Thursday, November 18, 2010

St. John's Epistle for November 18, 2010

Dear church members and friends of St. John's,

We did a great job hosting the presbytery meeting last Saturday! Thanks to everyone who contributed their time and talent for this worthy effort. Bill E and his crew were great on the logistics and setting up Fellowship Hall for lunch. Mary Hs and her crew were terrific on preparing and delivering the meal. Everything went smoothly in every way. Thank you to everyone who made it happen. We received many accolades and much praise for our successful effort.

The reason for the big crowd at the meeting is that this was the biennial meeting where we vote on the question of whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve as elders and pastors. Once again, the vote was close but lost by 12 out of 297 votes. This issue has been debated repeatedly since 1974. In fact, it use to come up each November until we stopped having General Assembly meetings every year. They were cut back to meeting every two years in large part to provide something of a breather to the presbyteries who were having to vote on this divisive issue every single year. In the meal blessing that came after the vote, here is some of the prayer that I offered as the host pastor of the meeting:

We thank You, Lord, for the debates we have had and the spirit in which they were conducted. We give you thanks, Lord, that whether we are disturbed by or pleased at the outcome of the vote, we all are one in mission; we all are one in call; our varied gifts united by Christ the Lord of all.

I think some of our members who were there for the debate were impressed by how it was conducted. Two or three dozen people spoke passionately about this issue, alternating each time between one who was in favor of the motion and the next one who was against the motion. Each person was given 2 minutes to make their case. At the end of 90 seconds a yellow card was waived and at the end of 2 minutes a red card was waived which signified that their time was up whether they were finished speaking or not. We do debate well in the Presbyterian Church. Coming to a decision that all can agree to live with is another matter. In any case, this discussion will be continued I am sure.

Speaking of another "hot" topic, which is money, at this time we have received $323,316 in pledges from 77 pledge units. Thank you to all who have stepped up to the plate. Last year we had 90 pledge units pledge $380,728 so we still have a ways to go. If you have not yet pledged but want to take on this spiritual discipline, pledge cards are available in the narthex (the entry room of the sanctuary) and in the church office.

This Sunday is Harvest Sunday when we bring items to donate to Braes Interfaith Ministry.

This Sunday is also our Holiday Gift Mart featuring a Craft Sale and Silent Auction and other exciting events. Bring your check books and give for mission from 12-3 pm in Fellowship Hall.

This Sunday is also our Community Thanksgiving Service at 4 pm at Temple Beth Israel.

You may now read the latest edition of The Beacon online. Click the blue link in the previous sentence and it may take awhile to download but you should be able to read it on your computer. Let me know if you have trouble reading it this way. I'd like to hear how it works for you.

As for those on our prayer list, George is better and at home, Mary Hz is better at Memorial Hermann Hospital and coming home soon, and Lois is very ill at St. Joseph's and they have discontinued her chemotherapy. We will keep all of them in our hearts and in our prayers.

Peace of Christ be with you,

Pastor Jon

St. John's Presbyterian Church
5020 West Bellfort / Houston, TX 77035
T. 713.723.6262 / F. 713.723-4015 / Email:
Worship Service: Sunday, 10:30 am / Sunday School: 9:00 am