Sunday, September 20, 2015

Love Wins!

Awesome, Awesome, Awesome! That's the only word to describe St. Stephen UMC's appearance in this year's Alan Ross Freedom Pride Parade in Dallas' Oak Lawn neighborhood on Sunday, Sept. 20. In fact, many who were there feel like we had a second service of "church" throughout the parade.

What's more, Love Won! St. Stephen's first-ever float won the award for Best Non-Profit Entry from the parade organizers. Credit goes to our amazing accompanist Michael Carr, who came up with the design for our float, which included dance music and a bubble-maker; Michael's partner, Thomas Ellis, woodworker extraordinaire for the framing; and to everyone from the congregation who helped build and prepare it over two Saturdays. Here are some photos to show you what we mean:

John and Cynthia Astle

Float slogans: "God's Doors Are Open for All!" and "Love All, Worship One."

Tina Simpson, Lowell Sargent and Forrest Oliver

In addition to the fun of being in the parade, all participants reported that the reaction of the crowd of parade watchers was the big highlight of the day. Social Justice chair Teddi Fulenwider and Cynthia Astle both reported on Facebook that they got choked up with tears a few times upon seeing the amazement and gratitude on the spectators' faces as we showered them with God's love. The whole experience was an affirmation that our congregation is fulfilling our vision of proclaiming, believing and serving God's unconditional love to the world.

There's only one problem now: How do we top this year's witness in NEXT year's Pride Parade?

Stewardship Week 2

Friends, we got a little behind in posting our stewardship videos with all the activity going on at St. Stephen. Here is Week 2 of the entries prepared by Blake and Jessica Fulenwider, David and Jeni Munden, and Amy Martindale. Week 3 will be posted later this week.

Be sure to come next Sunday and turn in your pledge form as our campaign concludes. Our support for St. Stephen, in the form of our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness, makes it possible to fulfill our vision to spread God's unconditional love far and wide!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Big Worship Themes Coming!

Fall will bring a veritable harvest of Sunday observances, reports the Worship Committee from its Aug. 31 meeting.

September will continue with our Stewardship emphasis, which is being ably presented by a special task group of our young adults: Jessica and Blake Fulenwider and David and Jennifer Munden. (See below for a link to their first video offering).

October will bring a series of significant Sunday observances.

 Oct. 4 is World Communion Sunday, when all Protestant denominations around the world join together in Holy Communion, also known as Eucharist or the Lord's Supper. This day represents our Christian unity through the sacrament.

Oct. 11 is Children's Sabbath, when we focus on ministry with children. This year's theme is “How Long Must I Cry for Help? Bending the Arc toward God’s Vision of Justice for Children.” St. Stephen will have a special liturgy that will include a visual presentation of children around the world and our men's chorus singing "Prayer of the Children."

Oct. 18 will be Laity Sunday, the day we honor the ministry of all baptized Christians in all walks of life, not solely church activities. Our Lay Leader, Keith Fulenwider, will bring the message on this day, and St. Stephen laypeople will lead worship.

Oct. 25 we will celebrate Music Heritage Sunday, and our choir director Ryan Forkner will bring the message. Music has long been one of St. Stephen's strongest ministries, and on this Sunday we will celebrate how our congregation's musical gifts draw people to God through Jesus Christ.

Altogether these special observances show the vital and vibrant faith community that is St. Stephen United Methodist Church. Please mark your calendars now for these dates so we can celebrate together!