Recent Saint Paul sermons are now available on SoundCloud. You can hear them on your PC at https://soundcloud.com/sppchouston or, even better, download the app from SoundCloud, search for Saint Paul and hear them on your phone.
John Hirling has joined Saint Paul as interim pastor as we continue to seek God’s guidance in finding a new minister for Saint Paul. John is well known to many of us, having served in the Houston area in various capacities and recently at a church in Brenham. Welcome, John!
Here is his biographical statement:
I was born and reared in Cincinnati. Dad worked as a refrigeration maintenance man for Kroger but had also been a forest ranger and in the Civilian Conservation Corp. Mom worked for a large retailer when I was young, and later as an audit supervisor for the IRS. Dad died on Christmas Day, 1988. Mom died on Easter 2004. I have one sister, Sally, who still lives in Cincinnati. We were a church-going family: Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, Wednesday evenings, Thursday choir practice, a couple of weeks of revival in the Summer, and VBS, of course. Dad was a bass, Sally, a soprano and I sang tenor. Some of my fondest memories are driving on vacation, singing hymns and anthems, in harmony. Mom taught preschoolers. Dad was a deacon. I think I was about eight when I “preached” my first “sermon.” Though relationships were strong with one another at Chase Avenue Church of Christ (later Clovernook Christian Church), I don’t recall much grace or much emphasis on a living relationship with God. I couldn’t understand why everybody who wasn’t us was going to hell. I also couldn’t understand why women couldn’t serve as ministers, elders or deacons. I thought about going to seminary, but in high school, I discovered a different kind of spirit (or should I say “spirits?”). That is a long story, mostly boring. I’ll be glad to share it with whoever is interested another day. Recovery is much more interesting. I returned to college after serving a tour in the Navy. In 1975, I moved to Galveston and began attending law school at the University of Houston. That’s where I met my first wife. Sobriety found me in 1980. Clare and I were very active in service but church was not part of my plan. Clare convinced me to give it a try, and I thank God that she did. For the first time, I heard a word of grace – at Saint Paul Presbyterian Church – and it was transformative. But I still wasn’t going to become a member of a church. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor! While serving Saint Paul as youth group leaders, Clare and I learned we could take seminary courses at the Houston extension of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Our pastor took us up for a weekend. I started waking up with a mental image – Presbyterians don’t have visions (grin) – of a corridor with a closed door on the right and a door on the left open the width of my foot and my foot was in it. We applied, and the image went away. Alas, the marriage did not survive seminary. Clare now serves a church in northern Arkansas. I’ve served as a solo pastor in Allen, Texas, (4 years) and northwest Houston (12 years) but for the last 11 years I’ve been doing intentional transitional work. This will be my eighth transitional call. I met Terri in 1998, and we married in 2002. For many years, we did medieval and Renaissance historical reenactment but have cut back the last couple of years. Terri is an independent contractor for Aflac. My approach to ministry it to “walk alongside” as we serve God together. You are the experts in the ministries of Saint Paul. Early on, I’ll be trying not to fall off the learning curve. As we serve, we will seek needs to be met, hurts to be healed, and opportunities to grow in faith and witness. If I had to sum up my theology in one line, it would be, “God loves us and there’s nothing we can do about it.” I truly believe that the joy of living comes in serving others. God be with you! God bless, John
Saint Paul has moved to a temporary home. Join us at the True Buddha Temple Fellowship Hall located at 7734 Mary Bates in Houston.
The plan is eventually to locate the new Saint Paul on five acres at Highway 6 and Voss Road in Sugar Land, near Kempner High School. The congregation voted to sell our longtime home at 7200 Bellaire Blvd. and move to a new site farther west.
But for now, we have space at the temporary site for Sunday worship, classes, nursery, Early Childhood Ministries, meetings and all that we need. Join the Saint Paul Presbyterian Church uprising and this major new chapter for the body of Christ.
Saint Paul folks help homeless and low-income people on a regular basis.
We return to Church Under the Bridge on the second Saturday of each month. Church Under the Bridge is operated by Thousand Hills Ministries. Saint Paul folks prepare and serve a meal as part of the worship service. We typically serve up to 100 people or more in each visit. We meet at 5:30 p.m. at Saint Paul and carpool to the site near downtown Houston.
We also volunteer at the food pantry operated by the Christian Community Service Center, screening requests for assistance and stocking and providing food from the pantry. Want to help? Join us at St. Luke’s-Gethsemane just down the street on Bellaire Boulevard. No need to sign up – just meet us there! We typically provide this service on the fourth Saturday of every month, from 8:45 a.m. until noon.
We need your help for both projects! All are welcome. Please join us.
Early Childhood Ministries, Saint Paul’s preschool program, continues to grow with new students and fun programs. Register your child today! ECM has served the children of southwest Houston for 50 years with a nurturing environment and an outstanding staff. Call 713-772-1819 or email to learn more. There’s also information here.