After years of decline, a congregation in Houston has been experimenting with a new ministry with refugees in a nearby neighborhood. This collection tells a story of reclaiming a mission, navigating change, nurturing innovative leaders and embarking on the patient work of building friendship.
The Fondren Apartment Ministry and Westbury UMC reflect the changing face of Houston and America. Photos by Mark Mulligan
Westbury UMC's apartment ministry has helped resettled refugees -- and the congregation -- find new life in Houston
The church is located in one of the most multicultural cities in America, yet the congregation was not as engaged with its diverse neighbors as it could have been. That changed when they hired an associate pastor to live in intentional community in apartments three miles and a whole world away.
Westbury UMC’s apartment ministry invites you to consider, “Who is my neighbor?” This discussion guide offers tips for studying this and other questions individually or with your colleagues in Christian institutions, congregations and elsewhere.
A 5-minute video by Houston filmmaker Marlon F. Hall offers a glimpse into this innovative ministry, which is based in deep listening, prayer and openness to the Holy Spirit.
An innovative ministry at Houston’s Westbury UMC is like a fragile plant that needs time to grow, says the bishop of the UMC Texas Annual Conference.
Emile Nsengiyumva is a member of Westbury UMC, where he organized an African youth choir. Nsengiyumva has an entreprenerial spirit; he wants to create a comprehensive organization for African high schoolers in Houston. Photos by Mark Mulligan
Moise Mukanya, Nusura Mtendamema and Emile Nsengiyumva all experienced horrific violence in their home countries and in refugee camps before resettling in Houston. There they found a new home at Westbury UMC, where their presence has enriched the life of the congregation.
Small missional communities, anchored to a local congregation, offer a different way of being church, one that offers hope for renewal and new life, says the evangelism scholar.
“Free, Indeed” by the Rev. Laura Gentry.
This worship experience, based on Bible verses that guide the Fondren Apartment Ministry in Houston, Texas, can be used by any group wanting to respond to God’s great love for us.
Hannah Terry, left, holding the microphone, leads prayer at a Wednesday night gathering at the Los Arcos apartment complex in Southwest Houston. As part of Westbury UMC's innovative ministry, Terry lives nearby in intentional Christian community. Photo courtesy of Westbury UMC
Learn from seasoned leaders and books strategies to identify and nurture talented people and ideas.
When the Rev. Hannah Terry and her partners in ministry moved into an apartment complex in Houston, they agreed to live in community and to abide by this rule of life.