Sunday, November 29, 2009
When Rev. Perdue from neighboring Lott Baptist Church contacted Pastor Larry Roberman at Lott UMC about hosting a Community Thanksgiving service on Wednesday night neither could have anticipated the response. To the surprise of all, the sanctuary of the recently refurbished church was filled for the first service of this nature in the community. Music from 7 different Lott churches produced a beautiful blended worship experience that moved on the hearts of all who were in attendance. The success of this event has given new hope for those in leadership in this small community and served to build unity between the churches.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
On Thursday morning, October 15th the mission crew from Marvin UMC, Tyler pulled up to the historic Methodist church in Lott and immediately set to work. Within the first hour part of the team had pulled the old awning and front door casing off of the building while another crew began constructing a new rear entrance. Still others began remodeling the kitchen on the interior.
Watching the enthusiastic "Menders" is most inspiring because of the love of Christ's church and devotion expressed in their work. It was also a very heart-warming experience to see the more-than-a-century-old church being renovated for continued service to the Lott community. Truly, this is the best of a win-win situation.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
7 volunteers from five U.M. churches converged in Lott, located on the Northern edge of the West District and enjoyed a lunch prepared for them by members Betty Willi and Irene Duncan. Afterwards, they fanned out across the town to knock on doors in teams of two armed with maps and prayer request cards. Collectively, the teams universally encountered residents were receptive to what they were “selling.” Some, who may have initially been hesitant, opened up their doors, and in certain cases invited the volunteers inside to talk about what they were doing in the community. It was a case of “open hearts, open minds, and open doors,” but the direct inverse of the general application in the church.
Participants regrouped at Lott U.M.C. at 3:00 PM for refreshments and regaled one another with stories of their wonderful and unexpected encounters with various residents of the town. Each one wore a glow of something other than just sunburn as they shared how a bonding had begun with individual residents during the event. Following a closing prayer by Rev. Judy Draper, each participant departed home to their own communities filled with the warmth of newly-formed relationships on their hearts and a sense of great blessings received from their experience.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Immediately following a sumptuous lunch provided by Ms. Betty, Pat Baker opened the meeting with prayer at 12:35 PM and began updating the team on the Lott Prayer Walk scheduled later this month on the 29th. We are planning to meet for lunch at the church and break into teams following our assignments to various parts of town. A total of 10 people will be required to adequately staff this enterprise. Calvin Wood offered to supply the nametags to identify participants as volunteers for Lott UMC.
Prayer request forms will also be printed out and made available through the volunteers for residents who wish to mail in their prayer requests to the church.
Discussion then shifted to the subject of worship. It was agreed by the consensus of the team to move the time of worship service to 10:00 AM with Sunday School at 9:00. As weekly services have resumed and Sunday evening services will begin Sept. 6th it was agreed that advertising these changes in the local newspaper(s) would be appropriate. Pastor Larry and Rev. Thomas Q. Robbins have volunteered for this task. Additionally, Pastor Larry and Kathy are sharing responsibilities for preparing worship bulletins, depending on the need for pulpit supply. Kathy is also scheduling CLM candidates as needed for same.
Having visited Mooreville UMC that morning, Eric shared how that church had mounted their successful canvassing campaigns and passed around a brochure about the church. After some discussion it was agreed to produce a bi-fold brochure for Lott UMC which would include a bio of Pastor Larry, a brief testimony from Ms. Betty, and a brief church history to be furnished by Eric. Pat will serve as editor and Calvin has volunteered to publish the brochure. The Community Canvassing event has been rescheduled for noon, September 26th following the publication of the church brochure.
Kathy and Pat volunteered to pursue obtaining a sign for the front of the church. Pastor Larry closed the meeting with prayer at 1:47 PM.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Taskforce Team Worship Leader Kathy Kothmann has worked up a
schedule for the rest of the year at Lott UMC. If you can fill in on any of the
dates labeled CLM please give Kathy a call and she'll get you scheduled.
Thanks for your help!
9 - Pastor Roberman - Communion Sunday
16 - Eric Dehmer - Canvassing Sun Aft
23 - Pastor Roberman
30 - Pastor Roberman
6 - CLM
13 - Pastor Roberman - Communion Sunday
20 - Pat Baker - music: Bobbi Chapman
27 - Pastor Roberman
4 - CLM
11 - Pastor Roberman - Communion Sunday
18 - Charlie Ray
25 - Pastor Roberman
1 - CLM
8 - Pastor Roberman
15 - CLM
22 - Pastor Roberman
29 - CLM
6 - CLM
13 - Pastor Roberman
20 - CLM
27 - Pastor Roberman
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Project List Preliminary Survey - July 13, 2009
Access to Restroom - possibly raise floors / fixtures
Paint Exterior -scrape, prime, and paint recommended
Sanctuary Pews - ? padding, ?refinishing, ? minor repairs
Roll-Up doors - presently not functional. Could be used to open up area to fellowship room
Disability accommodations - ramp on entrance, ? elevator for upstairs access
Modernization - need to have a second entrance / exit for fire code. Electrical upgrading to code.
Exterior of Church - base needs "resealing" - presently with some holes / openings
Front porch - possible handicap ramp; if so, would need to raise awning, possibly extend
Window washing throughout church
? shelves in kitchen storage area
New Front doors
?Shelf for microwave in kitchen, ? combined with vent hood
Hang Venetian blinds in sink area
Improve sound system
Upstairs - consider finishing out as 1-2 rooms. Check electrical wiring. consider add-on
Consider sprinkler system to keep grass green.
Consider refinishing sanctuary floor and pews.
Consider adding color elements in sanctuary to "enliven"
Monday, July 13, 2009
July 11, 2009 9:00 a.m. Caldwell UMC
Team members in attendance: Pat Baker, Eric Dehmer, Judy Draper, Kathy Kothmann, Rev. Larry Roberman, Rev. Thomas Robbins, Betty Willi, Jack and Liz Williams,and Sandi Dehaven (a new member who attended from Cedar Springs UMC and requested to be added to the team). Absent Team members: Calvin Woods
Following wonderful morning snacks provided by Pat Baker and the Caldwell Church, Eric Dehmer, chairperson, called the meeting to order with a devotional reminding us that we are called to be faithful to the task and God will provide the fruit. Eric then called on members of the team to share thoughts about why they responded yes when asked to serve on this team. Eric showed the team the Lott Church Blogg and how to access it and encouraged members to use it as a valuable tool to communicate.
Rev. Thomas Robbins presented an idea for the Mooreville Church (Rev. Joel Robbins pastor) and the Marlin church to meet at the Lott church on the first Sunday evenings of each month and provide a joint worship experience in hope it might encourage people from the Lott community, especially those who have relatives in Mooreville Church, to attend and get involved in the revitalization experience. After much discussion, it was agreed that evening services will start on Sept 13th –the first Sunday evening following Labor Day.
Pat Baker presented a wonderful idea concerning a Lott Community Prayer Walk to be held on a Saturday afternoon to take prayer requests from the community as a way to introduce the revitalization effort to the community. These events have been very successful in Caldwell. After much discussion, it was decided to hold the prayer walk, Saturday afternoon August 29th.
Additional discussion concerning a canvas of the Lott community for the purpose of announcing and inviting people to come and participate in the worship services and other renewal activities was presented. Rev. Robbins said his son Joel, pastor of the Mooreville Church could help us with detailed plans for this event since he has used canvassing of the Morreville community with much success. August 16th was the date selected for the community canvas.
Rev. Robbins said he would work with the editor of the Marlin and Rose Bud Weekly paper to design and publish a large ad announcing the revitalization efforts starting the week prior to August 16th so that the people of the Lott Community will have had some information about our work inthe community before the canvas Sunday afternoon the 16th.
The following is the timeline through Sept. for our revitalization activities:
Mon. July 13th 12:30 Rev. Roberman, Betty Willi, Wayne Wolz and Ray Macune from Caldwell Church meeting at Lott church to survey renovations to the facility and prioritize the needs.
Sat. August 1 9:30 Team Meeting at Lott Church
Sun. August 9—Rev. Roberman preaching service
Aug. 12 th and following few weeks—Ad in Marlin and Rose Bud Weekly Papers
Sun. August 16th –CLM (TBA) leading worship—followed by Community Canvas in the afternoon
Sun. Aug. 23—Rev. Roberman preaching with special music TBA
Sat. Aug. 29—Prayer walk
Sun. Aug. 30—Rev. Roberman Preaching with special music TBA
Sun. Sept. 6—(Labor Day Weekend) CLM Preaching and special music TBA
Sun. Sept 13–Rev. Roberman preaching with special music TBA and Kick-off of joint Evening Worship
Service by Mooreville and Marlin Churches.
Sun. Sept 20—CLM preaching with special music TBA
Sun. Sept 27—Rev. Roberman Preaching with special music TBA
Task Force will be calling upon District Churches for Special Music
Want to add a task force member from the Cameron church since it is so close to Lott. Judy Draper will consult with Joe Fort for a nomination for this position.
Rev. Robbins will contact the Traveling Methodist Work Team from Tyler to see what renovations they might be willing to help us with. The other tasks will be covered by other church groups such as Wesley Foundation, A&M College Ministry, Caldwell Methodist Men and Faith & Deeds Sunday School Class at Christ Church. Plans were made to rent water slide or attractive play equipment for the kids of the community to play on during the times that groups are working at the church. It was suggested that watermelon, ice cream, or hotdogs and chips –etc. be served to those who drop by the church to help or to inquire. We want to present a very inviting image.
Eventual child care was discussed including: Safe Sanctuary, facility safety, staffing and instructional materials. This will need to be worked out as the need arises. It was agreed that this task may be the most difficult of all.
The following people volunteered for the following leadership roles:
Out-reach coordinator ---Pat Baker
Worship coordinator---Kathy Kothmann
Adult ministry coordinator –Rev. Judy Draper
Physical Plant repair, landscaping coordinator—Rev. Thomas Robbins
Next meeting of the Task Force will be Saturday, August 1 at 9:30 at the Lott Church.
It is certainly understood that this is a work in progress and that after much prayer for guidance and wisdom, other ideas will come forth to serve the needs of the church as this effort progresses.
Judy Draper, recording secretary---corrections: firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, July 10, 2009
Lott Re-vitalization Meeting
Sunday, May 31, 2009 5:00 P.M.
Those in attendance: D.S. Rev. Joe Fort; Rev. Larry Roberman, Pastor; Rev. Judy Draper, CLM District Chairperson; Ruth Martin, Kathy Kothmann, Charlie Ray and Judy Hedderman all certified lay ministers; Eric Dehmer, Ronald Perry and Pat Baker, all candidates for certified lay-ministry.
Rev. Joe Fort called the meeting to order with prayer and an overview of his vision for the Lott Church Re-vitalization Project. He summarized by stating that he sees this project as a group effort of at least one year duration with the following time line: Summer 2009 mapping out plans, late August—early September restart worship every Sunday using lay ministers when Rev. Roberman cannot be present. Following 6 months developing a core group of families from the community and the last 6 months of the year, solidifying programming and concentrating on leadership training for the membership.
Rev. Fort sees the project starting with several key leaders from within the CLM’s; out-reach coordinator, worship coordinator, children/youth coordinator and adult ministry coordinator. In addition there will need to be a coordinator for the painting and landscaping of the Lott Church. Rev. Thomas Robbins from the Marlin church has expressed an interest in the Marlin church playing an active part in this project by providing help and leadership. It was also suggested that the Wesley Foundation at A&M be contacted about possible painting and landscaping work. We also discussed visiting with a few members of the Marlin and Cedar Springs church to get names of possible interested people to be invited to join the revitalization team early on in the planning that will take place this summer.
Ideas discussed for kicking off the project included: late summer Bible School for the community, work day with community involvement to paint and landscape the church, bulk mailing and possible door-to-door visitation to invite the community to join the revitalization project in any way they may like to participate with anticipation that some will join the church and become a part of the core leadership of the Lott church.
Rev. Fort emphasize the need for leadership development for the 2nd 6 months of the project so that a hand-off goal for turning the church over to local leadership could occur between 12 and 18 months following the kick-off early this fall.
Rev. Fort said that the District could come up with limited funds for revitalization but that funds would be limited.
Several CLMs and Candidates expressed an interest in getting on board with the planning process. As a result, the group present decided that all who are able will meet at the Lott church by 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 14th to get a tour of the church and visit with members concerning their vision for the project. Those who are able are invited to 9:30 worship followed by the monthly church business meeting and a covered dish dinner.
Rev. Fort will contact Rev. Thomas Robbins and ask him to invite interested people from the Marlin church to join our group on June 14th and Rev. Larry Roberman will visit with the members of the Lott church about the formation of the revitalization group and our visit on June 14th.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:30 p.m. with prayer by Rev. Roberman.
Rev. Judy Draper, recording secretary
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Hardt is one of my favorites. A good number of us belong to historic churches
steeped with a rich heritage, so you may occasionally find out something quite
interesting that occurred where you worship years before you were born. I
encourage you to check it out at: http://txmethhistory.blogspot.com/
Monday, July 6, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
This is one of the largest and most beautiful wooden churches in the state of Texas. It sits on a one-hundred acre site which also includes the Westphalia Independent (co-operative) School System. This school has a higher academic standard as well as a larger and more modern plant than the public elementary school located in Lott. The attendance figures for the two schools are roughly the same. Yet, there appears to be a strong loyality to the church (and it's school) as 6300 dinners are sold at the annual picnic each year. This figure represents nine times the total population of Lott and one-third of the population for Falls County.
As nothing much exists in the unincorporated area known as Westphalia, beyond the surounding farms, it should be safe to assume that there is a strong (and quite large) Roman-Catholic following in this region which supports the church and school. Indeed, the high percentage of German and Czech descendents reflected in the demographics for Falls County would traditionally indicate such a following. Additionally, it would probably also be safe to assume that a good number of Catholic families in Lott are sending their children to school and worshipping with their families on Sundays there, as well.
So, how does all this apply to Lott UMC? For one thing, our church appears to be a microcosm of the example we looked at above. All but one of the 11 people in worship at Lott UMC the weekend we visited were from out of town. So, Brother Pat has a very valid point in regard to appealing to the greater community of Falls County in the revitalization efforts for the church. We should not limit our thinking (or the ability of our God to bring about miracles) in this regard. When we come to the table for our first meeting in this effort we should be thinking as large-scale as the limitless possibilities (and blessings) that our Lord gives us in abundance each and every day.
- Shalom -
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
For one thing, there is a proliferation of churches of almost every persuasion inside the city limits with a population of just less than 700, so in theory there is plenty of church “capacity” if a resident is inclined toward corporate worship on Sunday morning. By Rev. Joe Fort’s observation approximately 75 folks were in the Baptist Church across the street from Lott U.M.C. at 10:30 – this is representative over 10% of the towns population. I walked a block over from Lott U.M.C. and discovered St. Mary’s Catholic Church with about the same attendance levels. So, between these 2 churches were garnered pretty much the average church attendance for any given community - 20% of the population. Does that mean that there are no ‘leftovers’ available for Lott U.M.C?
Monday, June 15, 2009
Rev. Joe Fort, District Superintendent, West District
Rev. Larry Roberson, Pastor, Lott U.M.C.
Rev. Calvin Beckendorf (ret.), Brenham U.MC.
Rev. Calvin Woods (ret.), Wheelock U.M.C.
Judy Draper, Deacon, Christ U.M.C.
Gary Draper, Christ U.M.C.
Liz Williams, Marlin U.M.C.
Ann Holland Marlin U.M.C.
Olga Schlemmer, Lott U.M.C.
Betty Willi, Lott U.M.C.
James Bell, Lott U.M.C.
Irene Duncan, Lott U.M.C.
James Bryan, Lorena Baptist Church
Ron Perry, CLM candidate, Somerville U.M.C.
Eric Dehmer, CLM candidate, Chappell Hill U.M.C.
Rev. Larry Roberson extended greetings and offered the opening prayer at the request of Rev. Fort who then began the meeting with opening remarks. After introductions were made around the room Rev. Fort shared his vision of setting up a steering team for developing outreach efforts and revitalizing the Lott church. Key points made in the presentation included utilizing the steering team to:
- Develop an action plan for "building up the Body" of Lott U.M.C.
- Develop a strategy for evangelizing to area families with children
- Develop a renovation strategy for the church building using district resources
- Guide the efforts of a separate Support Team which will staff physical
projects, outreach efforts, and short-term ministries at Lott Church
Rev. Fort asked for a team of 6-7 interested volunteers to serve in this endeavor consisting of representatives of the Lott and Marlin churches and the CLMs. In the event that an adequate number of volunteers of these three groups are not forthcoming within two weeks Rev. Fort advised that they would be "called" into service. He also charged the CLMs who were present to communicate the content of this meeting with their peers in order to provide them with the opportunity to volunteer in this effort. With that he opened the floor for discussion.
By consensus it was agreed during open discussion to begin a community canvassing campaign in August as well as weekly Sunday services. Many creative suggestions were offered which will be reviewed by the Steering Team in a future meeting. Judy Draper closed the meeting with prayer at 12:30.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Land area: 1.04 sq. miles, the zip code is 76656, and the area code is (254).
The population density is relatively low with only 645 people per sq. mile.
2007 population for Lott, Texas was 668. As noted elsewhere in the blog this number reflects a decline of 6.4% from the year 2000. Male residents represent 47% of the population compared with 53% females. The median age is 37 years, 12% higher than the state average.
The median household income in Lott was $31,910 which is 33% lower than the state average. The median value for a single-family dwelling was $54,728 – 55% below median figures for Texas. After a 10+ year period of no new recorded home construction 22 permits have been issued beginning in 2005 for building single-family dwellings costing an average of $55,000. The 2008 cost of living index in Lott is very low coming in at 71.1 in comparison with the national average of 100. When you combine this with the fact that median property taxes in Lott are a full 73% lower than the state average the community appears to be very affordable to live in.
The community's ethnic breakdown is:
*Only 23 residents were foreign born
which represents a mere 25% of the state average.
Educational attainment for residents 25 years and over:
68.0% High school or higher
10.7% Bachelor's degree or higher
2.7% Graduate or professional degree
At 10.9% Lott has a higher than average unemployment rate and those who are employed have a higher than average mean travel time of 28.1 minutes to work. Most common occupations for both men and women in Lott are predominately blue-collar.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
During a brief flurry of agricultural activity around the time WWII stimulated a rise in the population to 1,021 but then it began to decline within a decade of the conflicts end. The town was dealt a blow that it would not recover from when the railroad discontinued service in 1967. The number of businesses have steadily declined and a population of 668 was reported in 2007. This figure is down 6.4% from the figure reported in 2000.
- Condensed demographic summary for Lott, TX. (10 page report available on request)
- Church affiliation analysis for Lott, TX (Postal Code 76656)
- Church revitalization action plan proposal
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Thanks for allowing me to look at your blog. I wanted to give you a little more history. I, too, believe the idea of closing the Lott church is tough to take. Yes, if the members are not financially supporting the church, it would be considered. But they are. They love their church. The thing that almost killed the church, at least their membership in the Methodist denomination, was being told that they would have two services a month, on Sunday afternoons, no less! Whatever we offer now is a gigantic improvement from that. I would not have resigned from the church if I had suspected that such an arrangement was even possible, and I have told the members this. I am committed to those people for as long as they will have me. They have been terrific role models for my children, and a loving influence for my wife and I, particularly as both of our mothers have died and the ladies are quite maternalistic to us! I look forward to your participation on June 14th, and I feel a kindred spirit with you already. I will not support the closing of that church unless it is obvious that it's time - that is, no one is coming anymore. As long as two gather in my name.... Take care!
PS The church was hosting a pancake breakfast almost quarterly until Irene fell ill. They would average 25-40 families showing up on a Saturday morning. I think that shows that there is an idea in the community that this church exists, and that there are people already a little invested in its sustained presence. Things are not as bleak as you might think, but it is a disadvantaged community.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Speaking only for myself, it's going to be really tough. I have the greatest distance to cover to get to Lott of all our CLMs and I'm already working with multiple congregations. Combined with the fact that I'm gone for 13 hours a day to a Southern county making a living doesn't help matters any, either. But you know what? None of these issues are any more than a hollow excuse if it's God's will that I contribute as a part of this effort. This is the main component, that I seek His direction for my involvement.
For me, this is personal. As a 25-year veteran community leader and activist in Houston engaged in ecumenical social-justice ministries, this is right up my alley. This opportunity ignites all those burning passions in my heart to mount a crusade for (re)building the Kingdom in Lott, Texas. You may also notice from other postings at this site that I harbor strong objections to closing churches. So, the dilemma for me is not whether or not I should be involved, but rather, allowing Him to impose limitations as to what degree.
As each of you examine your own hearts and hopefully take your petitions to the Lord on this matter, know that you are not alone. We are all in this together and as result this should be viewed as a team effort. Please know also that I intend to contribute all that can to this enterprise and invite each of you to call on me as a resource in your endeavors to that end. Additionally, I plan to be in church at Lott U.M.C. for services at 9:30 on the 14th.
- Peace, Blessings & Godspeed -
Friday, May 15, 2009
I've never kept it a secret that I have a passion, not just for keeping the doors open to prevent another church closure, but reviving these old churches to become the beacons of hope and faith in their prospective communities as I believe our Lord intended. So, the news of our district leadership's concern and proposed involvement of our CLMs was just about the best thing that I've heard all year! This is an excellent opportunity for the CLMs to come together as a team and perform the service that they were called to
and provide the witness of authentic Christian action through their efforts.
My hat is off in salute to the vision of our district leadership and I sincerely hope to see everyone at the proposed meeting when it is announced.
- Peace and Blessings -
Friday, May 1, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Brother Pat went on to say: "Not only an increase in discipleship, but an increase in the faith filled practices of worship, including testimony, prayer, and spirit led worship are also needed to complete the change. There must be others who recognize this. Who are they?"
This is the question that I'd like to address and I solicit your input as well...
But perhaps it would be more appropriate to ask the question "WHERE are the others who recognize the need to let the Holy Spirit lead us in open and sincere worship unencumbered with rigid and rote liturgy? Where are THEY? They might very well be sitting next to you in church on Sunday morning and you'd never even know it.
Why? Because, unlike you who have undertaken this course of study in order to serve our Lord in a powerful way, most church-folk don't want to get involved, rock-the-boat, be branded as a renegade by their peers, and above all - move beyond their comfort zones - even for the benefit of their faith. In spite of the growing restlessness in the pews (and some defections), few are willing to step out in faith and pursue the path to authentic worship that is on a lot of our hearts. Are you?
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
There can be little doubt that this group is serious about the mission God has placed on their hearts.
Discussion was peppered with serious concern for the current state of the church and what we as disciples are called to do about it throughout the class time Saturday. There were some empassioned words expressed by several members about the need to return to our roots as a denomination. A shift of primary agenda to evangelism beyond the church and away from preservation of the church intitutional structure was cited as a formative step to reclaiming the roots of Methodism. In essence, we voiced that quality of discipleship was of far greater importance than an emphasis on quantity of membership.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I have been privilaged to work with the three churches of the Brenham Circuit (Mt. Zion, Pleasant Grove, and Richard's Grove U.M.C.) for the last two years. Pleasant Grove has services on the 1st Sunday of each month only, Mt. Zion U.M.C. has services on the 2nd and 4th Sundays, and Richard's Grove has services only on the 3rd Sunday. As you can imagine all three of these once thriving, historic churches are in serious decline and struggle to maintain their aging edifaces and pay their apportionments each year.
We know that CLMs are called to fill the clergy shortage as a low-cost alternative
for struggling churches just like these. My question is: Are we also called to be turn-around pastors, working to revive these churches in lieu of qualified clergy?
Or, are we just expected to keep the doors open until the inevitable end occurs?
Monday, March 30, 2009
It has since been expanded to include the previous class of CLMs, participating clergy, and members of the Lott Revitalization Steering Team as a vehicle to promote dialog during this project. Please respect one another's rights to express their thoughts in a loving, Christian atmosphere.