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Neighboring Notes

Did you notice the shift? This monthly newsletter used to be called the “Mission Minute.” It’s still focused on the helping and caring things you can do to contribute to the good in our community. At the same time, there are some very intentional shifts towards our understanding of Neighboring as an engaging and motivating framework over and against the traditional idea of Missions. Why bother?

The word mission is still useful. It calls our attention to our purpose—the things which we feel called by God to do. The negative side of that perspective is that I’m not sure anyone wants to be your mission project—in other words, nobody wants to be an object on your journey of living into your purpose. Furthermore, I was reminded in my own wrestling this week that there is one Savior and Lord of All, and his name is not Matt Ybañez.

Jesus’ life and teaching was relational. He participates in life and walks with the ones in the community in need of connection, grace, teaching, and redemption. I wonder if the concept of Neighboring gives us a clearer insight into a Christlike way of helping, loving and serving in our community that is more mutual. In the sharing of love and grace, Jesus also received the gifts of a meal at Zaccheaus’ house, his head anointed with expensive perfume, and getting schooled by the Samaritan woman at the well. The relationships were on equal footing. There was give and take. There was safe space for both to learn and grow.
I continue to celebrate the work of our Neighboring Dream Team that is leading us in the shift towards neighboring. The City of Hurst’s Park Committee celebrated the good neighbors who showed up to play with children and connect with families before the show at their Friday Night Movies this fall. They want to continue to partner in the future! CLICK HERE to check out Nancy Welton’s article and learn more about what they did.

God is at work doing a new thing! This new thing calls all of us in (all meaning all of our neighbors too) to live in the truth and grace of God’s work and presence in our communal life. In the midst of this transformation, there are places where our neighbors are calling for our helping work: volunteers are needed at Mobile Food Pantries; reading volunteers are desperately needed at Bellaire Elementary School; community partners in our English Language Learning classes and the Recovery Resource Council identified a greater need for Thanksgiving bags than they’ve ever had before. We rest in the trust that everything we need for everyone to thrive is already here somewhere—what do we have that could support these needs?

Matt Ybañez

Reading Mentors Needed

We’ve received word from a few sources at Bellaire Elementary and Shady Oaks Elementary that there are a handful of students in the 4th and 5th grades who are reading at a 1st grade level. As a result, there is an immediate need for adult mentors who can be available for no more than an hour on Thursdays or Fridays to tutor these students. HEBISD will require registration and screening as volunteers (including a background check.) The process is quick and painless. School staff will structure the time and supply books/implements. This type of mentoring work is vital for some of the students in our community to thrive. Children who are not reading at a 3rd grade level by the time they reach 3rd grade suffer a greatly increased risk of dropping out of school before earning their diploma. Reading volunteers may have a transformative, lifelong impact on these students just by creating and holding a safe space where students can learn to read in a patient, judgement-free environment.
For more information, contact Rev. Matt Ybañez at .

Neighboring Notes

November To-Do's

  • Take the Thanksgiving Bag list with you to the grocery store and fill some bags to share for Thanksgiving.
    Additionally, $10 gift cards (Kroger and Walmart only) will give an option to families who do not eat turkey or who may not have the space to prepare a full-sized turkey in their kitchen. Please separate gift cards from groceries and place them in the offering basket in worship on Sunday mornings or deliver to the church office. 

  • Serve at the 4th Monday Mobile Food Pantry on November 28th, 2:30-6:30 p.m.
    Note: TAFB has cancelled the 2nd Friday mobile pantry on November 11th because of the Veteran’s Day holiday.

  • Reading mentors are desperately needed at Bellaire Elementary School.  Matt Ybañez for information.

  • Grab our November Backpack Ministry food item from the grocery store when you’re there.

    • Libby's Vienna Sausages, 4.6 oz. cans

    • Plain, no jalepenos or extra spices, etc.

Backpack Ministry

“Old Mother Hubbard went to her cupboard to get her poor dog a bone. But when she got there the cupboard was bare so the poor doggie got none.”

Never fear the words of the childhood nursery rhyme even though the picture DOES show the Backpack Ministry shelves almost bare. Because of your generous contributions and support, we have in our cupboard in the Backpack Ministry room enough food to pack 122 backpacks each week.

Have you seen Larry Kitchens moving one of our three large crates through the building? Your monetary donations have enabled the ministry to purchase three carts of food from Sams each week. And, because of our tremendous team of volunteers, here pictured Judy and Dick Voss and Jim and Pam Garret, all of this food is packed into the bags that the teams take to Donna Park, Harrison Lane, and Shady Oaks Elementary schools every Tuesday.

You can help the Backpack Ministry this month by contributing cans of Vienna Sausage. Each can provides 12 grams of protein. Our cup runneth over, and our cupboards are full because of First United Methodist Church of Hurst’s ministry to our neighboring schools. With appreciative hearts, we say, Thank you!

The Night Before Halloween Party

‘Twas the Night before Halloween and all through the place,
ALL the creatures were stirring, preparing the space.
The decorations were hung in the church with care,
In hopes that the neighbors would soon be there.
The children were nestled in their super fun costumes,
While visions of food, games, and music got them out of their rooms!
Mom in the car and kids on their way,
With excitement surrounding a party that day!

A Good Time Was Had By All!

Night Before Halloween Party 2022

2022 Halloween Party