Heart of Texas Association

June 2022 Newslettter

Annual Meeting Recap

The 2022 South Central Conference's Annual Meeting was held last weekend at Camp Allen. The gathering was alive with energy and excitement as we gathered for the first time in three years! The last time we were physically together was New Orleans in 2019.

Unfortunately, we were unable to reach quorum as there were not enough Authorized Ministers in attendance to meet the bylaw requirements so the Conference members were unable to vote on business matters. We continued on with an informational meeting and, per our bylaws, the Board of Directors, carried out the business at the end of the day on Saturday. They voted on the 2021 Business Meeting Minutes and on the 2022 Nominating Slate.

The Board of Directors has already tasked a Bylaws Committee led by Rev. Jeremy Rose, Cathedral of Hope Dallas, to review the bylaws. Be on the look out for more information from the Conference E-news.

The highlight of the event was the installation of Rev. Phil Hodson as the South Central Conference's Conference Minister. Rev. Arlene Turner crafted a beautiful service and Rev. John Vertigan preached an excellent sermon calling the South Central Conference to action and to embrace our unique time, place and opportunity to be and share God's love.

A Commitment to Covenant

“We are autonomous,” or, “We are congregational,” is an often heard refrain in UCC local churches. But the truth is our polity is covenantal. Each expression of the Church exists in relationship to the others.

Though the UCC’s polity was understood to be covenantal, it wasn’t until the 2000 revision that the Constitution and Bylaws spoke more clearly on our covenantal polity. It now reads, “Within the United Church of Christ, the various expressions of the church relate to each other in a covenantal manner. Each expression of the church has responsibilities and rights in relation to the others, to the end that the whole church will seek God’s will and be faithful to God’s mission. Decisions are made in consultation and collaboration among the various parts of the structure. As members of the Body of Christ, each expression of the church is called to honor and respect the work and ministry of each other part. Each expression of the church listens, hears, and carefully considers the advice, counsel, and requests of others. In this covenant, the various expressions of the United Church of Christ seek to walk together in all God’s ways” (Constitution, Article III).

It is our covenantal polity that holds the various settings of the UCC together. Though each setting is autonomous, each is called to listen to and collaborate with the others. Our polity sets out different settings of the UCC. There is the local church. Groups of local churches unite as associations. Groups of associations unite as a conference. Conferences, in sending representatives from local churches in their conference, unite all together as a General Synod.

There is an additional expression of the UCC that is important to note as we talk of our covenanted polity. Headquartered in Cleveland, the national setting of the UCC and its staff support various denominational programs as well as the conferences, associations, and local churches. They are also involved in implementing and helping the Church live into General Synod’s decisions, pronouncements, and resolutions. Among the staff are those supporting our Covenanted Ministries: Office of General Ministries, Local Church Ministries, Wider Church Ministries, and Justice and Witness Ministries.

From Exploring UCC History, Polity and Theology

Church Leaders & Delegates Contact Information Needed

We are still looking for contact information for many of our church's lay leaders. Please complete this simple form.

Association Events

Can we do it? Yes, we can!

The Heart of Texas Annual Meeting Planning Committee has made the decision to collect hygiene kits for Back Bay Mission this year at the Conference Annual Meeting, but we didn't want to lose our tradition of the Conference collecting School Kits for Church World Services (CWS). We know how much this mission means to so many of our members. So, the Heart of Texas Association would like to challenge North Texas, Houston, and New Orleans Association in a "School Kit Challenge" and see who can put together the most school kits by our Fall Association Meetings.

A link to the CWS School Kit can be found here.

If assembling "one kit" = kit + $2

If collecting money, "one kit" = $17

Clergy Gathering

We are going to take a break from the Marks of Ministry in June so we can discuss the Annual Meeting - questions, concerns, feedback, how you want to get involved.

Church Leaders Gathering

Were you able to attend the Annual meeting but have questions? or do you have any feedback? Were you unable to attend and want to know more about what happened? Join us Wednesday, June 1 at 7 pm on zoom as we discuss this years Annual Meeting including the installation of Rev. Phil Hodson and what initiatives the Conference will be working on in 2022-2023.

Mark Your Calendars

Executive Meetings via Zoom 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

  • November 1
  • January 3
  • March 7

Association Meetings

  • Fall November 12
  • Spring March 25

Invitation to Journey # 17

On behalf of North Texas Journey, Rev. Nikki Stahl and Cathy Hansen (Friends Congregational Church Church - College Station) would like to extend a warm invitation for all Heart of Association members to join us on Journey #17 taking place Thursday, September 29th - Sunday, October 2nd.

The Journey actually started in the Brazos Association (prior to Brazos & South Texas Association merger to Heart of Texas Association), before moving to North Texas. Every Journey since then has included pilgrims and/or team leads from our Association. This year Cathy will be serving as Lay Leader and Nikki will be serving as Spiritual Leader. The hope is to have a good participation from the Heart of Texas Association.

What is the Journey?

The Journey is a three-day spiritual renewal experience based on the Cursillo tradition. The Journey is intended to strength the local church through the development of Christian disciples and leaders. It is designed for active church members and leaders who want to rekindle their faith or renew their vision!

You can find out more information here or contact Cathy and/or Nikki!

Conference & Wider Church Events

*all free unless indicated

Wednesday, June 1

  • 11:00 am Autism - Inclusive Owl UCC.org
  • 1:00 pm World Refugee Day Ecumenical Worship Service UCC.org

Thursday, June 2

  • 2:30 pm Thursday for the Soul: Insights from Strengthen the Church UCC.org

Tuesday, June 7

  • 1:00 pm Thriving in a Decade of Accelerating Change Register

Wednesday, June 8

  • 12:00 pm Discerning and Deciding: Bold Climate Action UCC.org

Thursday, June 9

  • 1:00 pm What's Next in Christian Education Register
  • 2:30 pm Thursdays for the Soul: Faithful Election Engagement in a Time of Increased Voter Suppression UCC.org

Tuesday, June 14

  • 1:00 pm Best Practices for Church Accounting Register

Thursday, June 16

  • 2:30 pm Thursdays for the Soul: Open and Affirming: the Power of Covenant UCC.org

Friday, June 17

  • 11:00 am Juneteenth: Revealing Hidden Histories UCC.org

Thursday, June 23

  • 2:30 pm Manual on Church Update UCC.org

Thursday, June 30

  • 2:30 pm An Afternoon of Theater with the Just Peace Players UCC.org
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Church Needs & Offers

1. Several churches in the Austin-area are looking for qualified accompanists and/or Director of Music. Churches, please ask your professionals if they have musical friends that may be interested. Contact Rev. Nikki Stahl for more information.

2. Anyone in need of small organ for their worship space? Contact Rev. Nikki Stahl if interested.

3. Slumber Falls is always looking for summer volunteers. Contact Rev. Jeremy Albers.

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