HMC E-Newsletter November 24, 2011

Surviving Black Friday?
Mennonite Central Committee Christmas Giving
Share the joy of Christmas with others around the world.  Begin a new tradition by selecting a gift from MCC.  Simple gifts make a big difference.
The gift of water helps to bring a valuable, life-giving resource closer to the people who need it most.  The gift of livestock does more than provide an animal.  It gives families and communities the power to improve their own lives. Explore all the MCC gift options and discover more ways to share the joy at or make checks payable to MCC and send them to MCC Central States PO Box 235 North Newton, KS 67117.

Connecting More Fully at HMC:
►November 24: Community Thanksgiving Meal at the church on Thursday, Nov. 24 at 1:00. Turkey and stuffing provided, please bring a side dish and invite some friends to be a part of this special holiday time.

►Fellowship Meal Sunday: Potluck for all!

December 5: Congregational Meetings:

Sunday December 5, 1PM. Annual Business meeting, Part 1.
Sunday January 15, 1PM Annual Business meeting, Part 2.

December 11: Christmas Banquet: HMC’s annual Christmas banquet will be held on Sunday, December 11 in the evening.  It is followed by the Christmas program, consisting of musical and dramatic pieces performed by members of the congregation.  Please begin thinking about what you would like to do, and let a member of the worship team know.
December 18: Christmas in the Park: area churches coming together to host a huge outdoor “Stations of the Nativity” at Spring Valley Park on Campbell at I-10 (just west of us). HMC will be hosting the refreshments. Sign up’s coming to help out with this event.

Christmas is coming to HMC: We’re collecting blankets, sleeping bags, coats and other winter clothing for the homeless for the next 6 weeks. Please place donated items in the blue box or see Judy Hoffhien. This is a great time to clean out closets and share with others. These will be given out after the sharing of meals by the Food Not Bombs group.

O Lord of Heaven and Earth and Sea
By Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885) (Submitted by Linda Washburn)

O Lord of heaven and earth and sea,
To Thee all praise and glory be!
How shall we show our love to Thee,
Who givest all?

The golden sunshine, vernal air,
Sweet flowers, and fruit Thy love declare;
When harvests ripen, Thou art there,
Who givest all.

For peaceful homes and healthful days,
For all the blessing earth displays,
We owe Thee thankfulness and praise,
Who givest all.

For souls redeemed, for sins forgiven,
For means of grace and hopes of heaven:
What can to Thee, O Lord, be given,
Who givest all?

To Thee, from whom we all derive
Our life, our gifts, our power to give:
O may we ever with Thee live,
Who givest all!

Facing the challenges of living in the hinge of history

By Jim Herrington

It is my belief that we are living in a hinge of history that is ushering us from one era to the next.


For most of Christian history congregations have served as gathering places where geographically approixmate adherents could practice their faith. It was not always this way.


For most of its first three centuries Christianity was mainly a street movement, a marketplace phenomenon that spread through slave populations and social guilds of free laborers. Gatherings of adherents took place primarily in homes and some suitable public places, convening primarily for fellowship, teaching, and worship. However, the gatherings were not the point or focus of Jesus-follower spirituality. Christianity was primarily a practice, a way of life.


The above quote is from Reggie McNeal’s newest book Missional Communities: The Rise of the Post-Congregational Church (p.2). McNeal represents a growing number of thinkers who believe that we are living in an age of transformation that is akin to the experience people had during the period we now call The Reformation.


We are not looking at incremental change. The Church is being transformed. The institutional congregation has been the primary center of Christiainity since Constantine made it the official religion of the Roman Empire. However, there is a growing since that in the next era, that may not be so. There is no large body of thinking of which I am aware that asserts that the local congregation is going away. But, as in The Reformation, there is growing agreement that it will take on a very different look in the next era.


What if McNeal and others like him are anywhere close to being on point? The implications are enormous, and in the face of their enormity, we have two choices. We can contribute to and participate in an anxious reaction that makes winners and losers, resorts to right or wrong thinking, and accelerates the anxiety that this kind of deep change inherently brings.


Another option is to come together for thoughtful Spirit-led conversations. Houston is filled up with people who have been working on the questions that McNeal’s assertions raise. We have some of the countries largest congregations and we have some of the most innovative work being done around missional living. It seems to me that if we could function the way a body is made to function, then these conversations could help make things increasingly clear. Out of that clarity, Spirit driven action is possible.


Jim Herrington is a friend of Marty’s. He is founder of Mission Houston, author, and director of the FaithWalking retreats, and will be bringing us the morning message on December 4th.  Learn more at: The author  Reggie McNeal was a featured speaker at the conference HMC church leadership attended in October called “At the Corner of…”


Order of Worship for Advent 1, November 27, 2011

Call to Worship (see bulletin cover)
*Opening Scripture     Psalm 80: 1-7
*Opening Prayer
*Songs of Praise and Celebration Come, thou long expected Jesus  HWB #178 Sleepers wake!       HWB #188

Scripture                      Isaiah 64: 1-9
Children’s Time
Sermon                        The Unexpected God

Song of Response Lord, you sometimes speak HWB #594
Confession (see bulletin cover)
Sharing Joys and Concerns
Offering and Offertory
Connecting More Fully
*Sending Scripture       Isaiah 52:7
*Song of Sending         Longing for light  SJ #54 (vs 1,2,5)

Thank you to the following for sharing your gifts! Worship Leader: Laura Peifer; Children’s Message: Pam Stephens; Speaker: Marty Troyer; Song Leader: Amanda Diaz; Pianist: Margaret Gehman; Children’s Church:  Elizabeth Melendez. Special thanks to Margaret Gehman for creating our Advent Banner, and Denise Duff, who assisted.


The Peace Pastor Update:
This week you can see pastor’s getting slapped in the pulpit, lessons learned from folks on the margins, a prayer I prayed Saturday night at the HPJC annual awards, something about the death penalty, and guest post on the breadth and beauty of the gospel. You can read all this and more at:

 Christian Formation Options at HMC:
Join us each Sunday morning at 9:30AM!
►Preschool: (ages 3-5): Adrienne Graybill
Living More with Less book study
►Junior High/High School Youth:  with Lynda and Roxie Voran
, in the Annex.

** Children’s Church:  During worship in our children’s ministry room for kids aged 1-5. They learn a Bible story, sing, and play together.

Pastoral Care
Do you want a person to talk with about something in your life? Got a question or insight into faith or scripture you want to kick around? Have you been sitting on a great idea for the church? Need prayer? Want to get to know your pastor better? As your pastor, I’m available to meet with you at the office or at a time and spot that works better for you. Just let me know when and where! Monday’s through Thursdays, and weekends by appointment. Marty Troyer, church office (713)464-4865,, also available on Facebook.

Additional Information       
HMC E-Newsletter is compiled by Houston Mennonite Church pastor Marty Troyer.
All are invited and encouraged to share articles, personal updates, stories, announcements, pictures, etc… to include in the weekly updates. Know of others
who would like to receive HMC E-Newsletter e-mails from Houston Mennonite?  Have them send name and e-mail to Marty at


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