Rey de Gloria congregation in Brownsville, Texas, has been working on their new building for over 4 years now. It is about 75% completed and they have no outstanding debt on the project as a result of much fundraising and donated labor both from outside and within the congregation. They estimate that it will take about $50,000 more to finish. They recently thought they had found a bank willing to give them a construction loan to finish the building, however, that application was recently denied. In the meantime, since the building is not being used as a church, the city has begun to assess property taxes on the building of about $5,000 per year even though once the building is finished and being used as a church it will become tax exempt. It is also anticipated that once finished they will be able to get a mortgage on the building to cover the $50,000 since that only represents about 20% of its value. Pray that the church will find a way to move this project to completion soon.
Soon after Whitestone’s Lead Pastor Kurt Horst announced on January 6 his plans to retire on June 30, the elders discussed the process of appointing a Pastoral Search Committee of seven members. As a preliminary step, members of the congregation were invited to submit up to 5 names of members whom they would support if asked to serve. One hundred unduplicated names were submitted. Those with the highest number of votes moved to the top of the short list. The elders then individually named their own top choices, which again sharpened the focus on those who would be invited to serve. The invitation to each of the prospects consisted of a personal visit with the congregational chair, who also serves as chair of the Elder Team, and one other elder. In that process, only one person declined because of some schedule issues. So within about a one-week time frame, the committee members were confirmed and announced to the congregation. Some of the committee expressed not only interest, but eagerness, to serve in this important task. From the beginning of the process, the elders have gathered weekly for a time of prayer, acknowledging that God’s spirit has been evident from start to finish!
Crystal Springs is a rural congregation with the church building located several miles southwest of Harper, Kansas. With an attendance of 15-20, Crystal Springs functions in many ways like a small group, providing pastoral care for each other and reaching out to people in the community. Congregants include K-12 educators, farmers and medical professionals. Pastor Josh Patterson reports that the Adult Sunday School class recently completed a study of Hesston College Professor Michele Hershberger’s book God’s Story Our Story: Exploring Faith and Life which generated high interest and new insights. This class is now following up with an article by article of the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective.
–Howard Keim Regional Conference Minister
January 5th was a wonderful day for Iglesia Menonita Fuente de Agua Viva. Pastors Alejo and Alma Solis did not attend the meeting as they were scheduled to. They did not attend because they were doing something very important. Since the church began meeting they have used folding metal chairs because they could not afford anything else. For some time now the congregation has been saving to buy new chairs for the sanctuary. On this day seventy new chairs with a pocket and a shelf for hymnals arrived. It was a dream come true. They had been saving for the for the longest time. Then one day about a month ago, a member said I will put in some of what is needed, then another said I will do the same. Soon they had collected all the funds needed for the chairs. God answers prayers for those who trust in Him. Fuente de Agua Viva trusts in the Lord.
–Lupe Aguilar (Regional Conference Minister)