by Rev. Dr. Robert Lopez
El Valle and Coastal Bend Districts
I am thankful for my church today. The United Methodist Church is not a perfect church, but it is my church. I am thankful for it today, and I celebrate it.
I celebrate with you that every church in the Coastal Bend district that suffered major damage fulfilled their connectional giving (apportionments). Connectional giving supports ministries throughout the conference and connection. I am not lifting this up to celebrate the paying of apportionments but rather to celebrate faithfulness and resilience even in the midst of Hurricane Harvey.
Many churches still do not have full access to their building, but they continue doing ministry. Many churches have families that were displaced or whose homes were damaged or lost, yet they keep on worshiping. Some communities still have large piles of rubble on the streets waiting for clean up, yet they continue to rebuild. I have heard many stories of churches sending cleanup crews to clear debris for another church. Other churches inside and outside the district sent money, while others connected with community leaders to find ways to help. Others sent much-needed prayers. You can go to riotexasresponse.org for details regarding what has already happened and how you can help.
What I am celebrating today is that even in the midst of all the challenges of the storm, you all continued to be the church, supporting ministries beyond yourself with your giving and with your presence. Sometimes I am quick to point out what is wrong with church stuff, but today I am thankful for the Coastal Bend churches. Today I am thankful for my church.