What do you do when a relative’s home gets flooded? – You roll up your sleeves and get to work. And that is exactly what we did once we learned that our sister church in Cypress was under water. Three volunteers went up there to help with salvaging and packing whatever survived the floods. We were also able to provide much needed packing material. Now that the waters have receded Christ United Church of Cypress needs money to rebuild their church. Their GoFundMe page lists a goal of $250,000. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation you can write a check and our congregation will forward the funds for you. Thanks to all who helped out and pitched in!
Christ United Church of Cypress, 14207 Telge Road (Telge Rd and Huffmeister Rd) has several feet of water in the Sanctuary, classrooms and kitchen and other storage buildings. They are in need of boxes (small and medium), tape, markers, wrapping paper, and bubble wrap.
Most importantly, this is an older congregation, so what they really need is working hands. There will be two storage pods delivered on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, and two storage pods on Thursday. St. John’s United Church of Christ in Rosenberg will have a couple of people on site on both days. Work crews are needed between 6 am and 3 pm. If you are able to assist either day during those hours please contact Rev. Daniel Haas of St. John’s United Church of Christ in Rosenberg at 801-368-1180 or firstname.lastname@example.org
As our congregation is gearing up for its 75th anniversary celebration on Sunday, April 24, it is only fitting to look back. Last year I dug deep into the history of our church and I hope it may inspire us into the future:
St. John’s United Church of Christ was born out of a vision form our mother church Friedens UCC in Beasley. They provided the original staff and energy. Friedens UCC was 29 years old when they gave birth to little St. John’s. That is a good age to become a parent – well established yet young and energetic enough to dare new adventures. As you can tell by their German first name they had their roots across the Atlantic. I am speculating here but it might well be that the original Friedens people came from the Braunfels area in Hessen where a lot of people in our region originated from. It stands to reason that they came out of the Schlosskirche in Braunfels, Germany. That church was built in the 16th century as a church used by both Protestants and Catholics simultaneously.
Going back only two church generations we made it across an ocean and a language barrier. Our church family tree is full of risk-takers and adventurers. On the occasion of the church’s birthday we are reminded that we are not autonomous but that we are part of a long and proud lineage. We can celebrate our ancestors all the way back to the day of Pentecost. That was when in Jerusalem the disciples received the Holy Spirit in order to live as the Body of Christ. Pentecost is often called the birthday of the church. Without Jesus physically around his friends now had to deal with one another and with the world “only” with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And when we “do church” here today we can only do that because people have dared to allow the Spirit of God to move them into new and unexpected places.
Our ancestors have been taking risks, tearing down tradition, starting over in life and faith. That has been our church family’s tradition. As we are gearing up for our anniversary we need not only look at the past 75 years but also dare ask the big questions:
What does God want St. John’s to look like 75 years from now?
And what can we do to make room for that Spirit right here right now?
Come Holy Spirit! Come!
Tomorrow’s emergency planning meeting is cancelled. The Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management is tied up coordinating incident response all over the county. In response to the rainfall we have already experienced in Fort Bend County, the expected additional rainfall over the next couple days, and the forecast river levels, Fort Bend County Judge Robert Hebert has signed a local disaster declaration for Fort Bend County.
For the members and friends of St. John’s United Church of Christ the Rev. Daniel Haas has issued the following call to action: “Please contact the church and let us know what damage you have sustained and if you are in immediate need of any assistance. We will coordinate with United Church of Christ resources for disaster response.”
When you think Sunday is big at church, please take a look at today’s cancellations:
Due to inclement weather, the church office will remain closed today.
Also the relaunch of the Monday Morning Men’s Group will be delayed.
The church council meeting will be rescheduled.
Church is not just the particular group of people you meet with in a particular building on a particular day for a particular program. The church as the body of Christ is so much bigger than that. Here is a story that recently happened at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Rosenberg, Texas.
One of our members works as a preschool teacher. She feels that the public school system would be a better fit for her skill set. So she digs up her almost 10-year-old education credentials. Now she needs to have her school submit them officially for the credentialing process for teachers in Texas. That should not be too hard from here, right? Well, there are a couple of twists in her journey that complicate the matter:
1. The school was closed down a few years after she graduated there.
2. The school was located in Boppard, Germany, 5,214 miles away from Rosenberg, Texas.
How do you get a school that no longer exists half way around the world to send a certificate on your behalf? – That’s where the Wider Church comes in!
As a United Church of Christ congregation we are in full church communion with the Union of Evangelical Churches in Germany. One of their denominational bodies sponsored the school in question. The Diakonische Werk Rheinland-Westfalen-Lippe still keeps the archive of the long closed Janusz-Borczak-Schule Boppard. Since their pastor for public relations has been a long-time acquaintance of mine it was easy to explore options. And indeed, my friend Ulrich Christenn was able to climb into the basement of the administrative offices in Düsseldorf and locate her diploma.
The lesson learned here is:
The larger the body of Christ is, the smaller the world becomes!
It is crucial for the church to work together in all its structural forms on all levels.
It literally pays off to be involved in the wider church, not just your local congregation.
Your next chance to do that is the Spring Meeting of the Houston Association of the United Church of Christ. It will be on April 23rd in Beasley, Texas – a mere eight miles away!
A team of St. John’s UCC will participate in the West Fort Bend County CROP Walk on Saturday, April 30th. Please register to join our team of so far nine walkers. you can do that during office hours or on Sundays or 24/7 online:
Over the last 34 years we were consistently among the top fundraisers. This year let’s also be among the largest walking groups!
The current title holder issues a special challenge to our congregation:
Dear Sisters and Brothers of St. John’s!
Are you up for a challenge? Who got to know me a little knows that I love challenges and I love to challenge others. Today is the day that I, as the Rev. of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church together with my congregation challenge the Rev. Daniel Haas and the good people of St. John’s to beat us in the CROP walk, April 30th at George Ranch Park! The CROP Walk is to not only to fight hunger in and around the world! 25% of the funds raised that day will stay in Fort Bend County to fight poverty right among us in our community! Over the past years no congregation had enough people or donations to beat us – has the year come?
Well of course if you decide not to take on that challenge we from St. Paul’s are more than happy to receive your financial support!
Come, let us fight hunger together – try to beat St. Paul’s!
Rev. Mirjam Haas-Melchior