1/14/2014: Pastoral Reflections

Pastoral Reflections:

What a beautiful day it is today! The sun is brightly shining and the feel to the day could not be better. I am reminded each day that regardless of the weather or how cold or hot it is “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

We are now in mid January and I am so glad of what we as a church have experienced the completion of 2013 and are now firmly in 2014. Our church experienced the wonder of Christmas with worship services filled with song and wonder. Many contributed to the adornment of the church and our Altar Guild, under the direction of Beverly Newman, worked tirelessly to have our church looking so radiant during the Holy days. I am also so very happy to announce that our church paid 100% of our apportionments. When Terry and I delivered the final payment to David Stinson, our conference treasurer, he expressed our conference’s gratitude. He also acknowledged the conference’s understanding of the sacrifice placed on our church. The apportionments are the portion that our church gives to God in the way of meeting our conference and general church financial obligations.

I am excited and hopeful as we begin our work in ministry in the year of our Lord 2014. I am thankful for the leadership of our church in coming together to calendar ministry events and administrative meetings for this year. Under the leadership of Joyce Brown and with a good number of leaders present we were able to accomplish the task and then enjoy together a great covered dish.

As I continue to reflect on the idea of Apportionments I am aware that God’s gift is that in Christ Jesus God has provided for our salvation. The promise from Holy Scripture is that God continues to provide for us. God is present through Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit will teach us and lead us as a church to continue to be a powerful witness to the grace of God.

Hoping to see you soon, Raul

8/13/2013: Pastoral Reflections

Pastoral Reflections:

“Keep America Beautiful” is a great campaign that involves us as Americans on three key issues: litter prevention, waste reduction/recycling, and greening and beautification. It involves over 1000 community organizations and thousands of volunteers in major projects across the United States in maintaining and keeping America beautiful.

This Saturday morning I will be here at the church at 9 a.m. to work on the church grounds and on any other project that will beautify our church. How we maintain and beautify our church facilities is an important statement of faith. This is my church, but more importantly, this is God’s church. The Psalmist could have not articulated it better when, in the 84th Psalm, he exclaims, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the LORD.” I encourage you to come and participate. Let’s see if our two riding mowers can be used. Presently Joe Frausto brings his riding mower, so that there can be three. If you have grass trimmers to trim and to edge, bring them with you. If you have shrub trimmers or branch cutters, bring them with you. We have in our church two beautiful gardens that need our attention. They are in desperate need of cleaning. Jean Adams has already cleaned and placed mulch on the gazebo rose beds. Please consider coming. There are other tasks to be done such as cleaning the windows in the narthex and welcome area of our church. I will have available the large grass clipping bags. Let’s see how many of these we can fill.

On another note, the Spanish congregation of our church is to begin a training program to equip laity to lead home fellowships. The program begins this Wednesday. This is a fruit from the revival services that were held this summer. The idea is to make each of our homes a place where Christ is offered, celebrated, and followed through Christian discipleship. Please pray for this outreach program.

My hope is to see you soon, whether in worship or at your homes.

6/4/2013: Pastoral Reflections

Pastoral Reflections:

I give thanks to God for the calling God has placed on our church for ministry. Ours is a ministry of connecting with our community in ways that God’s love is shared with others. I am happy to inform you of two ministries that have a direct impact on people living in our area.

Cuisine for Healing is a service outreach program that provides nutritious, delicious food for people combating disease and educates people about the power of healthy food. Cuisine for Healing asked our church if we could provide our kitchen for the preparation of the meals. On Tuesday, May 28, 2013 Healthy Cuisine began to prepare the meals using a chef and two helpers. Volunteers then delivered the meals to the clients. The Outreach Food Program provides two healthy Certified meals per day, seven days a week for 4 to 12 weeks at no cost to qualifying patients. Working with Cancer Care Services, the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, Texas Oncology, Joan Katz Breast Center, USMD Hospital of Arlington, Texas Health Resources, JPS Cancer Center, and local doctors, Cuisine for Healing has a waiting list for qualified patients to participate in this Outreach Food Program. Sue Austin is the president of Cuisine for Healing Board of Directors. She provided the above information in soliciting the church’s help. Our trustees approved Healthy Cuisine use of the kitchen and their recommendation will go to the Church Council for final approval.
Beginning on July 8 through August 23 our church will be a Feeding Site to provide lunch for children in our community. Through the Tarrant County Food Bank and in sponsorship with Pepsico, children will come to our church during the lunch hour. Western Hills Elementary School will kick off the program on June 11th and will serve the children through July 5, 2013. In addition to providing the lunch we will also work with volunteers to involve the children in activities that will enrich their summer experience.

Please pray for these ministries of outreach and caring. I am thankful for your willingness to serve and make a difference.

Here’s praying to see you in worship, Raul


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