Tag Archives: Houston

A Visit with the Church of God in Hungary

Joe Cookston (far left) prays at the commissioning of the plant.

By Carl Stagner

Joe Cookston has worn a variety of hats in the Church of God in his lifetime of ministry. Currently he’s most well-known across the Movement for his leadership of CARE—the Clergy Advocacy and Resource Effort. But he’s also served faithfully in a number of important areas, including the local church. One role may not be as familiar to many in the Movement, and that is the position he holds as nonresident board member for the Church of God Hungary. In August and September, Joe and his wife Merry visited Hungary, a place that has become quite familiar and beloved by the ministry duo. Joe and Merry have since returned from the encouraging experience, blessed to report on the opportunities God is opening up in the Eastern European nation. Continue reading

Texas Church Targets Drug Abuse, Domestic Violence, Education Issues

Pastor Darius Miller at food giveaway.

By Carl Stagner

One church’s ministry to their community might not be the best for your community. You can’t address the needs of your neighbors until you know your neighbors. Motivated by a genuine love for people—not just a goal to see more bodies fill the pews—Shadydale Church of God in Houston, Texas, conducted a survey of their area. The survey, designed to determine how they could best take care of their neighbors, revealed that drug abuse, domestic violence, and educational issues were of greatest concern. In 2006, to maximize the long-term impact on the community on what mattered most, the church established what’s known as the Shadydale Community Development Corporation. More than a decade later, Pastor Darius Miller is at the helm, leading the church and community to take back what hell has stolen. Continue reading

Western PA Churches Band Together for Hurricane-Hit Texas

CHOG Albuquerque team members unloading material in Texas.

By Carl Stagner

Pastor Greg Smith lived in Houston, Texas, from 2010 to 2013, where attended First Church of God. Over those three years, he got to know Texas pastors Tim Gould, Jim Fiertag, and Tim West. During that period, he also worked on a Homeland Security grant, and was a part of a three-person team that wrote the Mass Fatality Incident Response Plan for the city of Houston and thirteen surrounding counties. Though he now lives in Pennsylvania and pastors First Church of God in Punxsutawney, the Hurricane Harvey disaster hit home for Greg. It should come as no surprise that Greg’s church would respond. But what he might not have expected was the incredible show of support from a dozen churches across Western Pennsylvania. Continue reading

Disaster Relief Urgent Request

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” —Isaiah 41:10 NIV

In light of what has been classified as truly extraordinary need, the Church of God Disaster Relief Committee is highlighting an urgent request. The current scope of devastation from natural disasters around the world is beyond our scale of imagining. The Disaster Relief Committee is working with national leaders and regional pastors in the affected regions to meet needs. Would you help? Donate now to Disaster Relief. Continue reading

Hurricane Harvey: Hope for Texas in the Aftermath of a Monster

Houston street sign warns, “Road may flood” (courtesy June Sherman).

By Carl Stagner

Church of God, it’s time. It’s time to be the hands and feet of Jesus to our brothers and sisters in Texas. It’s time to be hope to the people who have lost loved ones, homes, businesses, and churches. It’s time to make a difference. Whether God is leading you to give generously, donate supplies, or assemble work teams for upcoming opportunities to rebuild homes, now is the time to act. While this nightmare is far from over for tens of thousands of people, the outpouring of support for the Lone Star State is proving that they are not alone. The latest updates to the Church of God Ministries Disaster Relief Team are both sobering and encouraging. Continue reading

UPDATE 8-29: SE Texas Underwater as Disaster Relief Prep Underway

Houston First Church of God flooding (courtesy Tim Gould).

By Carl Stagner

UPDATE, August 29: “It feels like we are stuck living in a long, dirty shower that never stops.” The words of Jim Feirtag late Monday express what countless Texans are feeling as rains from Tropical Storm Harvey persist. The church Jim pastors, Parkgate Church of God in Pasadena, Texas, has already helped some people displaced by the storm and has made preparations to do much more in the coming weeks.

Houston First Church of God reported late Monday that the water had receded from their building with no visible damage. They thank everyone for their prayers. Unfortunately, the Church of God in Texas reports that an estimated forty-two Church of God congregations were affected by this disaster. Assessment is ongoing, but Tim Gould, pastor of Houston First Church, is now receiving e-mail inquiries about work teams and the need for physical labor. When assessment is complete, inquirers will be notified with specific opportunities. Churches and individuals may contact him at pastortim@hfcog.org. Thank you for your continued prayers, support, patience, and willingness to serve!

The average annual rainfall for Houston, Texas, is 49.76 inches. Forecasters suggest parts of southeast Texas could surpass that amount of rain before Hurricane Harvey—now a tropical storm—moves out. As the Church of God assesses the developing situation on the ground, the need for disaster relief is imminent. While reports of loss may not be complete for several weeks, experts predict that an estimated 30 thousand people will need temporary shelter in the wake of widespread flood damage. Opportunities to give time, supplies, and resources will become more clear in the coming days. Until then, the Church of God Disaster Relief Team is urging you to pray and give. Continue reading

Southeast Texas Underwater as Disaster Relief Prep Underway

Houston First Church of God flooding (courtesy Tim Gould).

By Carl Stagner

The average annual rainfall for Houston, Texas, is 49.76 inches. Forecasters suggest parts of southeast Texas could surpass that amount of rain before Hurricane Harvey—now a tropical storm—moves out. As the Church of God assesses the developing situation on the ground, the need for disaster relief is imminent. While reports of loss may not be complete for several weeks, experts predict that an estimated 30 thousand people will need temporary shelter in the wake of widespread flood damage. Opportunities to give time, supplies, and resources will become more clear in the coming days. Until then, the Church of God Disaster Relief Team is urging you to pray and give. Continue reading

Concerning Clergy Compensation: Concilio Connects with CARE

Concilio pastors pray together at the CARE seminar in Houston.

By Joseph Cookston

¡Buen trabajo! ¡Excelente! ¡Muchas gracias! We want to contextualize the information to our culture—thank you for the great desire to help us!

Openness and expectancy abounded throughout the CARE Seminar that opened the convention of the Hispanic Council (Concilio Hispano) of the Church of God in Houston, Texas, near the end of July. Pastors and spouses gathered and processed together for the three-and-a-half hour dialogue regarding pastoral compensation and financial planning. Again and again, participants expressed their gratitude for the intentional reach into the world of Spanish-speaking congregations of the Church of God. Continue reading

Three Church Communities Join to Celebrate Freedom

ArabicCongregationHoustonTX_FORWEB

By Jill Carroll

One of the benefits of being a freelance writer for a major daily newspaper is that I get to meet ordinary people doing extraordinary things. This is true in nearly every area about which I write for the Houston Chronicle, which so far includes food, health, science, and religion. This past month I got an assignment from my editor to check out an interesting situation at an established Church of God community in northwest Houston. I had only the basic sketch of the story:  that a church had taken in a group of Arabic-speaking Christians, who were now running their own services at the church. I contacted the pastor, Rev. Don Bergstrom, and made arrangements to pay a visit to the First Church of God campus and to meet with him and a representative of the Arabic-speaking community. Continue reading