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HOTA September 2020 News

Our Heart of Texas Association Fall Meeting is still on for Saturday, October 10, 2020. We had planned to hold it at Hope United in Georgetown in celebration of its 10th anniversary, but as all of us know, the COVID situation has sent all of us in directions we could not have imagined several months ago. Many of our churches are not meeting in person yet, including Hope United. Hope is also in transition, as it is in the interim and pastoral search process. The plan now for our Fall Meeting is to meet via Zoom. Our Association Board will be planning that gathering over the next month, and we will send each of our churches and ministers information and a link to the meeting as soon as that planning happens. I think we can all look forward to the opportunity to share our churches' experiences, commitments, and journeys together as we gather -- always an uplifting and vitally important part of our meetings. Perhaps even more important than ever in this time will be your stories of how our churches are continuing to minister and how we are each dealing with the challenge that the COVID pandemic is presenting. We will look forward to the time when we can meet in person once again but are grateful, in the meantime, that we have the opportunity to gather easily from home online.

I am also grateful for the many ways I am aware of that our churches and pastors are adapting their ministries and even growing them in new ways over this time. Some of our churches are meeting outdoors (seated outside or by driving up and staying in cars); some are meeting in person but spread out to keep each other safer; and some, particularly those in areas with high COVID case numbers, are meeting online in various ways. Many have found that the process of learning to meet online has led to new and very creative worship formats. Some have also found that our online platforms have brought distant members and friends to worship with us as well as allowing very broad participation in discussion and study since people do not have to drive. Our pastors have met via Zoom several times to continue our "Jam and Bread" gatherings, the last time being to say farewell to Ron Trimmer as he prepared to move to Lake Ozark, Missouri. Ministers who otherwise would have had to drive a long distance have been able to gather easily with colleagues. The youth of United Christian and others who joined them were able to have a virtual mission trip this summer after the muti-church mission trip they have been part of was cancelled. A host of people have worked hard to make all of this happen. I thank God for all of you.

On Sunday, September 17th, Lee Zillman, pastor of Redeemer UCC in Marion (in the Zuehl community) will retire. Lee has served Redeemer for the past 11 years, and in ministry and in Christian ministry for forty three years. I hope to give news of the celebration in a future newsletter. At this time, I ask for prayers of thanksgiving and support for Lee and Sharon, and prayers for the ongoing service in ministry of the whole Redeemer community as they embark on this interim time.

Blessings in Christ, Liz Nash, Association Minister

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