News

70 Years Later - Remembering Pearl Harbor

published 12/7/2011
by Vance Morton*   It is a bit of a paradox for Christians in the U.S that Dec. 7 falls during the season of Advent. For during this season in which we as Christians are looking forward in anticipation of celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, we, as Americans, find ourselves looking back in solemn remembrance on the “date that will live in infamy.”   Today is the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and it is a day that brings back a lot of memories for those who ...

Central Texas Conference Gives Almost One-Quarter of a Million Dollars to Imagine No Malaria

published 12/4/2011
Bishop Lowry, via his "This Focused Center" blog, recently updated and congratulated the members of the Central Texas Conference for their generous giving to the Imagine No Malaria campaign. His blog post is below or you can find it here. Since its launch in April 2010, your support of Imagine No Malaria has helped deliver more than 588,000 bed nets, train 3,500 local health workers and create 15 in-country health boards which empowers the people of Africa to fight malaria. The ...

Healthy Church Initiative Comes to the Central Texas Conference

published 11/30/2011
by Gary A. Lindley*       div style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal">The world has changed and the Church has been left behind. If we want to catch up, we must change the way we “do church.” Three cultural shifts have brought us to this point: We have moved from a people of fellowship to a people of Facebook. Virtual, online communities are replacing the need for person-to-person fellowship. We have moved from an attraction mode to a networking mode. We no longer ...

Advent - Will We Sing With Mary During This Season of Hope?

published 11/29/2011
by Shane Stanford*   Mary said, “With all my heart I glorify the Lord! In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my Savior!” – Luke 1:46-47, Common English Bible   Mary faced an uncertain morning. Her world seemed irreparable and unredeemable. Just yesterday, everything was very different – simple, normal, common. However, within a matter of moments, everything changed. Nothing was certain. Nothing was the same. While others would point fingers at God to say how unfair the previous hours felt, ...

Morgan Mill Lavishes Some Radical Hospitality and Extravagant Generosity for Thanksgiving

published 11/21/2011
The Tiny Central Texas Conference Town Makes a Big Thanksgiving Difference to Fort Hood Soldiers   An Erath County tradition that WFFA News in Dallas/Fort Worth termed “a scene that might even be too sweet for Norman Rockwell” continued over the weekend as the good folks of Morgan Mill, Texas hosted their annual Thanksgiving dinner. While a community thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t normally blip the radar of large regional news outlets like WFAA and the Fort Worth Star Telegram, this celebration is...

Peace With Justice Grants Application Deadline is Jan. 6, 2012

published 11/16/2011
$50,000 awarded in 2011 to 18 ministries, including one Central Conference project and 17 in four U.S. jurisdictions.   Jan. 6 is the deadline to apply for a Peace with Justice grant from the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS). Peace with Justice grants are awarded annually. This year $50,000 was granted to 18 Peace with Justice ministries.   Grant applicants must be either a United Methodist or other affiliated organization, or an ecumenical group working with and ...

New TV Documentary Takes a Powerful Look at New Anti-Hunger Efforts in the U.S.

published 11/15/2011
by Vance Morton* “The truth is that in America right now, in our current economy, people who used to donate to food pantries now find themselves standing in line.”   “It’s not optional to feed the hungry. It is a commandment.”   “The way that I’ve seen young people handling the issue of hunger is that they actually think they can solve it.”   The quotes above are among the powerful opening lines of a new interfaith documentary that focuses on some of the new ways to feed the hungry sprouting ...

Online Retreat Offered for Advent

published 11/15/2011
span style="font-size:11.0pt;Arial","sans-serif"; color:black">The Rev. Beth Richardson, a United Methodist deacon, has collaborated with others to offer an Advent/Christmas e-course based on Richardson’s book, “Child of the Light.”   The Christmas season has become more of a chaotic consumer ritual than a nurturing spiritual time. This online retreat invites you to experience Advent and Christmas differently this year. Advent is for Christians a time of waiting, a time to prepare our hearts, ...

Churches Can Help to Simplify the Holidays

published 11/14/2011
by *Rev. Kathy Noble   As was mentioned in the most recent addition to the Advent 2011: Preparing for Christmas series in which we discussed how churches can help those who might be struggling financially and/or spiritually find peace and joy during the Christmas season, Rev. Kathy Noble has put together quite a nice list of several ways that churches can help simplify the holidays for all. Here is that article. Enjoy, and, as always, if it inspires you to share some of your ideas with your CTC ...

Large Church Initiative Conference

published 11/14/2011
Moving Beyond Your Comfort Zone and Stretching Your Church's Leadership Potential and Vision by Jeff Jones* div style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal">  div style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal">A God-sized vision is for Christianity to offer new life and new hope to as many people as possible. The Large Church Initiative Conference provides a great opportunity to learn how to move beyond your comfort zone and be challenged to stretch ...

Remembering Veterans Day

published 11/11/2011
World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, in the 11th month of 1918 when an armistice (truce) took effect making it all quiet on the western front. The fighting had ended and the First World War was over for all intent and purposes.   To commemorate, many nations declared this day as...

Bishop Lowry Lands Behind Bars

published 11/10/2011
Central Texas Episcopal Leader Checks In To Prison   Today in Teague, Texas, at approximately 3:30 p.m., the Episcopal Leader of the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, Bishop J. Michael Lowry, surrendered himself to authorities and became the newest resident at the William R. Boyd Unit of the Texas Prison System. According to reports from the scene, Bishop Lowry was remanded into the custody of the Boyd Unit without incident and even with a sense of excitement and eagerness...

Helping People Experience a Peaceful Holiday Season

published 11/8/2011
by Vance Morton* from United Methodist Communications reports  As we continue our Advent 2011 – Preparing for Christmas series, it is important to remember that not everyone in your congregations and communities are walking around with nothing but visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads. Some of your church members are most likely dreading the coming holiday season because they are struggling financially or spiritually.     Economists say recovery from the recession has started, but many ...

Council of Bishops Vote in Favor of Proposals to Restructure the Denomination and Redistribute Funds

published 11/3/2011
by Heather Hahn*   United Methodist bishops have voted overwhelmingly in favor of proposals to restructure the denomination and redistribute up to $60 million in church funds.   The vote specifically endorsed a letter, titled “For the Sake of a New World, We See a New Church: A Call to Action,” detailing changes — some requiring action by General Conference, some not.   “We see a new church,” the bishops’ letter says. “It is a church that is clear about its mission and confident about its ...

The Institute for Discipleship to Host a Five-Day Intensive Online Safe Sanctuary Workshop

published 11/2/2011
BeADisciple.com will host a five-day online workshop for United Methodist congregations who need to write a Safe Sanctuary policy. Your opportunity to take this intensive five-day course is Nov. 14-18. A similar course will be offered next spring and is spread over four weeks, March 4-31, 2012. Participants will learn: why congregations should have a Safe Sanctuary policy, what the policy includes generally and specifically, how to get a policy written and approved, and how to implement it.   ...

What are Your Plans for Christmas Sunday?

published 11/2/2011
by Vance Morton* (from UMNews reports and Facebook)   Christmas day falls on Sunday this year, so many of your local churches will have a full weekend of inspiring worship and other ministries to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Happening every five to seven years, Christmas on Sunday offers a special opportunity for church members, seekers and those who are “just curious" to come together   Last week in our special Advent 2011: Preparing for Christmas series we offered up some ideas on ...

It is Time to Set Your Vital Congregation Goals

published 11/1/2011
by Gary Lindley* and Jeff Jones** Whether you’re a pastor of a local church, the CEO of a Fortune 500 International Corporation or the second baseman for the local Little League Baseball champion, setting attainable, intentional and measurable goals is usually the difference between success and failure. Beginning the first week of January 2012, every congregation in the United Methodist Church will be asked to track their progress against goals they researched and established for themselves in ...

Recipients of Thanksliving Offering 2011 Announced

published 11/1/2011
 by Randy Wild* Each year the churches of the Central Texas Conference receive a special Thanksliving offering that is split between a project in the CTC and another that supports a global hunger initiative. The offering is split 90/10 between the recipients chosen.   This year 90 percent of the offering will remain in the Central Texas Conference to fund the hunger ministry program available to any CTC church seeking to begin or expand hunger ministries. Your generous offering will empower our ...

The 2012 Congress on Evangelism is All About Catching, Keeping and Developing

published 10/28/2011
 by Jeff Jones* As fishers of men and women, we throw our nets wide to attract as many new believers to the faith as we can. This year’s Congress of Evangelism will focus on not only catching new believers, but keeping them. From January 3-6, 2012, the Council on Evangelism and the GBOD will host their annual forum on evangelism in Nashville, TN. Following the theme, “Catching and Keeping: Discipling in the Local Church,” church leaders will learn new and creative ways to help new followers grow...

How a 200-Year-Old, County Seat Church in Decline Got Its Groove Back

published 10/26/2011
This is one church’s story…Now tell us yours.  by Vance Morton*   Here’s a story (well, a summary of a story) brought to our attention by Leanne Johnston, the Youth and Young Adults specialist here at the CTC Service Center. While it a story from a church outside the borders of the Central Texas Conference, it’s a narrative that might hit home with too many of us as it is a story of a once vibrant and vital congregation that has been facing decline and irrelevance during the last 30+ years. But ...

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