SJ- Sing the Journey (Green), HWB- Hymnal Worship Book (Blue).
* Please stand if comfortable when indicated by asterisk.
Thank you to the following for sharing your gifts!
Worship Leader: Judy Hoffhien; Song Leader: Linda Ensminger; Accompanist: Linda Washburn; Scripture Reader: Kristen Graber; Children’s Message: Jane McNair; Children’s Church: Wilson; Sound: Jim Emmert and Nick Gehman. Next Week: SL: Linda E..; CC: McNair; CM: Wilson.

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