An Update

Hey all!

First off, thank you for being so patient with me as I have not been posting as regularly as I would like. Life has taken many, many turns since I last wrote. I’ll start off with a few updates.

Chloe and I have moved back to Houston after just under a year of living in Columbus, Ohio where I was serving Summit on 16th United Methodist Church. It was a wonderful congregation just off the Ohio State University campus. The congregation was welcoming and very supportive throughout the tough decisions that had to be made due to various circumstances while I was living in Columbus, and for that, I am eternally grateful. Summit on 16th has an absolutely beautiful red, Baroque-style Noack organ that just sings and lends so much to the congregational worship. Since moving back, I have missed playing that organ and my practice sessions in their sanctuary. There was a group of congregants who quickly became friends, including neighbors of mine, who supported me immensely and whom I miss every day. But, to that entire congregation, I want to say thank you and that I hope to visit again soon.

The Beautiful Noack Organ at Summit on 16th United Methodist Church in Columbus, Ohio

In addition to Summit on 16th UMC, I was also serving and singing with Northwest Christian Church, a Disciples of Christ church in Columbus, Ohio. My mentor pastor at NCC, Cindy, was and remains a strong centering force throughout my discernment process and through the ordination process within the church. NCC is a wonderful congregation with an amazing concert series throughout the year that I was fortunate enough to perform for on multiple occasions. It was a difficult decision to leave Columbus, but it was one I needed to make for my mental and physical well being.

Since moving back to Houston, I have joined the pastoral staff at my home church First Christian Church-Katy and could not be more thrilled to be worshipping with this congregation again. I have taken on the role of Associate Minister of LGBTQIA+ ministries, social media ministries, and music ministries. It is a large job but one that I am excited to have and to be a part of again.

I am fortunate to still be studying at Phillips Theological Seminary where I am just over halfway through my course of study there. This semester I am taking courses on ethics, the mission of the church, and a class on the Psalter. The more that I study here, the more I find my love for the Hebrew Bible and the Hebrew Scriptures to be growing. There is so much beauty in the texts of the First Testament. So many stories of strength and liberation, poetry and wisdom. Each time I encounter the text, there is something new to explore.

In addition to my church work and seminary studies, I have taken on a teaching position teaching elementary music. It has proven to be very interesting during the COVID19 times, but I have a fantastic specials team that is very supportive and creative. I do miss having a classful of in-person students and cannot wait to see all of the students together again, but I do not want to rush back into that and cause more illness across the nation.

Given the mission of this blog, I feel the need to comment on recent decisions made by the Vatican about our LGBTQIA+ siblings. While reading the words of that decision, my heart broke. Pope Francis seemed to be the a beacon of progress and acceptance that the Catholic church has been missing for quite some time. My mind constantly goes to those Catholic youths who will be further ostracized and marginalized from the church over this decision. It is heart breaking to know that the steps of progress that were recently happening by the Vatican were halted by a misreading of the Bible. I can only pray for my Catholic siblings that their church is full of love, hope, and acceptance of who they are and who God created them to be.

Unfortunately, the Catholic Church has long been a source of deep pain and suffering for many within the LGBTQIA+ communities. It is refreshing to see the works of some priests, laity, and religious orders who are openly speaking out against the continuing discrimination that our siblings in the Catholic Church face on a daily basis.

Overall, life has been a rollercoaster the past two years. However, through it all, I have been able to rely on the consistent love and support from my family and my family at FCCKaty, Summit on 16th, Northwest Christian Church, and my friends and colleagues. For that support I am forever grateful.

I have much to keep writing about, but for now, I need to go translate some Psalms!

It is good to be with you all again.

Peace and love,

Pastor Mike

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