HMC E-Newsletter October 6, 2011

Is a 20 minute sermon enough to help someone pattern life after Jesus?
This is an absurd question in a media rich context that demands attention and allegiance to a lifestyle contrary to the way of Christ. Christian formation takes more than 20 passive minutes once a week. It takes passionate spirituality, authentic community, and unusual commitment. Here are some resources for your own formation:

  • Living More with Less book study 9:30AM Sunday’s. I’m not sure what’s better: the book or the people discussing it! Together they’re a great encouragement to live simply so that others my simply live.
  • At the Corner of… conference October 14, 2011 at St. John’s Downtown from 12:30 – 5:45 pm. A great local ½ day training event sharing local stories of missional living & Christ-like obedience. Join HMC leaders by registering (it’s free!) at:
    To carpool with those going, meet promptly at 11:55 to depart from church.
  • Graduate of Eastern Mennonite University Wins Nobel Peace Prize!

Spiritual practices like this are not an end in themselves. They have no point unless they serve to help us to love self, God, neighbors and enemies more. May it be so for you!

Connecting More Fully at HMC:       ►Sewers and Doers: This Saturday 9:30AM in the Annex.

Safe Sanctuaries Annual Training:  Our annual training for adults who work with children and youth will be on Sunday, October 9.  Pastor Marty will be leading this.  Lunch and childcare will be provided.
World Day Against the Death Penalty 4-7 pm October 9, 2011 Pecore Hall – St. Stephens Episcopal Church 1805 West Alabama. On October 9, 2011, the Houston Chapter of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and Chapter 23 of Amnesty International will join with abolitionists from around the globe to celebrate “World Day Against the Death Penalty”. Come hear Dr. Rick Halperin, Director of the Embrey Human Rights Program at Southern Methodist University, give an assessment of the status of the death penalty in Texas, the United States and the World. Dr. Halperin is former Chairperson of Amnesty International USA and former President of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.  Joining Dr. Halperin will be exonerated death row prisoners Anthony Graves and Clarence Brandley who will describe their personal encounters with the death penalty in Texas.  There is no cost to attend this program. Refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to Dave Atwood at 832-693-5710
►Ten Thousand Villages Sunday October 16
► Conflict Transformation training event: “Waging Peace”
Want to learn how to more affectively how to handle conflict; about conflict styles, practices of deep listening, and how to model peacemaking at home and in the workplace? Check out this great training at Covenant Baptist. LeDayne M. Polaski, Managing Director of the Baptist Peace Fellowship will lead this Friday night, all day Saturday event. Long term, I’d love to have half our congregation trained in these principles. We could start with you! Register and find out more at 713-668-8830.

►Everyone is invited to celebrate Clara Sue’s birthday. Come to our house for a dessert Open House at Hannah and Marty Troyer’s for Clara’s birthday. 6:30PM Sunday October 16. (Address in directory).

►Order your Relief Sale T-shirts! This year we are adding a new item to the Relief Sale–our very own T-shirt which we are very excited about! We would like to preorder as many of these shirts as possible to guarantee that anyone who wants one gets the size they want. We also want to avoid going into the hole with a lot of extra shirts that don’t sell. An order form is attached and will also be available in church on Sunday. Payment can be made with your order or when you pick up your shirt.
The deadline to receive orders is October 17. Please see Lynda Voran if you have any questions.

► Spread the Word: On Oct. 23 after the Fellowship Meal, the Outreach Team has planned a mailout to our church neighborhood.  Information about the Relief Sale and our basic beliefs will be sent to folks in our community.  Anyone who is able to stay and help in this effort is invited to participate.

► Book Study and time for relationships: A new book study will begin on Sunday, Oct. 30 after church.  Four Women, Three Faiths will be used as the main resource and copies are available in the library.  This is a collection of inspiring spiritual journeys, and was written by Cecile Holmes, who was the Houston Chronicle Religion Editor for 8 years.  There will be time for sharing, praying, and  discussion of the first chapter.   A light lunch will be served, and everyone is invited to join this small group.  For additional information, see Judy Hoffhien.

►Wanna move from Thinking Peace to Making Peace? If you enjoy outreach work and peace and justice activities, plan to come to the Nov. 6 planning session after church.  We will also be working on the calendar for the year and the budget.  If you have ideas or a particular area of interest, but cannot attend the meeting,  please share them with  Marty, Danielle or Adrianne Graybill or Judy Hoffhien.  Lunch will be provided.

►Note From Judy Hoffhien: Several people have asked about making a donation to honor the memory of my
mother, Carol Riethmiller.  After visiting Peace Camp at the Houston Women’s Shelter in August 2006, my parents became supporters of this program. So, if someone would like to contribute to this efffort, checks can be sent to the Decade of Non-Violence, PO Box 300730, Houston, TX, 77230.  Funds given will support weekly peace lessons and the annual summer Peace Camp in August.  This outreach work will help youth who are homeless and are residents in a shelter.  This program is not open to the public and is a separate project from the
Houston Peace Camp which is sponsored by WILPF, has open enrollment, and charges tuition. Thank you for your support and concern.

Wanted: Disciple/Leaders who understand “church”  

Dear Houston Mennonites,

In my letter last week to you I said “I believe it is an essential to train leaders to lead with wisdom and grace” and that “the best leader is a disciple of Jesus Christ passionate about personal and congregational transformation.” As we enter the season of discerning church leaders, this week I want to outline our church structure and the leadership positions that are currently open. As a church, tis the season to discern leaders with the dual function of serving on church council and as leaders of one of our Teams.

But first, a question: What is a “church” anyway? Are we a bunch of people, or are we a people? Mark Labberton, preaching professor at Fuller Seminary says that

If we are in Christ, then we are bound through Christ to God’s people. We cannot live our life in God alone. Coming to understand and integrate this into our identity will profoundly affect how we live, as well as how we encourage our congregations to live together. While Scripture places enormous value on the individual, God’s strategy and calling is foremost to a people. This means our life happens alongside and amidst the messy, confusing, repelling, as well as wonderful collection of all the saints, past and present, near and far, who name the name of Jesus Christ.”

Tending the people is the call of church leadership. Paul talks about this repeatedly in the NT, saying repeatedly leaders are to “build up the body of Christ.” The essential work of leadership is to see and tend “church” as more than a collection of individuals, but as a group, a system, a family, a people (not a bunch of peoples). At Houston Mennonite cultivates disciples of Jesus Christ passionate about personal and congregational transformation through 5 Team Ministries. Each team tends a different aspect of congregational life.

Stewardship Team tends our facilities and finances. Outreach Team tends our engagement with the community. Worship Team tends to our life of praise and corporate gathering in the name of Christ. The Discipleship Team tends our practices of Christian formation, education, and transformation (for kids and adults). And the Community Life Team tends to our common life or relationships, social connections, spirituality and faith.

We’re currently seeking chairperson’s for Discipleship and Worship teams, as well as a member of Community Life. HMC leaders minister in two ways: on church council, and as leaders of a Team of ministers. So what are the specific skills necessary for each role we’ll be calling to begin ministry in 2012?

Along with the faith characteristics mentioned last week, the Discipleship chairperson needs to have a passion to see people grow in Christ and have the commitment to see this happen for each and every person here, whether inside or outside our programs. Organizing curriculum and personnel is essential, as is providing encouragement and feedback, resources and training to all those under you. Kids play a key role in the life of this ministry. The template is healthy, but there are growing ways to educate and form faith among our people that can be tapped by creative minds. Who among us contagiously loves learning and has a passion for the Bible and for classrooms as sacred space?

Along with the faith characteristics mentioned last week, the Community Life member needs to have a passion for people and to know our people well enough to care for them. Caring for every member of the congregation is important, not just during times of crisis. Both individual ministry and social settings make this possible. The “CLT” tends to the relationship between pastor and church, and vice versa, as well as primary responsibility to care for the pastor. Trust, caring capacity, hospitality, personable, prayer-full, discerning, and loving are core values for CLT. Who among us loves people and has a caring personality? Who do people naturally gravitate towards sharing with?

Along with the faith characteristics mentioned last week, the Worship chairperson needs to have a passion for God and worship. Special skills in instrumentation or singing are not necessary. Rootedness in meaningful tradition with a longing for adaptation, organizing worship volunteers, creative planning of worship orders and space, discernment of Biblical texts and worship series, working closely with the songbook and Bible are core values for the Worship Team. Who among us loves to worship and draws others into the presence of God, orienting us to see God, self, and the world as God does?

I invite you to take time to ask yourself these questions as we begin the discernment process to find leaders to lead these Teams as well as join our Church Council (the top leadership team at HMC). In worship this Sunday we will provide “Leadership Discernment” forms, asking you to help us discern the future shape and direction of our church by nominating Christ-like leaders. While all of us are called to the ‘priesthood of all believers,’ these core leaders are response-able to “build up the body of Christ” among us. Who are the next generation of leaders who will build up the Body of Christ in faithfulness, joy and celebration? Perhaps you! Appropriate space will be given Sunday for you to discern your own participation as an HMC leader eligible for call.

May your day be filled with joy.

Your Pastor (Marty

The Relief Sale is just over a month away.  As we prepare for this annual event that raises funds to support the worldwide relief, development and peacemaking ministries of Mennonite Central Committee, here are a few ways you can help.

  1. Pre-order a Relief Sale T-shirt today!  Payment can be made with you order or when you pick up your shirt.  The deadline for pre-ordering is October 17 and we will only have a limited number at the Sale.  See Lynda Voran if you have questions.
  2. Spread the word.  Pick up brochures or posters at church and share them with others or put them in your workplace, stores you visit, or other places where they will be seen.  Word of mouth is the most effective method of advertising, so encourage others to attend this enjoyable and worthwhile event.  Be sure to tell people they can see photos of quilts and other items that will be on sale at
  3. Clean out your bookshelves.  Again this year, we will be selling used books.  If you have books that you no longer want or need, consider donating them.  You can bring books to church any time between now and November 12.
  4. Plan to attend and help out.  We’ll begin asking for volunteers for the various tasks in the next several weeks.
  5. Pray for the Sale, that it will be successful in raising funds and that the Spirit of God will fill the venue and fill all of us as we work to support ministries of compassion and justice, in the name of Christ.

We are excited to invite you to consider participating in the overall ministry of HMC by ministering in the following positions:

Sunday Morning Hospitality and Facilities Preparation

Do you appreciate feeling welcome and comfortable in worship? Do you like to help others feel safe and comfortable in worship? An important ministry of any church is preparing safe and reliable space for learning and worship. Visitors are said to have assessed a new congregation within the first 90 seconds based on the space and the people, as well as their feelings about them. If you like making people feel welcome, and like thinking about space, please consider ministering to our community Sunday mornings in the following way:

  • Prep facilities for optimum use and welcome (10-30 minutes)
    • Sanctuary seating and song books
    • Turn on lights, open blinds
    • Worship prep (PPT & computer, candles, communion)
    • Regulate temperature in both buildings
    • Unlock doors of Annex and main
    • Prep SS spaces
    • Prayer (10 minutes). Prep our learning and worship spaces by inviting God into them, prayer for our pastor and worship participants. 

This is a 30-60 minute weekly Sunday morning ministry.

If you are interested, please speak to church council chair Gloria Wilson or pastor Marty.

The Peace Pastor Update:

On the 10th Anniversary of the Afghanistan war I say “enough!” and invite us into some distinctly Christian practices. Check it out at: or (pastor’s blog).

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.

ORDER OF WORSHIP, October 9, 2011 “Jesus: The Pattern for our Lives”

Opening Scripture Isaiah 25:1, 7-10a  
*Opening Prayer         
*Songs of Praise and Celebration       
            Sing praise to God who reigns HWB #59
           Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus Hymnal #340
*Prayer for illumination          

Scripture                                Matthew 22:1-14
Children’s Time          
Scripture                                 Philippians 4:1-9
Sermon                               The Work of the Gospel       

ong of Commitment  I want to walk as a child of the light SJ #95
Leadership Discernment at HMC: “The Work of the Gospel” at HMC
Sharing & Prayer  (Please feel free to light a candle during prayer)
Offering and Offertory                       

Connecting More Fully                                                                                   
*Sending Scripture                  Philippians 4:8-9
*Song of Sending         Jesus Christ is waiting SJ #30
*Sending Prayer or Litany        Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion is to look out to the world; yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good; yours are the hands with which God is to bless people now.          AMEN

Thank you to the following for sharing your gifts! Worship Leader: Kathryn Bauchelle; Scripture Reader: Twila Wiens; Children’s Message: Jane Mcnair; Speaker: Pastor Marty Troyer; Song Leader: Gloria Wilson; Pianist: Margaret Gehman; Children’s Church:  Maribel Hinojosa (Next Week: Elizabeth Melendez).

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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