Dear HMC, Here is this week’s E-Newsletter below and attached. In this edition you’ll find info on our new missionaries, an article about why we have the scriptures we do, various articles, and much more!

HMC E-Newsletter March 4, 2010
________________________________________
Hesston College Student Pickup:
If you are hosting one or more Hesston College Students this Saturday night, please remember to pick them up!! They are coming this Saturday night, 8:30PM at Houston Mennonite. Please be at church at 8PM to pick up your guest/s. Then have them fed (and I assume bathed) and returned to church Sunday morning. They can come to SS with you, or come to church if you don’t come to SS.

See below for info on their MDS project.
________________________________________MISSIONS: Introducing Gamaliel and Amanda Falla
ON Sunday afternoon February 28th, we decided to build an on-going relationship with Gamaliel and Amanda Falla, missionaries in Barranquilla Columbia. For more information on their ministry see below.
Please note that the intent of Sunday’s decision was to create an ongoing relationship that flows in both directions, and goes much deeper than financial support. In fact, finances should be only one small way we support and relate to our new friends, the Fallas, perhaps even the least important. Prayer, correspondence, visits, encouragement and learning, etc… All are equally important!
You are welcome to make donations to any of the 3 mission projects we heard about Sunday through this Sunday March 7th. After Sunday, only donations for the Fallas will be accepted. All other funds will go into our general budget.
MISSIONARY

Names: Gamaliel and Amanda Falla
Location: Barranquilla, COLOMBIA
Term Start Date: 12/23/1996
Home Congregations: Iglesia Menonita Encuentro de Renovacion, Miami, FL
Ministry
Amanda and Gamaliel began working in Barranquilla, Colombia, in 2002 to develop a new congregation and consolidate the emerging Caribbean Coast region of the Colombian Mennonite Church. Their current role has a strong focus on leadership training and support for the growing congregation in Barranquilla in developing holistic ministries and new church plants around the city. They also support regional church initiatives in cities like Riohacha, Sahagún, Sincelejo and Montería.
Overview
Along with Ecuador and Venezuela, Colombia emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830. It is a country of significant natural resources, and has a diverse culture reflecting the indigenous Indian, Spanish and African origins of its people. One of the continent’s most populous nations, Colombia is endowed with substantial oil reserves and is a major producer of gold, silver, emeralds, platinum and coal. The country has been ravaged by a decades-long violent conflict, involving guerrilla insurgencies, drug cartels and gross violations of human rights. Colombia has the world’s highest kidnap rate, which together with the political violence has made Colombia one of the most violent countries in the world.
History
The Colombia Mennonite Church (IMCOL) developed from the work of General Conference Mennonite church missionaries who arrived in Colombia in 1945. IMCOL is blessed with leadership that moves ahead with hope despite the upheavals and violence in the nation. The national church ministries include mission and evangelism, leadership training, a seminary, a home for the elderly, a peace and justice center, a relief/development agency, a school and a retreat center. IMCOL is a leader in inter-church peace efforts within the country.

________________________________________Be transformed: How Scripture functions at HMC, Part 1
By Marty Troyer

In the infamous words of a recent film hero, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.” Would it be fair and accurate to say the same about our Sunday worship? In other words, is our worship, its themes, rituals, texts and sermons random, or is there an order to it all. Someone must be choosing these texts and themes, right? But who is it, and why choose what is being chosen? These next several weeks I’d like to open the curtain and show you how scripture functions in our congregation. Along the way you’ll see how it is decided what texts and themes we worship with each Sunday, how the living scripture calls us to enter the story of Jesus, and a glimpse at how to read/study the text.
Of primary importance for us is the central place that Jesus Christ has in our life. For it is through the written word of God that we come to know the living word of God in our lives and world. Scripture functions to form us into the image of Christ. How does this happen?
First, we are formed by celebrating the Christian year, or what many know as the Liturgical year. The liturgical year invites us year after year to enter the story of Jesus from birth to death, following him and listening in to each message, glimpsing every relationship. At any given point in the normal civil calendar, there is a corresponding point in the liturgical calendar. It begins by anticipating the birth of Christ, and climaxes in the celebration of his resurrection. But the entire year is a feasting on the story of Jesus. The liturgical year, according to Joan Chittister, “sets out to attune the life of the Christian to the life of Jesus, the Christ. It proposes, year after year, to immerse us over and over again into the sense and substance of the Christian life until, eventually, we become what we say we are – followers of Jesus all the way to the heart of God. The liturgical year is an adventure in human growth, an exercise in spiritual ripening.”
Second, we center ourselves on Christ by connecting to an ancient Christian reading plan known as the Lectionary. Over the course of three years, congregations who use lectionary will encounter the vast majority of Biblical texts together, a healthy balanced diet. I liken the lectionary to eating at a great restaurant, only you don’t get to choose what you order- they simply bring you the food. There are 4 texts for each Sunday of the year: one each from the Old Testament, Psalms, Gospels, and New Testament. The lectionary texts for this coming Sunday are: Isaiah 55:1-9, Psalm 63:1-8, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13, and Luke 13:1-9. Using the lectionary highlights our relationship with the broader Christian community, and is intrinsically Christ-like by being in very nature relational. By having 4 texts, the lectionary is itself a dialogue, and invites us to be, like Christ, people who dialogue. Though we typically do utilize the lectionary, at times we stray, but always with intent and discernment from our leaders. Why stray?. Straying allows us to marinate more deeply in texts (our recent series on the Love of God) or to highlight God’s specific call on our community (last year’s series on HMC’s core values).
Third, we profess our Christ-centered reality by literally and symbolically placing a large Bible at the very center of our worshipping community. From this we read our Biblical texts, and I use it as the Bible I preach from each Sunday.
Fourth, Scripture forms us as we listen each Sunday to the ancient texts being read. We typically read three texts each Sunday, a Psalm as call to worship, the gospel, and either the OT or NT text. And, while there are many great and interesting things for us to talk about, perhaps you’ve noticed that sermons at HMC are distinctly centered on scripture. It is overwhelmingly important for us to hear these ancient words, over and over again, if ever we dare hope to be transformed. And so this Lenten season, we have encouraged everyone to read or listen to the entire New Testament. No small task! But a necessary one if indeed we genuinely mean what we say, that we are being transformed. How is your own reading plan going?
Fifth, our children’s and adults education classes that happen every Sunday morning focus on study of scripture and personal formation. Our primary curriculum is called Gather Round. “Through Bible-based sessions for ages three through adult, Gather ’Round offers learners the opportunity to know and love God. Learners respond to Bible stories with drama, music, arts and crafts, games, reflection, and worship.” All are invited.
To answer the question above, let me say “No!” It’s not accurate to say our worship is a box of chocolates. We do know what we’re getting, and more importantly, why. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds,” says Paul. Only with a Christ-centered focus on scripture is this possible. So let us be filled with courage to know we are part of a powerful ancient tradition centered on the life and teachings of Jesus. We are not alone! So pick up your written or Mp3 New Testament, and enter the story.
Stay tuned for Part 2 next week.
________________________________________Connecting More Fully at HMC:
►Don’t forget to check your church mailbox! If you are new and would like a mailbox at church, please let Marty know. Thanks.
►Sewers and Doers This Saturday: Come this Saturday morning and work for world relief and development! In preparation for our annual Mennonite Relief Sale (November), we prepare items for auction and sale. All proceeds go to Mennonite Central Committee.
►PEACE FESTIVAL Where: Live Oak Friends Meeting, 1318 W. 26th St When: Saturday, March 6th • 1:00PM – 8:00PM What: A day of celebration and fun for peace-minded folks, for families and people of all ages!. Check it out! Live Music by Zachary Ford, Tyagaraja, listenlisten, Much Love, Spain Colored Orange, Electric Attitude, Lapel, Macy McKinzie, Meghan Miller, Jordan Cervantez, and Micah Lamb
Dance performance by Dancepatheater and Brazilian Arts Foundation
Vendors & artists selling their merchandise/works (vendors/artists interested in a table,
Let’s support our partners in peace by attending and having a good time!
►Doug Ensminger will speak this Sunday: Doug Ensminger, husband of our very own Linda Ensminger, will bring the morning message this Sunday. He will speak from Isaiah 55:1-11 and Luke 13:1-9. For many years Doug was pastor of congregations in the Presbyterian Church, including Central Presbyterian in Houston. Currently Doug is director of chaplaincy services at the VA hospital in Houston, where he is responsible for co-ordinating spiritual and pastoral care for 450 bed hospital serving 90,000 veterans. Doug has preached at HMC many times since driving past our building 15 years ago and wondering aloud with Linda, “I wonder if we might just be Mennonites?”
►Blessing the Brooms Ceremony: Meet Downtown, Jones Plaza Wednesday March 17th 4-5PM. The Justice for Janitors campaign is in full swing in Houston. The contract for local janitors has expired, and they are looking for a new contract with employers that provides a living wage, safe working conditions, etc…
Pastor Marty will participate in this event as a faith leader, along with Archbishop Fiorenza and others.
►Ten Thousand Villages Sunday: Ten Thousand Villages is a fair trade store in Rice Village, 2424 Rice Blvd Ste A. Consider shopping or volunteering at TTV as an expression of your faith. We do! http://www.villageshouston.org________________________________________ Lenten Schedule
►Learning Christ by reading and/or listening to the New Testament. Mp3 copies of the NT are available the next several Sundays in English and Spanish, children’s and adult.
►Wednesday Nights: The Journey A mid-week small group gathering to share life, prayer, and reflect on Lenten scripture texts. 7PM Wednesdays at Houston Mennonite Church. Pack your Bible and perhaps a journal. Travel companions provided. Why stumble alone when you can walk together? Come share the Journey! ‘Come to me, all who are weary and in need of rest.’ Jesus
►Maunday Thursday: Thursday April 1, 6:30-8PM.
►Good Friday: Friday April 2, 7PM Tennebrae Service of Shadows.
►Easter: Sunday April 4.
Lenten Practices
You are encouraged to either pick up or let go of something this Lenten season, as a spiritual symbol of your walk with God. Check out the worship tab of our website for suggestions, or consider joining us for this collective practice:
Read and/or listen to the New Testament. We invite you to “work out” your faith this Lenten season by listening to or reading the entire New Testament through the 40 days of Lent. Mp3 copies of the NT will be available the next several Sundays, for those who want to listen. Bible Reading guides will be available for those who want to read (also below). Of course, you can do a bit of both. The January 10th sermon talked about “making the impossible possible” by training ourselves to practice what we want to become. Make sure to pick up your copy of the NT on CD this Sunday: available in English, Spanish, adult and children’s.
To download free copies of the New Testament in various translations, languages, and drama or non-drama formats, check out: http://www.faithcomesbyhearing.com/ambassador/free-audio-bible-download
To purchase a $29 listening device called a “Bible Stick” see http://www.faithcomesbyhearing.com/store/languageconfig

Day 1 – Matt. 1-7
Day 2 – Matt. 8-12
Day 3 – Matt. 13-18
Day 4 – Matt. 19-24
Day 5 – Matt. 25-28
Day 6 – Mark 1-6
Day 7 – Mark 7-11
Day 8 – Mark 12-16
Day 9 – Luke 1-4
Day 10 – Luke 5-9
Day 11 – Luke 10-13
Day 12 – Luke 14-19
Day 13 – Luke 20-24
Day 14 – John 1-5
Day 15 – John 6-9
Day 16 – John 10-14
Day 17 – John 15-19
Day 18 – John 20-Acts 4
Day 19 – Acts 5-9
Day 20 – Acts 10-15
Day 21 – Acts 16-20
Day 22 – Acts 21-26
Day 23 – Acts 27-Rom. 4
Day 24 – Rom. 5-10
Day 25 – Rom. 11-I Cor. 1
Day 26 – I Cor. 2-9
Day 27 – I Cor. 10-15
Day 28 – I Cor. 16-II Cor. 9
Day 29 – II Cor. 10-Gal. 4
Day 30 – Gal. 5-Phil. 1
Day 31 – Phil. 2-I Thes. 2
Day 32 – I Thes. 3-I Tim. 5
Day 33 – I Tim. 6-Heb. 1
Day 34 – Heb. 2-10
Day 35 – Heb. 11-James 5
Day 36 – I Pet. 1-I John 1
Day 37 – I John 2-Jude
Day 38 – Rev. 1-7
Day 39 – Rev. 8-15
Day 40 – Rev. 16-22

________________________________________College Students Serving with Mennonite Disaster Service in New Iberia, LA
Disaster Description
New Iberia is a large town in the midst of an agricultural region of southern Louisiana. It also services the off shore oil industry. This area is flat land and rises very gradually from the coastline.
Hurricane Rita came onshore September 24, 2005 bringing only minor wind and rain damage. However, six hours after the storm had passed, an 11-foot tidal surge that had build up in the Gulf came on shore. Because of the flat land that gradually rises from the coast, houses as far as 30 miles inland were flooded, damaging the contents and the interior structures. MDS began a project site in new Iberia in January of 2006 and left the area the end of February, 2007.
New Iberia was affected by two more hurricanes in the 2008 hurricane season. Gustav came onshore on the Louisiana coastline on September 1, 2008. Although Gustav’s impact wasn’t as bad as expected, New Iberia experienced some flooding, wind damage and power outages. A little over a week later, Hurricane Ike hit with a storm surge reminiscent of Rita’s. Many homes were damaged all over again.
MDS returned to New Iberia in the winter of 2009 and rebuild three homes. A Partnership Home Program house was completed also. MDS Partnered with Southern Mutual Help Association and volunteers stayed at the Four Corners Community Development Center in Franklin.
________________________________________The following article is from the new Executive Director of Mennonite Church USA. It was originally part of the March Equipping packet for congregational leaders.
SERVING ON PURPOSE
By Ervin Stutzman
I am writing this shortly after the start of the winter Olympics in Vancouver. It is awe inspiring to see highly-disciplined athletes compete.
It was likely this same sense of awe that prompted the Apostle Paul to make reference to the world of sports. See for example I Corinthians 9:24-27, I Timothy 4:7b-8; Philippians 3:13-14; Colossians 1:28-29. Why did Paul use these analogies? Was it because people in his day loved sports and he thought these illustrations would grab their attention?
Perhaps. But I think there is a deeper reason. I think Paul saw something in these athletes that gripped him to the core. He couldn’t help but notice their drive, their focus, their self-discipline, and their determination to reach a goal. Paul likely thought of himself as an Olympic athlete of sorts, except that he was contending for a different sort of crown – one that was waiting for him in heaven.
I wonder if Paul may actually have witnessed runners in the Olympic games of his day. Perhaps as a boy he wriggled his way up to the racetrack, watching wide-eyed as runners strained toward the finish line. Perhaps he himself threw off his cloak and raced against his schoolmates, pushing himself until his legs felt like noodles and his lungs screamed for air.
You can hardly read Paul’s letters without sensing a very strong drive and spirit of competition. He writes with determination and force, and he tells about his own high level of discipline and energy.
And even though he admits he is a bit crazy for doing so, in 2 Corinthians chapter 11 he makes a long list of his efforts and achievements. He compares himself with those acclaimed to be “super-apostles” by claiming that he has worked “much harder” than they.
But Paul’s efforts and achievements are only half the story. Paul faced bitter disappointments and setbacks that brought him to the end of his own resources. Nothing vexed him more than his inability to persuade his fellow Jews to embrace Christian faith.
Paul faced the ire of not only his fellow Jews but also the cold, hard edge of the Roman judicial system. He was maligned, beaten, flogged, stoned, and imprisoned. The persecution and other hard times that he and other Christians endured are the backdrop for the well-loved passage in Romans 8:28-39.After having reflected on suffering in an earlier part of the chapter, Paul makes the case for hope. He looks at the matter from God’s perspective.
Paul lived with a strong sense of being chosen by God, of being called into alignment with God’s sovereign purpose. Especially in difficult times, God’s purpose may be shrouded in mystery and seemingly impossible to discern or comprehend. Yet Paul wants us to rest assured that God is always at work for the good, in keeping with God’s grand purpose in the world.
Those of us who have responded to God’s call need never worry about being separated from God. Paul assures us that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord. All the trouble in the world can’t tear us away from God’s loving care.
However, seeing God’s hand stretched out over the whole of human history does not preclude the need for diligent human effort. We are called to seek for God’s purpose through our prayers and petitions, and then throw ourselves fully into living out God’s purpose as we perceive it.
We see in Paul’s life the dynamic interplay between God’s initiative and human effort. As philosopher Elton Trueblood once put it, joining with God’s mighty purpose is the way our “little lives are dignified.” God’s gracious initiative, together with our response, brings us hope in the midst of trouble.
As leaders in the church, we must be particularly alert to God’s work in the world. By God’s grace and enablement, let us align ourselves with God’s purposes and pursue that course with all of the energy God has given us. May God enable us to do so.
Ervin Stutzman is the Executive Director for Mennonite Church USA
________________________________________ Drinking our Theology: Fair Trade Coffee
Did you know your Sunday morning coffee expresses our faith and furthers our mission in the world? Yep, HMC buys only fair trade, and all of it coffee from Ten Thousand Villages. It’s grown and roasted in Columbia (coincidence? I think not!) by farmers who receive a living wage for their coffee. The brand, called Level Ground Trading, “envisions a world wherein lifestyles are simpler, relationships are deeper and justice is inherent in each exchange. We remain focused on Direct Fair Trade through dialogue with producers, payment of a fair price, respect for the environment and transparency in the marketplace. Their mission is “to trade fairly and directly with small scale producers in developing countries and to market their products offering our customers ethical choices.” Drink your theology by shopping at Ten Thousand Villages in Rice Village, 2424 Rice Blvd Ste A, or check out levelground.com.
________________________________________
March Western District Conference Memo
Can be found in your church mailbox and at: http://www.mennowdc.org/2010-03-Memo.pdf
________________________________________Death Penalty Awareness Week: We kill innocent people!!!
Below is a great article highlighting the ongoing need to bring the death penalty to an end in our country and state. For more on what Mennonite’s and Houston Mennonite thinks on this issue, check out our church webpage dedicated to this issue at: http://houstonpeaceandjustice.wordpress.com/death-penalty/

Since the 1976 national upholding of capital punishment laws, 139 people have been wrongfully convicted and condemned to execution for a crime they did not commit. That’s 139 stories of trauma and torture. They are 139 stories of cruelty and suffering, of human error when the stakes were most critical. That number — 139 — represents one innocent person for every eight executions carried out in the U.S.

To read the entire article by Andrea Woods, check out: http://blog.sojo.net/2010/03/03/we-sentence-innocent-people-to-their-deaths/
________________________________________Peace and Justice Support Network (PJSN) on Facebook
Stay current on peace and justice happenings. Become a fan of the Peace and Justice Support Network!
Also, check out their webpage at: http://peace.mennolink.org/ ________________________________________
Radical Spirituality –
Excerpt from Convivencia Radical: Espiritualidad para el siglo xvi, Ediciones Kairós, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2007, by John Driver. Translated by John Driver.
In the face of the great variety of Christian Spiritualities that we have noted, some of which are frankly inadequate and even deformed, it is absolutely indispensable that we return to our roots in Jesus and the Community inspired by his Spirit in the First Century in order to re-orient our own Spiritualities.
In marked contrast to many of our traditional Spiritualities, the Bible does not allow those distinctions we make between the inner and the outer, between the spiritual and the material, between believing and doing. The Community in which Mother Theresa of Calcutta participated is an example of a Christian Spirituality that can claim authenticity. To touch the untouchables was, for her and her sisters, to touch the Body of Christ. To love in her utterly unselfish way was, for her, to pray. She did not stop praying to serve, nor did she stop serving to pray. Authentic Spirituality is all embracing.
The cross of Jesus is the clearest model for a Spirituality that is authentically Christian. It is, at once, a sign of absolute identification with the God and of solidarity with humanity. In the cross, the Spirit of Jesus is reflected most clearly. This is the Spirituality that his disciples are called to assume. The cross is at one and the same time the most eloquent prayer of intercession to the Father on behalf of humanity, and the clearest and the most powerful response of God to the powers of evil. Therefore, in the cross of Jesus, and in that of his followers, we find reflected the very essence of our Christian Spirituality.

A truly authentic Christian Spirituality will not be amorphous. It takes forms that are truly palpable and salvific. It can be defined as the process of following Jesus Christ under the inspiration of the Spirit in the context of communion within the Messianic Community. For this reason, Christian Spirituality is Trinitarian: it is lived in absolute dependence on God, the Father, oriented in following Jesus, and lived under the impulse and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

A fully Christian Spirituality, like that which we see reflected in the primitive Messianic Community, is, above all else, rooted in God’s grace and concretely expressed in the following of Jesus. This will mean that our entire life is lived in the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ Himself. An authentic Christian Spirituality will be nourished and shared in the context of the Community of the Living Christ. The very idea of a “solitary saint” is an anomaly from the Biblical perspective. Finally, a fully Christian Spirituality will be incarnated in mission, in God’s mission in the world carried out with unique clarity and power by Jesus of Nazareth, as he lived under the impulse and inspiration of God’s Spirit.

For those of us who share the radical Anabaptist tradition, it is especially interesting to note the points of coincidence between the Sixteenth-Century Anabaptists and the Spirituality of the Primitive Christian Community in the First Century. The same could be said of the heirs of other Christian traditions, equally radical in their Spirituality rooted in Jesus Christ and in the First-Century Messianic Community.

The Spirituality that characterized the Anabaptist Movement depended on the powerful intervention of the Spirit of the risen Christ. But what distinguished the Anabaptists most from other traditions was undoubtedly their ecclesiological understandings and practices. Participation in the Christian Community was of fundamental importance. The richness and variety of the dimensions of this participation were reflected in the four symbols of community that marked their essentially corporate Spirituality.

In baptism the Anabaptists committed themselves to following Christ, to “walk in the resurrection” and to live in “the obedience of faith”, as they themselves confessed. But furthermore, they saw themselves as fully commissioned to participate in God’s mission in the world. And in marked contrast with other traditions, this was the privilege of all, not simply of the clergy. In baptism, Anabaptists also committed themselves to receive and to offer fraternal counsel according to “the rule of Christ” (Mt 18:15-20), and to help one another with their needs, material as well as spiritual. In their celebration of the Lord’s Supper Anabaptists renewed their vows to follow Jesus, even to the point of laying down their very life for their fellow humans, just as Jesus had done.

In their Christology, they confessed that Jesus was not only to be revered as a “Savior who dies” or as the “coming Judge”, but also as the “Lord to be followed” in their daily life. Their Spirituality was marked by this vision. Their participation in the Reign of God, in which Jesus was already Lord, led the Anabaptists to adopt a Spirituality characterized by justice and peace, just as these had been proclaimed and practiced by Jesus. All of this led the Anabaptists to embrace, to a remarkable degree for their time, a Spirituality marked by the missional vocation implied in their understanding of baptism.

The spiritual heirs of the Anabaptists of the Sixteenth-Century Radical Reformation certainly have no monopoly on this kind of Spirituality. All who form part of the Lord’s vineyard have contributions to make toward a recovery of the kind of Christian Spirituality that we saw reflected in the life of the Primitive Community in the First Century. Neither orthodoxy nor heterodoxy is automatically passed on from one generation to another. Therefore every new generation is given the opportunity and the responsibility to again engage in mutual dialogue in their search for the new forms that an authentically Christian Spirituality will take in their midst.

In the sense that Christian Spirituality consists of following Jesus of Nazareth under the impulse of the Spirit, there is just one Spirituality. However, in the sense that Christians seek to follow Jesus, each in his or her own particular historical context, there can be a diversity of Christian Spiritualities. These differences are found in the variety of historical, geographical and cultural settings in which their discipleship is practiced.

The Spiritualities of all, without exception, can be enriched, thank God, through the contributions of brothers and sisters who participate in other traditions. Undoubtedly, the essential elements of authentic Spirituality that we have noted in Jesus and in the primitive community will be of lasting validity. Among other things they will include: a vital pneumatology, a corporate communal ecclesiology that is truly transforming, a Christology and soteriology that are truly saving – reconciling us with God and with our fellow humans, even our adversaries -, communal relationships marked by the justice and peace that characterize life under God’s Reign. This is the restored communion of the new creation that we proclaim in both deed and in word in the missional vocation that we share.

This article by John Driver was accessed on March 4th, 2010, at: http://peace.mennolink.org/resources/radicalspirituality.html
________________________________________MAM to Host Taste of Spring Branch

Savor the flavors at the first Taste of Spring Branch hosted by Memorial Assistance Ministries (MAM) Sunday, April 25th. Restaurants in the Spring Branch area will offer a sampling of their specialties from 4 to 6 p.m. at MAM located at 1625 Blalock Road, Houston, one block north of Long Point.

Restaurants slated to participate include: Blue Planet Café, Old Towne Kolaches, Chocolate Pizzazz, Ashland House Restaurant, Russo’s New York Pizzeria, Polonia and Silver Eagle Distributors, plus others. Beginning April 1, tickets for $20 each can be purchased at MAM or on MAM’s website, http://www.helpherehelpnow.org. Tickets purchased on the day of the event will be $25. “This is a great opportunity for friends to try new places in town,” said Martha Macris, Executive Director at MAM, “and discover some hidden treasures in the area all right here at MAM.”

All ticket proceeds will benefit MAM Emergency Assistance Programs. MAM serves the Spring Branch area in a variety of ways, including rent assistance to prevent homelessness, utility help to avoid cut off or restore service and limited medical and prescription assistance. MAM also works closely with Spring Branch ISD with uniforms for school and eyeglasses. Recently, MAM has expanded their Employment Services program to provide computer classes, job coaching with mock interviews and partnerships with area businesses. MAM also offers GED classes and day and evening English as a Second Language classes. MAM is a section 501© (3) non-profit organization. For more information call 713 574-7540.
________________________________________YOU ARE INVITED to SUNDAY SCHOOL:
You and your friends are invited to join us for our Sunday School programs for people of all ages. 9:30AM each and every Sunday!

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

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

________________________________________
Housing Needed
Relatives of former member Linda Kandel will be spending 11 weeks in Houston starting June 7 and are looking for temporary housing. A studio apt or even a room and bath would be o.k. Linda says this about her niece and the husband: Justin is doing a human resources internship with Shell Oil on Fannin. He is a grad student at University of IL. Kirsten would be interested in finding something to do , work or volunteer. Justin and Kirsten are very neat young people. He is outgoing with lots of energy, she is creative and more shy. They are liberal Apostolic Christian, which is my background, and very interested in peace and justice. They are looking into missions and have visited Sierra Leone for a possible place. Justin and Kirsten plan to join us for worship this summer when they can.
If anyone in the congregation has or knows of anything available please contact Linda Kandel or Pastor Marty.
________________________________________Order of Worship March 7, 2010
Do you know of someone who would benefit from hearing that there are things in life worth holding on to other than stuff, and that it might be time to let go of something? Consider inviting them to church. Here’s one way that might feel more comfortable to you and them: Tell them something your faith helped you to let go of, and tell them about our church Lenten theme. Let them know where and when we meet. Tell them to check us out online for themselves, so they know what they are getting into before they come. Try it, it might be just what they need!
GATHERING
Prelude
Welcome
* Call to Worship
* Opening Prayer
* Opening Songs
Fill my cup Insert
As the deer PPT

HOLDING ON
Scripture Reading Isaiah 55:1-11 OT Pg 685
Children’s Time (Children 1-5 dismissed for Children’s Church)
Sharing joys and concerns, Prayer
Affirmation of Faith HWB #715
Scripture Reading Luke 13:1-9 NT Pg 76
Message
LETTING GO
Prayer of Confession
Song of Response Jesus, Rock of Ages HWB #515
• Communion
Offering & Prayer
SENDING
Welcoming of Visitors and Announcements
* Benediction Song The Love of God SJ #44
* Benediction
* Please stand if comfortable when indicated by asterisk.
SJ- Sing the Journey (Green) HWB- Hymnal Worship Book (Blue).
• Communion: Houston Mennonite Church celebrates an open communion. All people (members and visitors) who follow or long to follow Jesus are invited to pray and celebrate with us at the Lord’s table.

Thank you to the following for sharing your gifts!
Worship Leader: Gloria Wilson; Song Leader: Margaret Gehman; Scripture Reader: Roxie Voran; Children’s Message: Jane McNair; Children’s Church: Linda Ensminger; Speaker: Doug Ensminger; Accompanist: Linda Washburn; Sound: Jim Emmert and Nick Gehman.
________________________________________Trustee Found!!
Good news! A member of the congregation has taken over the custodianship of the accounts for minors for Maria Pena, Rosa Betencourt, and Jose Pena. Thanks to God and thanks to the custodian!

Peggy Campbell
________________________________________Call for Pitches
We at Houston Mennonite Church publish an equal opportunity Newsletter. We’d love to have your input in our newsletter. I’m not biased or anything, but I think you should consider including a piece for us to read. Suggestions include: a personal reflection on your faith journey, the death penalty, the wars we’re still fighting, immigration, parenting, creation care, updates on another issue dear to your heart, a look at Houston life and politics, a poem, a historical piece, what it feels like for you to tithe, a skill-based article (pastoral care, hospitality, teaching, etc…), your dreams for our church, a recipe from your pot-luck dish. You write it, we’ll publish it.
With all the technology and media we have today, let’s practice our Anabaptist heritage of everyone having a voice!
Special thanks to Linda Ensminger for her piece below! Stay tuned next week for more offerings from each other!!

________________________________________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.

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