Dear Central Christian Church,
It has been less than two months since I started working and worshiping here, and yet I feel like I have found a home and a family in the people of Central. For this reason, and many others, it is extremely difficult for me to tell you all that I have to leave Central, Dallas, and the XPLOR program. A lot of time, prayer, and discernment has gone into this decision and trust me when I say it was not an easy one to make. The short answer to the question "why?" is that my family back home needs me right now. They have been struggling financially and with mental and physical health problems since before I left for the program in August. But now those problems are escalating and I have been feeling a tugging at my heart that I need to be there to support them as they have supported me my entire life.
While I am going to help my family in Tucson, I truly do feel as if I am leaving behind a family here in Dallas. In such a short time you all have touched a placed in my heart that will leave a lasting memory forever. You have shown me the true meaning of unconditional love and hospitality. You have shown me what doing Church outside of the walls of a sanctuary truly looks like. You have helped me learn about my calling and what my next steps may look like to further my own understanding of what Ministry can be. Every single person here has greeted me with open arms and has made me feel a true sense of belonging, and that is not always something that is easy to find. So for all of these things that you have done for me and all of the things that I have not mentioned here I want to say thank you. Those two small words do not feel powerful enough to really show the gratitude I have for all you have done, but they will have to do for now.
I want to leave you with a few wishes that I have for Central. I hope that you continue to throw your doors wide open to the lost and broken. I hope that you find yourselves wandering out of those doors more frequently and in larger quantities to experience God's transforming love with your neighbors. I pray that God will continue to wrap God's arms around this space and all of the people that inhabit it and the work that is being done. I truly wish that more people will experience the amazing thing that you have going for you all here at Central. In the short time I have been here, I have seen such a true sense of mission and God's love in the leadership and direction of this Church. If I can discover so much in the short chapter I have been here, I can't imagine what is to be discovered in the rest of the book that is Central Christian Church.
As for me, I ask that you keep me and my family in your prayers through this difficult time. I also ask that you keep my housemates, Erin, Myma, and Neo in prayer as they move into a new phase of their lives here in Dallas without me. I will try to find you all on Facebook and if you feel so inclined to add me back I would love that. I would love to stay in touch with each and every person here at Central who has made such a huge impact on my life. I promise to keep Central and all of its ministries and people in my prayers. I hope that our paths will cross in the future and if I am ever in Dallas I will make sure to stop in and say hello.
Many blessings and best wishes,
Welcome back to Disciples Women after summer break.
September begins our exciting “Spectacular Fall Line-Up” of speakers and Rev. Deborah Morgan-Stokes of East Dallas Christian kicks of the 2018-19 year.
A native Dallasite, Deborah graduated from Bryan Adams High School in 1980. She attended Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth where she received her Bachelor of Science in Education. After graduation, she spent three years teaching public school at L. G. Pinkston High School in West Dallas before acknowledging her call to ministry.
She attended Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, Tennessee where she completed her Masters of Divinity degree. She was ordained in 1990 and began her ministry at East Dallas in 2006.
I love being pastor at this historic “congregation-in-transformation,” Deborah said.
She currently serves on the boards of Lakewood’s Juliette Fowler Communities and Literacy Archives.
Seven years ago, Deborah married Don Stokes. The union brought together a blended family of four cats. Deborah is an avid reader of fiction and when time permits, she loves to travel. She especially loves to hike the desert southwest, which she fondly refers as “my heart-home.”
The 2018/19 Disciples Women’s study program topic is “Called for God’s Purpose” and Deborah chose the lesson: Positioned for Purpose, the story of Lydia.
“I chose Lydia because she was a rarity in her time—a woman who was a successful merchant during a period when women rarely had access to economic power,” Deborah said. “She made her money by excreting the color ‘purple’ from shells which she sold to Rome’s elite.”
“As a TCU alum, the color purple is important to me,” Deborah quips. “But not only did Lydia make money—she was generous with her earnings, sharing with the first Christian Church, supporting the apostle Paul,” Deborah said.
The lesson states that because Lydia took time away from the busyness of her life to worship God, she was positioned to hear the gospel, become a believer in Christ, transform her entire household and offer hospitality to Paul and his traveling companions. She was positioned for purpose, just as women can be today.
Following the program, lunch will be served in Fellowship Hall. Luncheon theme is apples to welcome the beginning of fall. The cost for lunch is $5.00 per person and can be paid to Paquita Mueller at the door. Come and bring a friend; just remember an RSVP is required for lunch. You can contact Laura in the office or email Shelia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Elders of Central Christian Church will meet for our Spring retreat on Saturday 3/10 from 9:30a-3p at Juliette Fowler Communities Jackson Living Center Media Room. Fowler will also host us for lunch.
Our goals during this day will be to dig deeply into our renewed role as elders focusing on the Vision, Spiritual Growth, and Pastoral Care of the congregation.
We will discuss the books The Gathered and Scattered Church by Eddie Hammett and Together: Community as a Means of Grace by Larry Duggins. These will help provide a shared vocabulary for further understanding the challenges of being the church in the 21st Century and how God is calling us forward.
Daryn from SyncLife Coworking will join us over lunch to share her insights on coworking and other entrepreneurial expressions of faith. You can listen to Daryn share her insights on the podcast Reports from the Spiritual Frontier here. And here's a 2:20 min YOUTUBE video intro to coworking.
A major take away will be our individual and shared knowledge and commitment to how we will live into the vision of Central being renewed as a center for community life in the midst of the six distinct neighborhood communities that surround us, and how God is calling us to serve our neighbors and manifest the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.
Even in the darkness there are glimpses of the light. Where are you seeing God’s light shining within you and around you in the darkness of the world?.
We will journey with Mary, Joseph, Zechariah and Elizabeth in the hope of God's promises fulfilled. God's light shines in a darkened world IN and THROUGH us. Whatever has happened in your live God desires to and can bless you to be a blessing to others in the world.
(Pageant written and directed by Lois Leftwich)