Stories of Faith in Action

We’re going to have a series of posts from people in the congregation about how they live out their faith.  Today’s first story is from Mary Mora, one of our Meals on Wheels Volunteers.

COUNTING OUR BLESSINGS

When I get back into the car after delivering a meal to one of our clients, I often get to tell my partner, Ken, “that’s number three for today”! Through the “Meals on Wheels” program we have encountered many wonderful, grateful people who are happy to give us a blessing for taking care of them in this way. It makes us feel good, too. After all, isn’t that usually the product of volunteerism? The “MOW” is a perfect vehicle for directly having an impact that helps senior citizens, handicapped persons, and low income individuals that otherwise might go hungry receive a hot, balanced meal. Our part, the delivery of the meals, is not complicated. The overall program is very organized and we receive sufficient training and back-up supervision that makes volunteering easy. We pick up the meals in a special warming oven in Zion’s kitchen in the Family Life Center and, along with a cold bag with milk, juices, fruit and snack, we begin delivering to some 8 to 12 clients. We are generally finished in under two hours. We have chosen to deliver on Thursdays, twice a month. Others may want to go every Friday, for example, or three times a month, or simply be a back-up for a friend who cannot make it a certain day.

It’s also a good way to keep an eye on these particular individuals and insure a measure of good health, not to mention their thanks, and “God Bless You(s):”

If you are interested in more information, please call Coordinator David Wille, 210-647-0404.
Mary Mora

 

The Gates

Hi everyone!

It’s been a busy few days at Zion.  Here are a few pictures of the changes that have taken place.

Trailer

*The construction trailer has been delivered and is at the corner of our property near the Church of Christ and 1604.  It occupies several parking spaces next to the pump house.

 

Construction Pictures

A few things to notice:

*On the left side of the picture you’ll notice an area of the ground that is being prepared for a sidewalk.  This will tie into existing sidewalks so people can access the conference room door while the church is open.

*The trailers have been moved.  One has moved next to the Music Apse and will be used for storage.  The other one is in our parking lot and will be taken off site soon.

Fences

*The safety fence around the construction zone is almost complete.  As a reminder, this now means that the Gazebo is now closed until construction is finished.  If you wish to enter Church #3 (the Sanctuary), you can use the narthex entrance on the Leslie Road side or the conference room entrance on the 1604 side.

Yours in this adventure!!

Pastor Russell

Entrances to Church #3

Yesterday we shared this picture on our blog and letting you know that two areas of the church property will have safety fencing up during construction.  As a reminder, these areas are off limits, even on Sunday mornings or when construction workers aren’t present!

Campus Map

 

 

One of the things you’ll notice is that the Gazebo entrance to Church #3 is in the construction zone.  Starting November 16 this entrance will be closed throughout construction, even on Sunday mornings.  The door facing out to the 1604 parking lot that is in the conference room will now be unlocked when the church is open.

In addition to the doors closest to the gazebo being closed during construction, once we start worshiping in the FLC, additional entrances to Church #3 will be closed during construction.

Starting in early 2016, the narthex, sanctuary, and music apse will be in the construction zone and will be off limits until construction is over in Fall 2016.  This means that in early 2016, we expect all the doors that lead to the narthex will be closed until construction is over.  When that happens the door outside the conference room (facing the 1604 side of the Church’s property) will become the ONLY entrance into Church #3.

With that said, we need your help with a couple of things:

-First of all, we ask that everyone have a sense of generosity and adventure.  This isn’t forever and it will lead to some wonderful changes here at Zion.

-From the 1604 parking lot, the Conference Room door will now be open when the church is open.  If you have limited mobility, please note that this is a grassy, uneven walk to the sidewalk next to the sanctuary.

-If you are physically able, please use the less accessible parking spaces on Sunday mornings so that the closer spaces can be used by those with limited mobility, small children, and visitors.

 

The Adventure Begins, Part 2

We need to give you some important updates about what’s happening at Zion. As we said yesterday, we invite you to see everything that happens next week as a way for us to practice generosity with each other and see this as an adventure.

Here are the major things that will happen over the next few days:
-The portables next to Church #3 are being moved this Friday and Saturday. One of the portables will be going off church property while another will be moved next to the Music Apse for church use.

-The construction zone will be marked off the week of November 16 with temporary safety fences. There are two areas that are off limits and will require us to adjust accordingly.
-The first area is at the corner of the property adjacent to the Church of Christ. The parking spaces on the 1604 side of the Pump House and the lawn next to it will have the construction trailer and storage for construction supplies.
-The other, larger area is in the middle of the church property. It includes the area around the gazebo, an edge of the FLC on the 1604 side, and much of the lawn on the 1604 side.

Campus Map
The highlighted areas in yellow will be fenced off starting the week of November 16.

Again, it is important to remember that these areas are off limits, even on Sunday mornings or other times when construction workers aren’t present.

The Adventure Begins!

I am so thankful for this past Sunday. We had a wonderful day where we gathered for worship, offered their intentions to give for 2016, had our annual meeting, and broke ground on the new facilities for ministry. Thanks be to God for all the hard work that went into making that day so meaningful!

This past Sunday at the annual meeting I talked about two important words that will mark our time together for the next year – generosity and adventure.

Generosity – When we talk about generosity, most of the time people think we’re reaching for their pocket books to ask people to give more of their financial resources. While money is a part of generosity, this next year we will have a lot of opportunities to practice generosity. During construction we will need to have a generous spirit with each other. As I said Sunday, we are going to be an equal opportunity offender! Everybody is getting (Everyone will be) displaced over this next year and that means that everyone’s toes will be stepped on. It will be easy for us to get grumpy about things, but Pastor Dave and I want to invite every person in this community of faith to embody generosity in all we say and do, especially over this next year.

Adventure – Christianity is an adventure. God’s call on our lives takes us to places we’d never imagine doing things that seem inconceivable. We can choose to see this as a burden where we complain about all the things we can’t do or we can see this as an adventure, part of our journey with God. We are choosing to see this as an adventure and we invite you all to come along!

As we begin this construction project, let us pray.

O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(A prayer from Evening Prayer, Evangelical Lutheran Worship.)

Rayburn Middle School

Several months back, we started having conversations with the principal of Rayburn Middle School, Scott McKenzie, who happens to be a member of Zion.

Rayburn has a large number of students that live in poverty.  Earlier in the school year our church donated some of the school supplies it collected to the students at Rayburn.  They sent a thoughtful note that I referenced in an earlier blog.

Today I received this wonderful email from Scott sharing this link.  In the email he mentioned that some of the kids we helped with school supplies are in the picture in this article.

God calls us to share the resources we have to be a blessing to others.  I’m thankful for the ways in which the people of God have stepped up in ways like this to bless youth with basic supplies that are needed for their education.

Ever thankful for your partnership in the gospel,

Pastor Russell

Connect*Give*Grow Update

There’s been a lot of stuff happening that we thought you’d like to know.  Here are some of the highlights:

1.  Mark your calendars for November 8!  This is an important day in the life of our congregation.  After worship, we will have our annual meeting and then at 1:00 we will have our groundbreaking for our new facilities.  After the groundbreaking, we will gather in the FLC for a soup luncheon.

2.  Our architects have been hard at work with our general contractor finalizing the details for our construction.

3.  The first steps are starting!   Look carefully at this picture:

Theatre Renovation - Step 1

Do you see the speakers in the top center of the picture?  If you come into the FLC now, you’ll see they aren’t there any more.  We’ve upgraded the speakers and re-positioned them so we can improve the acoustics in the room.

Do you see the people holding the two people on the ladders in the picture?  They are busy taking down the lights because we are upgrading the lighting system in the FLC for our theatre ministry.  The new lights will be higher quality and consume much less electricity.  So, when you come to Little Shop of Horrors at the end of October, you can come knowing that your contributions to Connect*Give*Grow helped with this.

4.  Tomorrow (Wednesday) staff in the portables behind the gazebo will be moving to temporary office space throughout the campus.  Movers will be coming on tomorrow morning to move their furniture.  Here’s who this impacts:
Karen Stein will move to FLC 203.
Travis Baker will move to FLC 204.
Jen Bauer will move to FLC 204.
Sammy Mikulski will move to the Music Apse.

Please note: the doors to the FLC will remained locked throughout the week.  If you are on campus and have to see Karen, Travis, or Jen, please stop by the church office or call the office when you get to the church campus (210-688-3090).

5.  Our friends at Kids of the Kingdom have moved to their new home at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church on Bandera Road this weekend.  We give God thanks for their presence here at Zion for the last years and pray for God’s blessings as they go to their new home.

God’s blessings!!

Pastor Russell

WIGIAT?

One of my favorite questions I was taught to ask is, “Where is God in All of This?”  It’s a great question to help us to begin to realize that God’s presence is surrounding us in all of life.  I thought I’d share two moments of God’s presence in the midst of ordinary moments that happened today:

1.  This morning I received an email from a Northside ISD principal who works at a high poverty school.  We were able to take school supplies to this school and I received a touching thank you note from them.  Here’s a portion of the note:

“On the first day of school, a small sixth grade female student was walking around campus with half of her needed school supplies in a trash bag. She provided what she could. As soon as I noticed her, I took her aside and gave her a backpack and the missing school supplies. Her smile and demeanor brightened immediately. Your donation enabled this event to happen and made a difference in the lives of many of our students. Our kids want support, not sympathy. Thank you for supporting our kids.”

2.  I also found out that we collected over $580(!) with our most recent Blessed Change collection.  Every fifth Sunday we ask people to bring spare change for a cause to support God’s mission in the world.  This time we’re buying a great resource from the wider church called Prayer Book for the Armed Services.  We already give this important resource to people when we know that they are being deployed.  What we collected on Sunday will be given to our partners in ministry in the chaplain’s office at Joint Base San Antonio so they can give them to soldiers stationed at JBSA.

What is striking to me is how God takes ordinary things and uses them in ways we can’t begin to imagine.  A few coins dropped from our pockets or purses on Sunday morning become enough to order lots of books for soldiers serving our country in places across the world.  People purchasing school supplies at the store blesses a young girl in our community.

Thanks for your generous support of these ministries!  What you do makes a difference in a world and is powerful way to serve God by serving others.

Blessed to be in this partnership with you,

prp

School Supplies Update

Today’s blog is from Roni Harlan, president of the Women of Zion.

Thank You Zion! We set a goal of collecting enough school supply items to complete 150 backpacks for Lutheran World Relief. But, because of the generosity of this congregation we surpassed our goal and will now be able to send 170 backpacks! Plus, with the extra items we had remaining we were able to help a local San Antonio school that was in dire need of supplies for children that will start school this month with few or no supplies. This congregation is so amazing when it comes to helping others, and because of you, 170 children will now have much-needed supplies not to mention the children that will benefit right here in town. On behalf of the Women of Zion, we thank you again for all the support. We couldn’t help others through our ministry if it wasn’t for you!

Connect*Give*Grow Update

This past Sunday the chair of our building team, Don Josephson, shared with the congregation an update about their work.  We thought we’d share the highlights of what’s going on.

-Our architects have been hard at work on detailed drawings.  They’ve met with pastors, staff, and the building team several times to plan out the new education building and modifications to the sanctuary.
-Rob continues to work with the architects and organ builder with the organ that is currently in Midland.
-Sammy and Rob continue to work on plans for helping to make some improvements to the FLC to help with the sustainability of our drama ministry.

We have a tentative timeline of construction.  The important word in that sentence is tentative because in any construction project, things could change.

Early September 2015:  Drawings for the buildings will be completed.
September-October: We will go through the permitting process with the City of San Antonio.
Late Fall: Groundbreaking.  Construction with the classroom building begins.

Early January 2016:  Worship shifts from the sanctuary to the FLC.
Late January:  The current organ (aka Penelope) is removed from the sanctuary.
Early February: Sanctuary renovations begin while classroom building construction is ongoing.
April-May: The Midland organ is dismantled, moved, and stored here at Zion.
End of May-Early June: Construction ends in the sanctuary.
June and July: The Midland organ is rebuilt in the Sanctuary.
End of August-Early September: Finishing construction over organ installation is completed.
Mid-September:  Construction on sanctuary and classroom building is completed.

We give God thanks for the hard work of the building team and ask for your prayers as we enter into the next steps.