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Grace United Methodist Church

Collin's Column: Take Courage

UPDATE FROM OCTOBER 6, 2020

Greetings all in the name of Christ!

 
Though COVID still prevents us from getting together in person for worship, we are still hosting worship services each and every week online.  I hope that you are making time each week to worship God with us. I know that 2020 is a time when many of our usual personal and professional habits have been broken, but it is all the more important that we don’t let our worship of God fall aside, too. 
 
I would recommend trying to stick to your normal Sunday routine, and worship with us every Sunday morning at 10:45 am.  We have music, scripture readings, children’s time, and sermons.  I think our online worship is done very well, so I hope you have been participating!  If you haven’t been, please make every effort be present this Sunday morning.  To access worship, you can do one of two things: 1) Visit our website, graceintheheights.org.  Navigate to the upper right-hand side of the screen, and click, “Live Stream.”  2) Login to Facebook, and search for, “Grace United Methodist Church” and click on our live stream video.  I hope you can join us!
 
Also, please don’t forget to come and help us with pumpkin unloading on Saturday, October 17th at 9 AM.  Many hands make light work!  Later that day, we’ll also be hosting our annual Charge Conference at 3 PM.  This Charge Conference will be totally virtual so I hope that you can join us. 
 
Additionally, All Saints Day is upon us so if you have lost a loved one in the past year, please forward us their name so that we can include them in our annual naming of the Saints.  This year, we will also include some special time to recognize those 1M+ people who have lost their lives due to COVID-19.
 
This week in worship, we will likely conclude our sermon series on Taking Courage.  I say “likely” because I have so many more ideas as to how to perhaps to this sermon series, I might extend it a week or two!  We’ll study a bit of scripture from Paul’s letter to the Hebrews.  Our church has been in ministry to The Heights for more than 115 years, and I think that the Apostle Paul may have some important words to share with us and the uncertain future we are facing.  I hope that you’ll join us this week as we look forward to what’s next for our great church!
 
Yours in Christ,
Collin
 
 
 
 

UPDATE FROM SEPTEMBER 30, 2020

Greetings all in the name of Christ!

 
I want to use my column this week to update and communicate a few things that are coming up in the life of our great church.
 
  1. Return to worship – though I haven’t met with the return to worship committee recently, I will soon as I am beginning to discern that we might be able to regather at some point soon.  HISD returns some of its students to in person learning on October 19th.  As it stands right now, I’d like to see how the return to in person learning affects the positivity rate.  But, I think a return maybe soon in coming.  Stay tuned!
  2. Merger with Chapelwood – Don’t forget that we are discerning as to whether or not it makes ministry sense for our church to partner and merge with Chapelwood UMC.  We released a survey last Friday about the potential survey, and we have had a pretty good response so far.  If you haven’t yet taken the survey, please CLICK HERE to take it now.  It should take you less than 5 minutes.  One of the biggest worries that I have gleaned from the survey data thus far is that many of us are worried that our identity will somehow be subsumed by Chapelwood.  I understand this concern but can assure you that Grace will still feel like Grace post-merger.  But you don’t have to take my word for it.  Join us this Thursday, October 1st at 7 PM via Zoom or in our sanctuary so you can have the opportunity to hear from Fair Haven UMC, a church similar in size to Grace who merged with Chapelwood in 2017.  We’ll have the pastor and several members of Fair Haven who went through the merger and can tell us how their experience went, and what the church is like today.  You’ll also have the opportunity to ask questions that you may have.
  3. PUMPKINS ARE COMING!  We’ll take delivery of our pumpkins on Saturday, October 17 at 9 am and we need your help!  Bring some wheelbarrows, your masks, and a can-do spirit.  We are receiving only half a trailer this year, so it shouldn’t take AS long to unload, but be prepared to do some lifting.  Many hands make light work!
  4. Worship this Sunday – I hope you’ll join us this week as we continue our sermon series on, “Take Courage.”  We’ll turn to the 10th chapter of Luke and learn from the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  We’ll examine how this parable can speak into our lives right here and now.
  5. Don’t forget that we have drive-through communion this Sunday from 2 pm – 3 pm.  You’ll need to wear a mask and bring your own communion elements.  I can’t wait to see you!
 
I hope you’ll join us at the FULL SPEED AHEAD place!
 
Yours in Christ,
Collin
 
 

UPDATE FROM SEPTEMBER 23, 2020

Greetings all in the name of Christ!
 
As you know, we are together discerning what the future of ministry may look like at Grace UMC.  I am very excited about the possibilities that merging our congregation with Chapelwood UMC might create for us, and for The Heights.  Since this is such an enormous undertaking, I thought I’d spend some time during my sermons over the next three weeks talking about this merger and what it might look like for us.  The new sermon series will be called, “Take Courage” because let’s face it – a merger with Chapelwood will take courage!
 
This week, we will look at that time in Jesus’ life when he healed a man.  Not just any man, but a man who was literally lowered into his presence.  The Gospels of Matthew, Mark & Luke all contain a story of a paralyzed man whose friends had heard of Jesus, and his ability to heal people.  The friends wanted to help their paralyzed friend, and so they carried him to Jesus but found the place where he was preaching so very crowded that they couldn’t make their way to him.  So they climbed the roof of the house where Jesus was, cut a hole in the ceiling, and literally lowered the paralyzed man into Jesus’ presence. 
 
Over the course of this series, you’ll hear about churches like ours who are on the verge of closing or make very difficult decisions with their salaries and staff.  Many churches, unlike ours, have no place to turn for financial relief.  Many churches simply don’t have the capacity to think beyond this pandemic to what might come next.  Unlike us, they have to think very seriously about contracting their ministry, and reducing their impact in the communities they serve.  But not us.  We don’t have to worry about closing or cutting staff.  We have been gifted a unique opportunity to see our way out of this.  Instead of moving backward, we have the opportunity to continue to grow, offer new ministries that will reach out to the poor in our community, and upgrade sections of our campus in order to better reach our neighbors in the name of Christ.  It is EXHILARATING!  But, to be honest, it is also a little nerve-wracking.  To pretend otherwise would be naïve. 
 
However, as I’ll share over the next few weeks, I believe that God has led us to this opportunity, and will continue to guide our community through and into the merger with Chapelwood.  And our community will emerge on the other side stronger, and better equipped to make Disciples of Jesus Christ.
 
I hope to see you this in the GOD MAKES ALL THINGS NEW place!
 
Yours in Christ,
Collin

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Houston, TX 77008
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