Your Quarterly Update from the State Office Coordinator
by Marcus Brewer
Greetings from the State Office and the Executive Board!
I hope you’re enjoying the onset of fall weather and all the other joys of the autumn season. We’ve had an active period the last three months, in large part due to Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. Our Texas Free Will Baptist churches were fortunate, in that most escaped any noticeable damage to their buildings and property and the few that were damaged were able to readily identify and begin repairs. Based on the reports we received, three churches bore the brunt of the damage we received: Authentic Church (Victoria), Eastside Church (Houston), and Iglesia Bautista Libre (Houston).
- Authentic Church was in the rare position of not having opened their doors for services yet, as they were nearing completion of their facilities to prepare for their first service. They had to replace their brand-new privacy fence and repair a broken window and some water damage. Despite the difficulties, they were not only able to make repairs, but they were also able to serve as a relief station to distribute water and supplies to other Victoria residents in need…and then they had their first official worship service on Sunday, October 22.
- Eastside Church had a large amount of water in their building that required replacing much of the flooring and baseboards, but the main sanctuary was undamaged and repairs were initiated quickly. Eastside was then able to donate goods and services to the nearby school in their neighborhood, much of which was inundated by high water for days.
- Iglesia Bautista Libre also was located in an area in which many people’s homes were affected much more than the church building. They were able to host and coordinate a number of outreach events to their surrounding community to provide clean water, food, and other supplies to those with little to no access to them.
In addition to these churches’ activities, other churches opened their doors and donated their time and resources to help others in need:
- Woodforest Church (Magnolia) served as a distribution point for trailer-loads of supplies to be sent all across Houston, coordinating with other FWB churches and other ministry and charity organizations both within Texas and out of state. Their members also directly served their community by providing needed supplies and providing labor to help with cleanup and repair efforts.
- Eagle Heights Church (Richmond) opened their doors to serve as an overnight shelter during the peak of the storm and its aftermath, temporarily housing neighbors and others without shelter for several days until nearby floodwaters receded. Their members also helped in their area with cleanup and repair efforts at nearby homes
- Collin Creek Church (Plano) quickly established a relief fund to which their members and anyone else could donate online to offset costs of cleanup, repair, and supplies for our churches in need.
You may notice a theme among all of these churches, that they were willing to give of what they had to help others, and much of what they were able to give also came from our other churches across the state. The individual churches mentioned above, as well as the State Office and FWB Master’s Men headquarters (and probably many other sources we’re not aware of), received monetary donations totaling well over $15,000 over just a few weeks. We are so very grateful to each of you who gave of your time, money, and resources to not only help our churches in need but also allow our churches to show the love of Christ to the communities they serve.
Space does not permit a thorough retelling of all that took place in response to Hurricane Harvey, but if you are a subscriber or follower of the Texas Challenge, you have been able to read about many of the above activities in more detail. Mark Headrick has reformatted the Challenge in this website. Links to new articles are posted on the State Association’s Facebook page, and weekly summaries will be sent out through e-mail. If you are not already a subscriber to the Texas Challenge e-mail list, send an e-mail to Mark Headrick at email@example.com. (That address is also where you can send news items, photos, and other information about the goings-on in your church and district.)
We have two “Save the Date” items for you to add to your calendars:
- The 2018 All Boards Meeting will be January 25-27 at Fellowship FWB Church in Bryan. While the purpose of this meeting is for the respective state-level board members to conduct their business, non-board members may also attend some of the discussions and join in the fellowship.
- The 2018 Texas Youth Conference has been announced for June 13-16 by the Christian Education Board. The conference is slated to take the place of the youth retreat that has been held in April the past few years; more details on the program will be released as they’re finalized.
Finally, it’s been awhile since we’ve shared this reminder: please visit the State Association website at www.texasfwb.org and review your district’s and church’s information in the directory. We’ve had a few items on the website that have been recently reported to be out of date, and it never hurts to double-check that your phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and mailing addresses are current. If you see any information that needs to be changed, please send updates and corrections to me at the State Office.
I hope you all have a great autumn, and as always, you can contact us with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.