This Week's News and Updates
August 06, 2019
See highlights from last week's service by clicking here.
Making our own Road
By Stephanie Lotz
We’ve been walking with Barbara Brown Taylor on her journey of “Finding God in the Faith of Others.” I so wish I’d had this book to guide me back in 2011 when I wanted to build a road to “other.” One time at the Forest Hill Cici’s Pizza, a Muslim girl walked in with friends. Spirit tap-tap-tapped on my heart, “Um, you were saying something about bridging the gap?” I knew right then I had to somehow convince this total stranger to speak about her Islamic faith at our Christian church. (Heh, sure. No presh.) Fumbling towards connection, I nervously walked the green mile over to her table, having no idea what to say to keep from looking like a total stalker. Just as I arrived in front of her I saw she was wearing the exact same pair of high heels I had at home. (“Heeere’s your sign.”) Shoes were my excuse to get up in this girl’s bidness. By the end of the convo I had her number AND her agreement to speak on a Wed pm at Spirit Road. (Mic drop.) My kids and I went over several times to her Syrian family’s house a mile away from church. They were surprised when I showed up with a hostess gift of gourmet dates (I’d done my homework). And I was surprised to learn that her modern Muslim mom chose not to wear a hijab, while her daughter loved wearing it.

Another time I went to a Hindu temple and saw firsthand how in love they were with “the Lord.” Having been raised in charismatic church services, I recognized the enraptured adoration they had for Krishna was the same I’d had for Jesus. Only difference was that the Lord had blue skin, and since Avatar had just come out, I was kinda diggin’ it. (I bet the Smurfs worship Krishna.) The Beatles’ George Harrison wrote the song, My Sweet Lord, “I really want to see you; I really want to know you.” Now, I got it; I’d been telling the Lord the same thing for years. My gifts of basmati rice and guavas (more homework) would be put to use. I ate lunch with them at their beautiful, outdoor, garden café. I was so in awe of their teamwork, servant-hospitality that I didn’t mind eating my veggies.

Later I took the boys to the Buddhist monastery temple down Forest Hill Drive, simply because it was a mile away in my own backyard. In the country that made them my neighbors, and I felt compelled to make sure these immigrants felt welcome in the Dixie-flag territory of Yee-haw, Tx. They appreciated the gifts of jasmine rice and red flowers (homework again) and fed us lunch right along with everyone else. There were many stares; they probably thought we were lost (you in the wrong ‘hood). In a sea of 200 dark-haired people, we stuck out like the blonde, Aryan Nation, Vonn Trapp family had just made a wrong turn. I naively asked the bookstore volunteer if meditation was open to the public. The man humored me, “Sure, the monks start every morning at 4:00 and end at 9:00… (5 hours. In. a. row?) … and once they start, there is no moving.” (My rear would be asleep within the first 10 minutes.) I asked, “Not even to go to the bathroom?” He just looked at me; we both knew I was out of my league.

I didn’t make myself go meet these other faiths because I wanted to switch teams. It was because I could no longer abide the distance between them and me. I had to do something about it. And since our paths never cross, I had to make my own road. Fully realizing I’d be the minority in those places, I embraced the stretching feeling I would get from that discomfort. Did I look like a fool? Yep. But they welcomed me with warmth and hospitality anyway.

I realized no homework had been necessary; the only gift I needed to bring was my authenticity. The I-get-you kind of empathy radiates from the human-ness we all know: love, pain, longing, loss. I know how hard it is to acknowledge our personal deserts. But, how can we connect with others if we have not fully connected with our own selves? This Sunday let’s link arms and walk together on a new road, being authentically human, not just outwardly with “other” - but inwardly with our selves.

Favored Hospitality
Passes State Inspection!

After nearly 2 years of working on the state licensing process, Favored Hospitality finally passed their State of TX Life Safety Code Inspection. Thank you to everyone who helped install bathroom fans, repair lighting, create shower space, office space, rest space and called contractors for various inspections. Whew, it is time to celebrate! The Favored Hospitality team is planning their Grand Opening Celebration, everyone is invited! We will provide details as soon as we have them!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Sprit Café will be taking a summer break. We will let you know when we are ready to resume activities!

My name is Sarah Frantz and I am a doctoral candidate in Developmental Psychology. I was born and raised in Fort Worth and now attend graduate school in New York City (The Graduate Center, City University of New York). I am writing to you because I am in town until mid-July working on my dissertation research and I feel fathers involved in your church, Agape' MCC, would be great participants for my study.

My research is on the ways in which societal expectations and gender norms impact how gay and straight fathers in North Texas and New York City raise their young children (2-10 year-olds). There is very little psychological research on fathers in general, but especially on gay fathers. From the research we do have, it is very clear that gay fathers are wonderful parents and their children are thriving. Unfortunately, bills have been passed recently in Texas that greatly limit the paths available for LGBTQ couples to become parents.

This study is social justice oriented and I hope to provide a voice for gay fathers while demonstrating their many unique strengths as parents. It includes a short interview and a survey. Total participation time is less than an hour and I can meet participants anywhere that is convenient for them. Additionally, every participant receives a $20 Amazon gift card as a thank you.
“Let us pray for all the people of the world, especially those that allow love to occupy their entire heart despite the adversity they continue to face. Give omnipresent courage to the ones who work daily to restore hope and light. 

God, allow your radical acceptance for all people echo through every country. Grant each and every person the ability to feel compassion and love with the magnitude that you feel compassion and love for each of us. 

Help us seek moments and positions to promote positive influence. Grant us the power to pull marginalized individuals from the margins and onto the stages and pulpits so that we may learn from their experiences. Encourage us to build communities of action-oriented love. 

We ask this in all your holy names. Amen.”


King Of Peace MCC
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
I have reached 100% of my goal for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk, for this, I am truly grateful. T he Susan G Komen Organization has a goal to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths by 50% in the US by 2026.

Their mission statement reads: “Save lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer.”

PLEASE continue to sponsor SGK by donating to my walk!

August Birthdays
08/05 Sherri Spann
08/10 Lisa O'Grady
08/17 Ashleigh Wolfer-Stephens
08/19 Tammy Broaddus
08/28 Carrie Wynn
08/31 Barbara Brittain
Sunday - August 11, 2019

The Gathering - Media

Call to Worship - Rev. Robert Myers

Song of Welcome - "Shine on Us"

Words of Welcome - Rev. Robert Myers

Time of Greeting - Community

Time with the Children - Trish Ashton

Response - "This Little Light of Mine"

Song of Preparation- " Word of God Speak"

Sacred Text - Contemporary Reading / 2 Timothy 1:7 - Lisa O'Grady

Song of Response - "Word of God Speak"

Time of Teaching - “The Desert of Oz" - Ms. Stephane Lotz

Centering Song - "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"

Community Prayer - Leigh Wolfer

Prayer Response - "God Is Holding Your Life"

Time of Offering - Cassy Batts
"I Could Sing of Your Love Forever"

Celebration of Holy Communion - Rev. Robert Myers

Song of Sending Forth - "Kyrie Eleison"

The Sending Forth - Ms. Stephanie Lotz
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