HMC E-Newsletter November 3, 2011  (attached and below)


Please consider cutting and pasting this message to anyone among your email contacts who may be interested. (Include only what’s below, and adjust as needed)

Why not consider attending the Texas Mennonite Sale and Auction for World Relief which sponsors a live auction, silent auction, and other activities with the proceeds going to assist people suffering from poverty, natural disasters or war around the world and in North America. The money raised at this event supports Mennonite Central Committee, which raises funds from events like this throughout the U.S. and Canada and then distributes aid very efficiently and effectively. To learn more about what the Sale supports, go to: To view some of the beautiful items that will be available for purchase at the Sale go to:

So if you’re looking for a fun event for the whole family, like great ethnic food, and might be interested in a beautiful handmade quilt or piece of handmade woodworking, please consider coming to the Sale on November 12. I promise you will have a great time!

For more information about the sale go to:

Roxie Voran, Chairman
Texas Mennonite Sale & Auction
for World Relief

Connecting More Fully at HMC:
Alicia Campos, the Volunteer Manager at Ten Thousand Villages, has agreed to set up a special Orientation session for those from the Mennonite church on Sunday, Nov. 6th from 5pm to 8pm. We would really like to have everyone up and running, so to speak, by the next time we are set to staff the store (on Nov. 20th and Dec. 18th as well).  The holidays are fast approaching and everyone is needed to staff the store at this time of year!  It is very busy and alot of fun too!  Please register by going to and fill out the registration under VOLUNTEERS.  This way you will be registered with the Shiftboard scheduling program for the store and in the future, you will be able to sign up for your shift.  In addition you will receive e-newsletters, notices regarding special events, documentation of volunteer hours, etc. Thanks for registering online as quickly as possible!  Feel free to contact Jean Koshy-Hertzler ( or call 713-660-6688) if you have any questions at all.

New Small group: Those who would like to discuss the book, Four Women, Three Faiths by Cecile Holmes, are invited to stay for lunch on Nov. 6 and meet with others for prayer and personal sharing.  Leadership will be shared and decisions for future dates to get together will be decided by the people involved.  For additional information, see Judy Hoffhien.
Sewers and Doers Sat, November 5th at 9:30am

The Peace Club will meet Saturday, Nov. 5 at the church from 3:00-5:00.  The group will be learning about the Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, tye-dying T shirts and exercising with LED hulahoops. Ages 6-16 are invited to participate, so bring some friends and enjoy the fellowship and gorgeous weather!Upcoming Congregational Meetings:

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

Christmas Choir Practice 4:30PM Saturday: October 29, November 5 &19, December 3 & 10. All welcome to join!
Texas Mennonite Sale and Auction for World Relief: November 12, 9-4PM. Raising money for projects related to PEACE BUILDING, HUNGER, WATER, EDUCATION, HEALTH and EMERGENCIES & DISASTERS.

►No Sunday School on November 13 (“The Day After”)

 ►58 Film Screening: Nov 06, 2011 05:00 PM-07:00 PM at The Fellowship at Cinco Ranch in Katy.
 The Fellowship is hosting a premier showing of 58:, the inspiring true story of the global Church in action. Witness bravery and determined faith in a journey from the slums of Kenya to the streets of New York. Confront the brutality of extreme poverty and meet those who live out the True Fast of Isaiah 58 and create stunning new possibilities for the future. Travel from the sun-scorched plains of rural Ethiopia to British shopping centers, from Brazilian ganglands and the enslaving quarries of India to western churches, businesses and conferences. 58: invites audiences to discover the incredible work of God through His people in our hurting world. Meet ordinary people, hear their stories, and see their struggles and their victories as 58: shows the relentlessly loving God at work through His Church bringing hope to the darkest challenges of our day. Experience eye-opening reasons to lift our expectations of the future. Anyone interested in seeing this is totally cool.

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. 

Community Thanksgiving Meal at the church on Thursday, Nov. 24 at 1:00. Turkey and stuffing will be provided, so bring a side dish to share and invite some friends to be a part of this special holiday time.

Are you interested in doing some outreach activities this year? If so, then plan to come to Judy and Eric Hoffhien’s home on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 6:00 to share a meal and hear about the literacy program in which Kathryn Bauchelle is involved. Information about the Spring Branch Food Pantry, Ten Thousand Villages, and Memorial Area Ministries will also be available. We would like to hear from you about meaningful projects and programs that could be part of our work for the year. There will be lots of time for fun and fellowship. All ages are welcome! A map and more information will be coming.

God’s Story Re-Membered
By Marty Troyer

Do not fear or be dismayed at this great multitude; for the battle is not yours but God’s. -2 Chronicles 20:15 (Read: 2 Chronicles 20:5-15)

Unemployment, finances, cancer, family drug abuse, marital problems, personal health. These are just a sampling of the stories that individuals in our community of faith are struggling with today. As stories of struggle swirl in our minds, anxiety, fear and powerlessness can take over. And swallowed by present crisis, the future can seem blocked. We’ve all been there. Some of us are there now. What can we do?

In a similar time of threat, where the entire community was afraid, Jehoshaphat stands in the midst of the people and tells them a story. He prayerfully reminds both God and the community of their story of redemption, how God’s mighty acts saved them in the past. In remembering The Story he re-members his community to God, connecting himself and all his people to God as characters in the next chapter that God will write. 

We too are characters in God’s ongoing story of redemption and love. The question of verse 6, “O Lord, God of our ancestors, are you not God in heaven?” is our question to. In the shadows of uncertainty we long to know our God is near. And like Jehoshaphat, it’s key to connect again to the great stories of God from our past.

Jesus knew the power of memory. His communion command “Do this to remember me (Luke 22:19)” is an invitation to re-connect ourselves to the Jesus story. In remembering God’s Story, we are membered, joined, merged, integrated to be characters in God’s unfolding redemption drama.

Where have you seen God in your life? What stories of God’s mighty acts from your family, faith tradition, or scripture will sustain and embolden you to not fear today? For me this week, I’ve taken great comfort in remembering when and how God has been present in my life before. In doing so, I’ve my soul has been grounded and sustained.

God, sometimes life is hard and makes us afraid. But we remember your mighty deeds and your presence in our story. Today I’ll work to re-member myself to your story. AMEN.

 Doug’s Clarion Call

(Doug Penner, Moderator of Western District Conference, shared the following meditation at Executive Board on October 1. I commend it to you.)

                        –Clarence Rempel, Conference Minister.

Among the various cross-currents this Western District Conference Executive Board deals with is the desire for closure and completion, the desire to bring things to an end and be done with them so we can move on to other goals and purposes.

Some of that is personal. Remember the old Myers Briggs Personality Inventories that classified people on the basis of four pairs of contrasting styles?  The last of those was judging verses perceiving.  Some of us are comfortable leaving things open ended, happy to receive more information, while others, the judging types, prefer to tie things up and bless them as done, complete.  Count me in that category.

But some of the urging comes from without—from people and congregations who would like to see issues resolved and settled—think back of the conversations at assembly, where folks who stepped up to the mike conveyed, in a variety of ways, their wish just to be done with these vexing issues.  Think, as well, of the language of our conference wide and denomination wide assemblies—we provide the opportunity for “resolutions,”collective statements that “resolve” an issue, settling across the gathering of delegates a complicated, troubling issue.

In the midst of all of this, I’m drawn to the biblical messages about patience.  The scriptures make many references to patience, to longsuffering, to endurance and steadfastness.  It’s one of the fruits of the spirit, evidence of submitting oneself to God, trusting that God is at work in all around us, though most often, we don’t understand how.

I especially like some of the images of one of our 16th century Anabaptist forbearers, Pilgrim Marpeck.  Marpeck argued for patience and caution in ordering our lives, individually and corporately, and particularly in coming to conclusions about true discipleship.  Mennonite scholar Walter Klaassen wrote the following about Marpeck, “. . Marpeck argues at great length that Christians should not judge in haste.  The image he uses is that of the flower and the fruit.  Judgment ought not to be made on the basis of the leaves or blossom but left until the fruit appears.  That is to say, allowance must be made for growth in Christian discipleship.”

So many Biblical images, including Jesus parables, try to communicate the nature of Christian growth.  So often, they tell of planting of seeds in good soil, nurturing and caring for tender plants as they grow, but trusting ultimately in God’s faithful, grace-full leading.  Remember Paul’s words to the Romans, “For in hope we were saved.  Now hope that is seen is not hope.  For who hopes for what is seen?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”  Christian patience is built on hope.

So in the midst of our continuing deliberations and discernment as a group of individuals called to serve and lead in the Western District, as we consider difficult issues, we might remind ourselves of the virtue of patience, the wisdom of allowing God to work patiently in and through us.

Eternal God, as we scurry about our work, our agendas, our efforts to get things just right, bring us a measure of patience and calm, patience and calm that rests in confidence of a will that transcends our own.  Give us energy to stay with it.

In the name of Christ, Amen.

ORDER OF WORSHIP FOR November 6, 2011

Stewardship Sunday

Thank you to the following for sharing your gifts! Worship Leader: Gerald Gehman; Scripture Reader: ??; Children’s Message: Adrienne Graybill; Speaker: Pastor Marty Troyer; Song Leader: Jim Emmert; Pianist: Margaret Gehman; Children’s Church:  Hannah Troyer & Laura/Jared Peifer.


Movement 1: Praising (See “Theme” below for info each movement)

*Opening Scripture                 Genesis 1 (HWB 806)                                                        
*Opening Prayer                                                                                                                  
*Songs of Praise and Celebration
*Prayer for illumination           SJ #152                                                                                                          

Movement 2: Hearing (See “Theme” below for info each movement)
Scripture Romans 12:1
Children Time
Sharing & Prayer                                                             
Sermon            The other 90%                                                                                                  

Movement 3: Responding (See “Theme” below for info each movement)
Songs of Response Lord of all good SJ #60
Prayer of Confession and Assurance
Song of Response Lord of all good SJ #60
Offering and Offertory

Movement 4: Sending (See “Theme” below for info each movement)
Connecting More Fully                                                                                                                   
*Sending Scripture                   Matt 5:48 (From the Message)
*Song of Sending Take my life HWB #389
*Commissioning Prayer          

Theme: Stewardship Sunday It’s all God’s! We are called to give all of our lives to God, not just some small percentage (say, 10%). Stewardship is the spiritual practice of living all of life in the presence of God. What we do with “the other 90%” is more important to God than the 10% we give to him. We are “stewards” not owners, and therefore need to rid ourselves of the insidious word “my” and the concept of “mine.” It’s all Gods!
Movement 1: Praising: Orients us to how God has provided for us all of life. From creation, to the promise of a new day, God lovingly invites us to “turn from our lovelessness like ice” to embrace the presence of God in ALL areas of life! Our praise of God helps us see God present at all times, not just in worship.
Movement 2: Hearing: The Gospel call is to live into the reality that all of life is God’s. We’re called to be living sacrifices, not to tithe. God has concern for 100% of our life, not just our excess.
Movement 3: Responding: People are invited to commit to lives of functional stewardship. We confess, repent, and commit to Jesus and being stewards of all we’re given.
Movement 4: Sending: Here our ritual acts orient us towards life lived throughout the week. People are sent out into the world to live like Christ. Everything we do in this movement is designed to equip us for that level of faithfulness: scripture, Commissioning/Sending, song, and even the announcements are all tools to equip us for this kind of a life. Notice how the sending scripture again invites us to do this daily, not just in church. “Take my life” indeed! Not take my spare change, or my leftovers, or my excess. Take it, all of it, all my hours, all my gifts, all my talents, and all my treasure.

The Peace Pastor Update:
This week I blogged about Congress’ mis-use of the word “trust.” Look for it in tomorrow’s print edition of the Houston Chronicle. There’s also an encouraging video post from Sara Groves calling us to be committed to overcoming Human Trafficking in the longterm, not just because it’s cool. In 2009 Mennonite Church USA passed a resolution calling all Mennonites to do all we can to combat Human trafficking in our cities. Houston, sadly, is the #1 US location for Human Trafficking.

I also shared a link to a video from a Christian pastor who does a bang up job defining “Biblical Justice.”

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
►Adults: 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


I hope your day is filled with joy!

Marty Troyer
Pastor, Houston Mennonite Church
Cell: (713)835-9436

Church: (713)464-4865
Blogging as The Peace Pastor at

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