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Newsletter 2022-10-12: Creator, we know that you are love and compassion

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” - Philippians 4:7-8, NRSV

Monday, October 10, was World Mental Health Day. It is an annual global event aiming to promote, educate, and raise awareness of mental health issues, get people talking about their mental health, and eradicate stigmas associated with mental illness.

While visiting my daughter and vacationing in upstate New York I read the book Unexpected: A Memoir of Endurance and Triumph in Raising a Challenging Child, by Maralee Parker, who happens to be my cousin. The strength of the book is the memoir focus. Maralee shares from her journal, her daughter’s notes and letters, emails, experiences of dealing with the mental health system, medical personnel, law enforcement, neighbors, friends, family, church members, and her own reflections through the course of raising their adopted daughter from birth to adulthood. It is an honest sharing of a challenging parenting journey with a light sprinkling of how their faith perspective became stretched and more malleable because of their experiences. Maralee and her husband became involved in the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) because of their commitment to helping those affected by mental illness.

I would conjecture that everyone of us has struggled with mental illness personally or with a family member at one time or another and some of us are on a continuing journey with mental and emotional challenges. Here is a prayer composed by Reverend Susan Gregg-Schroeder from the NAMI website to accompany us on that journey:

Loving Creator, we know that you are love and compassion. We believe that you love each one of us just as we are and you walk with us on our individual journeys through life. You see the ignorance and injustice that divides and separates persons struggling with mental illness and you weep with us. Give us courage to face our challenges and open us today to the many ways you are already working in our midst. Help us to identify mental illness as the disease it is, that we might have courage and wisdom in the face of ignorance and stigma. Inspire us as we seek to overcome fear, acquire knowledge, and advocate for compassionate and enlightened treatment and services. Lead us as we open our hearts and homes, our communities and job opportunities, our houses of worship and communities of faith. Enable us to find ways to be inclusive of persons living with mental illness in our everyday lives. Be with doctors, therapists, researchers, social workers, and all those in the helping professions as they seek to overcome ignorance and injustice with care and compassion. And when we feel discouraged and hopeless in the face of so many challenges, help us to see ourselves as you see us, persons of value, worth, creativity and potential. May we come to understand the interconnectedness of mind, body and spirit in bringing about health and wholeness. And may we go forward into our communities with a renewed sense of vision, hope and possibility for the future. Amen.

Lee Lever, Transitional Pastor

Houston Mennonite Church




  • Saturday, Oct. 15

    • Work Day at HMC from 8 AM to 1 PM (come and go as available)

      • Join us to help clean-up and fix various things around the building and its premises

      • There are ways for everyone to help!

        • Have a green thumb? Handy with tools? Like to clean? Good at keeping folks hydrated and rested? Want to pick weeds?

        • If you're willing to help, there will be a way for you to contribute!

      • Contact Mitch M. or Gerald G. with questions

      • If you can, let Mitch and/or Gerald know when you may join, so they can plan projects better (not required, just helpful)

    • Shred Day at Memorial Assistance Ministries from 9 AM - 12 PM

  • Sunday, Oct. 16

    • Guest preacher, Bill Ogden, Faith Liaison for Memorial Assistance Ministries

    • 2nd Hour Transition Conversation: “Values: What’s Mennonite About Being Mennonite?”

    • Care Team Meeting on Zoom at 3 PM

  • Monday, Oct. 17

    • Church Council Meeting on Zoom at 7 PM

  • Saturday, Oct. 22

    • 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!

      • Use Facebook? RSVP to the event on our HMC Community Facebook Group

  • Sunday, Oct. 30

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

    • All Saints Sunday

      • Have someone you would like to remember, celebrate, and/or share? Start thinking and preparing now.


Resources to love yourself and your church family


Resources to help you grow as a follower of Jesus

Jeff Halper, Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and co-founder of The One Democratic State Campaign (ODSC) will be coming to Houston as part of his US tour. Join us at one or both of his events.

Jeff will be speaking at UH on the reasoning for a One Democratic State.

Saturday, October 22, 5:00pm -7:30pm

UH Student Center (South Midtown Room, 4455 University Dr, Houston, TX 77204)

He will also be speaking at Live Oak Friends Meeting on the Israeli practice of house demolitions, the issue that significantly influenced him after he moved to Israel from the US.

Sunday, October 23, 9:20am – 10:20am (between worship services)

Live Oak Friends Meeting (1318 West 26th Street, Houston, TX 77008)

The annual HPJC Peacemaker Awards Dinner will be held Saturday evening, November 12. This year's national peacemaker award recipient and keynote speaker will be Dr. Reuben Jonathan Miller. Dr. Miller is a professor at the University of Chicago and has engaged in extensive research and activism on issues of crime, punishment, racism and poverty. This annual dinner serves as one of the primary fundraisers to support HPJC programs including Peace Camp. Tickets are $100.

Information is available at

The house building project near McAllen, TX is in urgent need of volunteers beginning mid-October through mid-November. Please relay this information to persons within your circle of influence who might be willing to volunteer, or might know someone who would be willing to help. To learn more information and to volunteer, see the Mennonite Disaster Service Website.

For the months of October - December 2022, MDS is offering financial travel assistance for anyone who serves for a week or more in McAllen, Texas or Jennings, Louisiana. Contact Deanna Frey ( or call 1-800-241-8111 with any questions or to schedule a week.

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


Offering / Giving

Go Electronic: ​​Give online by clicking here or the button below. Mail Checks to our building at :

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


Houston Mennonite Staff

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