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Traveling Down Freedom Road – part one

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by Max Courtney

Someone (or several someones) suggested that I write a blog detailing the St. Stephen Freedom Road field trip. Yes, I thought; that needs to be done so that others might share this adventure.

I was privileged to lead a class at St. Stephen during January and February entitled “Freedom Road: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Black America in the 1950s and 1960s.” After teaching many years in diverse venues (university, police academy, church) I can say without equivocation that this was the most fulfilling class I ever taught. Much of the credit for that goes to the participants whose enthusiasm for the subject was an arterial elixir for me. Much of it also goes to having taken the capstone field trip—Beth Fultz’s suggestion.Read More »Traveling Down Freedom Road – part one

Summertime, and the Livin’ is Easy–Not!

Remember when you were a kid, and you looked forward to summer as the time when things slowed down and you got to play and relax and watch TV and sleep late and go to the beach? That early training sticks with me as an adult. I still imagine summer is going to be slow and relaxed.

Of course, the truth was I spent a whole lot of the summer pretty bored, wishing there was something to do.

Beth Fultz and friend demonstrating her "tie-dyed" hands at VBS!

And there’s plenty to do here at SSPC!  Summer is prime time for ministry. Whether it’s celebrations, summer camps, reaching out to the needy struggling through this hot Texas summer, or preparing for the upcoming year, one thing I can say with authority is that summers are NOT slow at St. Stephen.Read More »Summertime, and the Livin’ is Easy–Not!


Several years ago a gay male couple came to St. Stephen with their son, seeking to have their son baptized. They shared that they’d had an unfortunate experience at the large Houston church they’d previously attended. Both had been deeply involved at the church for years. Both had taught Sunday school or served on important committees. It was known in the church that they were a couple, but they never felt ostracized until they went to the church’s leadership, the Session, and asked to baptize their son.Read More »Presbyterian?

I Miss Billy Graham

When I became a Christian as a teen in the ’70s, Billy Graham was the guy I looked to. I read Decision Magazine avidly every month. I like to tell people that “I was a teenage Evangelical.”

But when I went to college, I began to fall away from my early evangelical roots. Then, too, I discovered a soulmate and guide in Billy Graham, whose post-Nixon soul-searching led him to question some of the assumptions that had driven his early ministry–assumptions about God’s anointment of leaders, the unblemished blessedness of the American Way, and the necessity of nuclear weapons. He was a harbinger of a new, broader-minded evangelicalism, and you see his spiritual children in the likes of Rob Bell. And, I hope, in me. Graham’s humble, honest search for a broader way to represent Biblical truth in a political setting helped me return to my own evangelical roots.Read More »I Miss Billy Graham

Southern Summer St. Stephen Hospitality

Hospitality defined: (first definition) friendly and generous behavior towards visitors and guests, intended to make them feel welcome. (

This summer is so crucial to the relationship St. Stephen shares with the surrounding community. We are on display for families through Vacation Bible School and Afternoon Camp in June, at the newly created opportunity- Camp Gilmont at St. Stephen Day Camp in July, and at Augusts’ Music Day Camp. Also in July, the Youth prepare for their trip to Chicago’s Southside, as we represent a Texas hospitality as we work among varied denominations and ethnicities in our proclamation to the world.Read More »Southern Summer St. Stephen Hospitality

Pentecost Promise

by Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch

Yesterday–Pentecost–started out  appropriately enough with some surprises. The sanctuary air conditioning didn’t work. This is Texas in the summer–you want the A/C to work! While a crackerjack team of retired General Dynamics engineers worked to solve the problem, folks at the 8:30 service sat faithfully through a very, very warm service. I kidded that the heat reminded us of the Tongues of Fire and the breeze blowing through the open doors reminded us of the Wind of the Spirit, both of which came upon the city of Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost 2000 years ago. I don’t know if anybody thought I was funny….!Read More »Pentecost Promise

VBS & Afternoon Camp, June 20 – 24

Children are invited to St. Stephen Presbyterian Church’s Vacation Bible School and Afternoon Camp, Monday – Friday, June 20 – 24, 2011.   You have two options for your child’s activities:
#1.    VBS morning only, 9 a.m. – 12 noon ;
#2.   VBS and Afternoon Camp, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Multi-child discounts are available for families.   VBS costs $5 per child.  VBS and Afternoon Camp costs $70 which benefits the Youth Mission Trip to Chicago in July.
We offer Bible Story, Crafts, Recreation, Music, Cooking, Cross Creations & Mission, and Science in the morning;  In the Afternoon, we add Wet Recreation (slip and slide and water sprinkler fun), movies, naps (for the youngest), crafts and more music.    Bring a sack lunch and swim suit for all day.

Plenty of room for everyone.  Sign up now!  For more information, contact Beth Fultz, Director of Christian Education, 817-927-8411 or

Read More »VBS & Afternoon Camp, June 20 – 24