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Newsletter 2022-09-07: A Summary of Transitions Conversation #1

“What is missing from the HMC timeline?”

Review the timeline and reflect on what you are seeing.

  • What is missing?

  • What are the themes?

  • What are the values expressed in this timeline?

  • Describe HMC in 2025.

  • What will it take to get there?

  • What are the current barriers?

At the end of the worship service on September 4, 2022, the congregation was asked to review the Houston Mennonite Church (HMC) timeline that has been posted on the east wall of the sanctuary for the last couple of months and reflect on what is missing from the timeline with some leading questions (posted above). We began the conversation about half way through the potluck meal and concluded at 12:30pm. About 15-20 people participated. A few parents were not able to participate because they were taking care of their children. Since the group was small, we did not break into smaller groups. The conversation was informal and moderated by Transitional Pastor Lee Lever.

There is affirmation for the Anabaptist/Mennonite theology and identity of HMC representing a Third Way between Catholic, Protestant and Evangelicalism. It was noted that in recent years HMC has become more progressive, especially with the decision to be an open and affirming congregation. This openness has attracted people from other traditions, some are refugees from the evangelical world, looking for something different. There are fewer university students attending. Folks who are newer to HMC and to the Mennonite tradition sometimes feel like outsiders as they encounter language, customs, songs, and wider church connections that are unfamiliar.

The current timeline does not reflect all the people who have come and gone from the HMC community through the years, especially Twila and Ed Wiens who have been a significant part of HMC for so many years (since 1969?). The timeline does not reflect all the ministries that have taken place through the church through the years - Track Club, Daycare, 10,000 Villages, Mennonite Central Committee Relief Sale (Peace Sale), etc.

For those who have been settled at HMC for some time and see people come and go, HMC can feel like a “Way Station for Pilgrims.” The burden of supporting the church and its ministries often falls to them even as they are glad to welcome new people to the church. Houston Mennonite Church needs more people and more money. The children and youth ministries of HMC are struggling with attendance and with not having enough volunteers.

The timeline does not convey the trauma experienced by HMC through the pandemic and through times of congregational conflict. Even though those are difficult times they do offer the opportunity for transformation. The pandemic helped us see the potential of using technology to connect with a wider audience, especially those who are unable to attend in person and those who may want to visit virtually before meeting in person.

Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts, feelings, and observations. May God’s Spirit guide us and help us as we explore the journey together. Lee Lever (he/him), Transitional Pastor Houston Mennonite Church




  • Sunday, Sept. 11

    • Care Team meeting at 3 PM on Zoom

  • Monday, Sept. 12

    • Worship Team meeting at 7 PM on Zoom

  • Saturday, Sept. 17 (date change)

    • Games Night & Snackluck from 6-9 PM at HMC

      • Bring your favorite games and something yummy to share (and a friend or two) for a fun-filled evening!

  • Sunday, Sept. 18

    • Peace Sunday

      • Theme: “End Racism, Build Peace”

      • International Day of Peace is Sept. 21

    • HMC TransParent Closet Reboot after service

      • "Let’s meet after the service to plan for a reboot to provide services for the Boutique and support of the LGBTQ+ community. Come with your ideas to help with the success." (from Pastor LaTayna)

  • Monday, Sept. 19

    • Church Council meeting at 7 PM on Zoom

  • Saturday, Sept. 24

    • Drag Bingo at FCC Katy

      • All Ages Show, 5–7 PM

      • Adults Only Show, 8:30–10:30 PM

      • Join for a fun-filled evening of bingo hosted by Drag Queen Kiki Dion Van Whales.

      • Pastor LaTayna: "As most of you are aware, HMC has been partnering with FCC-Katy to support the Transparent Closet Boutique and LGBTQ+ community. FCC-Katy is hosting a Drag Bingo Night on September 24. As word has spread about the event, they have been receiving an overwhelming number of direct threats and hate on social media. Please offer your support and encouragement on their Facebook page. If you’re in the area, please come support the event in person!"

  • Sunday, Oct. 30

    • "Thanksgiving Meal in a Bag" Collection Begins for East Spring Branch Food Pantry


Resources to love yourself and your church family

Resources to help you grow as a follower of Jesus



Volunteers are needed this fall in McAllen, TX, Jennings, LA and Paradise, CA. Those who would like any additional information can call 1-800-241-8111 or email

Region 3 Annual Meeting

Date/Time: Friday, September 16, 2022 @ 5:00pm and Saturday, September 17, 2022 until 2:00pm

Location: Meeting in a hybrid fashion

By MC USA staff with input from John Roth

Work has officially begun on the first ever Anabaptist Bible to be published by MennoMedia in time for the 500th anniversary of Anabaptism in 2025. “This project is an invitation for the Anabaptist churches to gather and listen to and through the Incarnate Word – Jesus,” said Sue Park-Hur, Mennonite Church USA’s director of racial/ethnic engagement, who participated in the conference. “I’m excited that the leaders of this project are committed to the challenging work of including diverse voices of Anabaptist groups.”

Learn how you can be involved in Anabaptism at 500 (many opportunities available), visit

Mail Checks to our building at :

Houston Mennonite Church Attn: Treasurer 1231 Wirt Road Houston, TX 77055-6852


Houston Mennonite Church Leadership

  • Pastor (Transitional): Lee Lever

  • Pastor (Associate): LaTayna Purnell

  • Worship Team Lead: LaTayna Purnell

  • Adult Ministries: LaTayna Purnell

  • Children’s Ministry Coordinator: Lauren Hall

  • Stewardship, Facilities, & Finances: Mitch Miller

  • Treasurer: Emily Voran

  • Volunteer Coordinator: Lynda Voran

  • Care Team: Gerald Gehman, Jane McNair, LaTayna Purnell, Bill Cork, Elizabeth Melendez

  • Hospitality Team Lead: David Cooper

  • Administrative Assistant: Clarke Ohlendorf

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