Re-Imagining Incarceration and Re-Entry

St. Paul's United Methodist Church (map)

A ProjectCURATE conference at St. Paul’s will bring together criminal justice professionals, community service providers, academics, community organizations (faith-based and non), and people who have spent time in prison to share ideas about the successful re-integration of people from prison back into mainstream life and to shape a new way forward together. 

Fr. Gregory Boyle will kick off the conference with a free, open-to-the-public talk on Wednesday, July 27, at 7 p.m. in the Sanctuary. Child care will be available in the nursery.

Speakers for the next two days, July 28-29, will be Dr. Shadd Murana, Dean, School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University-Newark; Anthony Graves, death row exoneree; and Dr. Ruth Armstrong of the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge. 

A $35 registration fee covers two days, and $20 covers one day. Lunch is included in registrations. Scholarships are available. Register via

For more information, please email

More about the Speakers

Dr. Shadd Murana. Author of award-winning Making Good: How Ex-Convicts Reform and Rebuild Their Lives, Dr. Maruna has been a Soros Justice Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar, and an H. F. Guggenheim Fellow. 

Anthony Graves. Graves spent more than 18 years in prison, 16 of which were in solitary confinement — 12 on Texas Death Row — for a crime he did not commit. Assisted by The Innocence Network, he was vindicated and released in 2010.

Dr. Ruth Armstrong. Dr. Armstrong’s doctoral studies examined life after release from prison and described the gritty realities of trying to get out of a life of crime on a day to day basis. Her current research looks at the consequences of curating spaces of connection and learning within secure environments and beyond.

She will speak again an open meeting of ProjectCURATE on Saturday, July 30, at 9 a.m. in the Activity Center.

Why Trust? with guest speaker Ruth Armstrong

St. Paul's United Methodist Church (map)

On Saturday, July 30, 9:30–10:45 am, in the Activity Center (gymnasium), join projectCURATE for discussion around community, incarceration and how we can create environments of trust.

The guest speaker for the morning is Ruth Armstrong, who has published on the realities of life after prison and the role of trust in supporting people leaving lives of crime. This presentation and discussion is free and open to the public. 

For more information, visit

Supply Bible School Missions Project

St. Paul's United Methodist Church (map)

The children at Bible school will assemble school kits for distribution through UMCOR, United Methodist Committee on Relief. Everyone is invited to bring supplies for these kits.

To donate, please bring any of these items to the Jones Building between now and Wednesday, August 3:

  • spiral or top-bound pads of paper
  • hand-held pencil sharpeners (at least 1 inch long)
  • 30-centimeter rulers, unsharpened pencils
  • 2” or larger erasers,
  • 24-count boxes of crayons
  • 14x16 cloth bags

 No advertisements, religious, patriotic, military, or camouflage symbols on any of these items. Cartoon characters are acceptable.

Thank you.


St. Paul's United Methodist Church (map)

Artwork by Jan Richardson

Artwork by Jan Richardson

A conscious contact with God requires a conscious effort. Con-spire in the Latin (com-spirare) means to "breath with" and is an intentional space to practice the spiritual disciplines and make space in our lives for God. Each week we spend time learning, reflecting and practicing ways in which our interior life can be more rooted in grace. Join us Sundays at 11.05 in J-203. The topics through October 2016 are listed below.

July 31: How to Nurture Compassion for Others You LIve with
August 7: How to Live in Gratitude
August 14: Beginning in Presence
August 21: Transforming Fear
August 28: Becoming Beloved Community
September 4: The Sacred Art of Listening
September 11: Walking with Worry
September 18: How to Be Where You Are, Not Where You Are Not
September 25: How to Nurture Gratitude
October 2. How to Live in "Flow"
October 9: How to Forgive Others
October 16. How to Face Your Insecurities
October 23: How to Live in Grace
October 30: How to Move through Fear

"Surf Shack" VBS 2016 Begins July 31

St. Paul's United Methodist Church (map)

VBS 2016 begins Sunday, July 31, with a family night dinner, assembly, and music in Fondren Hall from 5 to 7:15 p.m. The evening concludes with parents taking their children to their VBS classrooms where they will meet their VBS teachers and friends.

From Monday through Thursday, August 1-4, each morning from 9 a.m. to noon will include powerful Bible stories, awesome arts & crafts, cool games, energetic assemblies, high-impact outreach projects, yummy snacks, fascinating beach exhibits, and visits to the “Surf Shack.”

The Bible stories will be God Creates the World, Miriam Cares for Baby Moses, Jesus is Baptized, Jesus Calms the Storm, and Breakfast on the Beach.

A wait list has begun for most classes. To register, please contact Ellen Edwards via

Mission Station

The VBS children will assemble school kits for distribution through the  United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). All are encouraged to donate supplies for this activity. Please bring any of these items:

  • spiral or top-bound pads of paper
  • hand-held pencil sharpeners (at least 1 inch long)
  • 30-centimeter rulers
  • unsharpened pencils
  • 2-inch or larger erasers
  • 24-count boxes of crayons
  • 14x16 cloth bags. 

No advertisements, religious, patriotic, military, or camouflage symbols. Cartoon characters are acceptable.

Bring donations to the Jones Building.

Thank you.

Colors of the Day

Each day the children are asked to wear a "Color of the Day." This year's schedule is

  • Sunday - Red
  • Monday - Green
  • Tuesday - Blue
  • Wednesday - Purple
  • Thursday - Yellow

Being One: a Marriage Seminar

St. Paul's United Methodist Church (map)

A marriage seminar, “Being One,” for engaged and newly married couples, will be conducted at St. Paul’s on Saturday, August 6, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Youth Center.

Seminar leaders are Dr. Sherry Beeman and Dr. Bill Kerley. Married to each other, each also is a former president of the Houston Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.

This seminar fulfills the “Twogether in Texas” marriage education requirements. It is free of charge for couples who have been or who are scheduled to be married at St. Paul’s. For others, the fee is $60. Lunch included.

These seminars are presented quarterly. The next one will be November 5, 2016. For more information or to register, please email or call 713-528-0527. Also see brochure.


The Christian, the Church and the Public Good

You're invited to this one-day course offered by the Houston Lay School of Theology taught by social ethicist Dr. Charles Curran.

Saturday, August 13 (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
St. Paul's United Methodist Church
Cost varies: $40–$100
Register online

What is the social mission of the church? What is the role of the individual Christian in this mission? Does the taking of stands on specific moral issues and on particular political candidates have an impact on the Church’s work for the public good? What is the impact of the separation of church and state and the free exercise clause of the First Amendment? Along with addressing these questions, Dr. Curran will introduce participants to various ways the Church works for the public good, such as teacher, provider for those in need, enabler and empowerer, advocate, and model. 

For more information, call 214-768-2390 or email

Congratulations to Candlelighters Class

St. Paul's United Methodist Church (map)

60 years of learning and fellowship together and serving others

To meet the need of a Sunday school class for young married couples in August of 1956, the precursor of the Candlelighters class was formed — the “Mr. and Mrs. Class.” By that October the class of more than 20 members changed its name to “Kumduble,” of “come double” to the class. They adopted the Candlelighters name in the fall of 1958.

None of the original class members remain with us today, but those who do have also remained active in the lives of each other as well as the broader St. Paul’s Family. New members still find their way to the Candlelighters’ S-109 home in the Sanctuary basement, where they have met since the winter of 1985. 

Many attribute the deep roots and longevity of the class to their children having grown up together as the Candlelighters themselves matured into older adulthood. Fond memories were made at their annual family weekends together in the Hill Country, Lakeview Methodist Assembly,  and at Ole Moon, St. Paul’s own retreat property near Magnolia. To commemorate those days, the class donated a glider swing to Ole Moon. 

After functioning as a self-taught discussion group during the first year, with the appointment of Dr. Alfred Freeman as St. Paul’s senior minister, they gained a sponsor/teacher — his wife, Carolyn Freeman. Strong leadership and teaching has continued to be a hallmark of the class. 

Today they enjoy a mix of lessons taught by clergy and their own members, some of whom also teach other classes as well as Bible studies. 

They each take seriously their membership vows of participating “faithfully in the ministries of the church by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness, that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”

Look at almost any area of activity at St. Paul’s — current and past —  and you will usually find at least one Candlelighter, often as the organizer. Recently they filled more than one large white board with a list that included:

  •  Teach Sunday School for children and adults
  • Work with Vacation Bible School and Sights Sounds and Smells of Christmas
  • Lead a variety of adult Bible studies 
  • Lead PrimeTimers
  • Organize children and youth choirs
  • Sing in St. Paul’s Choir
  • Provide annual Easter Brunch for choir members and clergy
  • Help with the Royal Society of Church Music summer course
  • Administrative Board, Church Council, Board of Trustees, St. Paul’s Foundation, Centennial Committee
  • Participate on mission trips and in mission projects, including many Mitzvah Days
  • Help remodel the GROW classrooms
  • Build/rebuild the large church signs on Main and Fannin Streets
  • Active members or supporters of the Society of St. Stephen, Stephen Ministries, CanCare, EAC and predecessor Food Pantry, Group Home and Nursing facility visitation committees


Zoe Ministries at UMW

St. Paul's United Methodist Church (map)

United Methodist Women resumes from the summer break on Tuesday, August 16, at 10:30 a.m. in A-101.

Tonya Knauth will talk with the group about Zoe Ministries, one of the international ministries supported by St. Paul’s. 

To learn more about this group of women, contact Jennifer West at

Chapter One Book Group - The Fire Next Time

St. Paul's United Methodist Church (map)

Tonight's book for discussion will be The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin.

Chapter One Book Group is open to anyone who enjoys reading and discussing a wide variety of books. The group meets at 7 p.m. the third Tuesday of the month in J-202. To be added to the email list, please contact Linda Harmes at

The remaining schedule:

  • September 20: The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  • October 18: We Are Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
  • November 15: The Martian by Andy Weir  

During October/November, the group will select books for the next several months.

Holy Dusters

Be a Holy Duster. Help clean Sanctuary woodwork Saturday, August 20. Start 8 a.m. All skill levels & agility, including children. (Childcare provided for younger children.) Even an hour will help. Supplies provided. 

Sponsored by Altar Guild of Worship Committee.

Celebration Sunday!

St. Paul's United Methodist Church (map)

Connect with groups, studies, and other activities for all ages

8:30, 9:45 & 11:05 am | Prayers for new beginnings at all worship services

9:45–10:45 am | Locomotion Promotion with train rides. Children and Youth are promoted.

11:30 am–1:30 pm | Lunch in Fondren Hall (hamburgers, hot dogs, and tacos with vegetarian options; donations accepted)

Join us for this exciting day. There’s something for everyone! Live music, face painting, activities on the playground, and sign-ups for fall small groups. 

Overflow parking and golf cart shuttle service will be available.

Choral Scholars Resume Leading 9:45 Service September 4

St. Paul's United Methodist Church (map)

Choral Scholars 2015-16. Photograph by Robin Gandin.

Choral Scholars 2015-16. Photograph by Robin Gandin.

The Choral Scholars for 2016-17 will begin rehearsing and observing St. Paul’s worship services Sunday, August 14, in preparation to lead 9:45 worship on September 4 with Eddie Quaid directing.

Created in 2005 to give advanced high-school singers an opportunity to lead worship services by presenting the finest in sacred choral music, “this choir is unique to our church,” said Quaid. “They are committed to the best.”

Four years ago the Choral Scholars sang as a demonstration choir to a packed room at the American Choral Directors Association national conference.

Selected after a rigorous audition process, this year’s choir members represent 13 schools in seven school districts -- from Galena Park to Cypress Fairbanks, Montgomery to Friendswood; two are home schooled. All are juniors or seniors.

Sr. Joan Chittester on "Spirituality, Self and Society"

Christ Church Episcopal (map)

You're invited to attend a Faith+Reason seminar at Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral. Sister Joan Chittister of the Order of St. Benedict will give three public lectures on the theme, "Spirituality, Self and Society." Each of Chittister's lectures will be followed by audience conversations and responses by four responders representing the Wisdom literature in Judaism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity.

Friday, Oct. 14, 6:45 pm
Compassion: The Glue of Society

Saturday, Oct. 15, 9:30 am
An Uncommon Case for a Common Good

Saturday, Oct. 15, 1:30 pm
The Role of the Public Intellectual in a Just Democracy

The seminar cost is $77.50 (lunch included on Saturday), with a student rate available. Please register online.


Ilia Delio to speak at St. Paul's

Ilia Delio

This fall, we welcome author and theologian, Sr. Dr. Ilia Delio, for a one-day conference and guest lecture. Sr. Dr. Delio is a Franciscan Sister of Washington D.C. and Director of Catholic Studies at Georgetown University. With doctorate degrees in both pharmacology and historical theology, she explores the intersections of science and spirituality.

Compassion and Quantum Entanglement: A New Common Good
When: Saturday, Nov. 19, 9 am – 2:30 pm
Where: Fondren Hall (2nd Floor Jones Building)
Cost: $15 (includes lunch)

Registration coming soon!

Technology and Human Becoming
When:  Sunday, Nov. 20, 9:45 – 11 am
Where: Fondren Hall (2nd Floor Jones Building); hosted by the Ordinary Life Class
Cost: free