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AUGUST 29, 2017

One of the best things about being a United Methodist is that we are already present in recovery efforts in Houston. Through the giving of apportionment dollars, the framework that provides for emergency relief is already in place. When we make contributions to UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief), 100% of every dollar goes to direct disaster relief -- unlike some other institutions where the first portion of a dollar goes to provide the institutional framework for work to be done.

The Central Texas Conference, and thus, St. Barnabas UMC, are not in active disaster mode at this moment. The situation in Houston is being carefully monitored. As soon as it is safe to begin ERT deployment to Houston and the surrounding area, our Conference is poised to go.

In the meantime, what can we do? First, pray, and do not underestimate the value of prayer. Second, exercise patience. This will be a long recovery process. Third, we can make cleaning buckets and health kits to send to Houston along with our prayers. We talked about this option in staff yesterday morning and with Kay Dillard, our Disaster Response and American Red Cross liaison. Please watch our e-publications for more information coming soon.

If you are interested in becoming trained as part of an Emergency Response Team, ERT, there are multiple trainings offered in the near future. For this and other up-to-date information about Hurricane Harvey relief, go to

In addition, if it is your desire to write a check for the relief efforts, please do so through the United Methodist Church. Simply make your check out to St. Barnabas and write “Hurricane Harvey” in the memo line. Our checks will be collected, and a single check will be sent to the Central Texas Conference, and from there, to the General UMC.

Thanks to each of you for your immediate prayers, warm hearts and extended hands of mission and ministry.

In Christ,

Rev. Ginger Bassford


AUGUST 17, 2017

Dear St. Barnabas Family,

This note is full of great news! Please read carefully so that you are correctly informed.

Staff Updates

As you are aware, Alyssa Lawther, Julie Fletcher and Thomas Killough are all on board and doing great work. This week, Kaitlyn Jackson joins us as an (unpaid) youth intern. Kaitlyn is a former St. Barnabas youth and spent this past summer working summer camp. She brings energy and orientation to detail.

We have not yet filled the front office desk position. Thank you to our amazing, dedicated volunteers who stand in the gap on a daily basis. We have interviewed for this position but refuse to “settle” for someone who is not a right fit of talents and match for our staff team.

The SPRC is hard at work interviewing for a new choral conductor. They are using the financial package that we previously paid for this position and dividing it out into multiple part-time positions. Although the primary chancel choir conductor is not yet hired, we have the commitment of several other music leaders, all within our current budget. Because of Dale’s vacation time, we have spent above-budget funds during August for Geoffrey Moore. The SPRC has covenanted with Geoffrey for him to be with us through the 40th Celebration, but that will be within our budget. Our additional music leaders are as follows. Please welcome them!

  • Tana Marks – Youth Choir (Tana and her family have been members for some time. She sings with the Encounter Praise Band. Tana conducts the Bailey Junior High Choir, AISD.) 
  • Meredith Riddle – Older Elementary Choir (Meredith is a “life-long” member who has just returned from China and will be teaching elementary orchestra in the AISD.) 
  • Alyssa Lawther – Cherub (little ones) Choir (Alyssa and her family are former members of the St. Barnabas family and are quickly becoming integral parts of our current family.) 
  • Daren Stone – Accompanist (Daren was previously a part of the music ministry at St. Barnabas. He is excited to be returning and accompanying our youth choir and perhaps children too.) 
  • Tracy Loftin – Hand Bell Choir Director (Tracy is a long-standing participant in the St. Barnabas Chancel Choir and Hand Bell Choir. She joined the congregation last year and began conducting the hand bells after the Partridges moved. We are delighted she is resuming this role for another year.) 

The SPRC is still working on leaders for the Youth Praise Band and Youth Orchestra.

40th Anniversary of St. Barnabas

Sunday, October 15, we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of St. Barnabas! Mr. Dave Wilson is preparing smoked pork, and we will have a fabulous lunch to go with it. Dr. Clifton Howard is preaching all worship services. The Encounter Band will host an outdoor concert on Saturday evening, October 14. Mr. Jerry Davis has written a beautiful rendition of our history. Make plans now to be present and bring friends!

Sunday, September 10

Last, but certainly not least – Sunday, September 10, is Church Connection Sunday. We invite everyone to bring friends, relatives, acquaintances and neighbors to church as we gather together to start the fall season. Church growth experts share that fall is THE MOST important time to invite people to church because we are getting into new routines and habits. People who begin worship in the fall are far more likely to continue attending than someone who comes to a Christmas or Easter service. Invite someone to church and invite them to connect! We will have a great potluck lunch after worship! (Bring enough for your family plus several others!) 

Rev. Virginia O. (Ginger) Bassford, PhD