Tag Archive: Christ United Methodist Church

Katie Buck and Dan Roark

First of all, it was for about five minutes. And, obviously, I wasn’t really Jesus.

I received an email on Saturday from Tina Thompson-Broussard, the Choir Director at Christ UMC, Farmers Branch, saying that she had asked the staff who they thought would play Jesus, and Pam Capener mentioned me. Tina asked if I would be Jesus during a song in the early service on Sunday – no speaking, just acting. The early service begins at 8:50 a.m. so I was to be there at 8:20.

Katie Buck and Dan Roark

I didn’t have a show on Saturday, but we were to turn the clocks forward. It was doable – needless to say, I don’t usually go to the early service. Besides, how many times do you get the chance to be an Irish Jesus? After a few hours deliberation, I replied in the affirmative.

All I knew was that I was to be Jesus. The sermon series is on Jesus Christ Superstar, so as an old hippie, I knew that what I usually wear would probably work. I did have a pair of sandals, just in case. I thought about having my tie-dyed shirt at the ready, but it is the early service and it might not go over.

Katie Buck and Dan Roark

I was getting ready for my role Saturday night. I knew she was looking for the Jesus Christ Superstar Jesus. But I kept falling back into the Eric Clapton Jesus in the Who musical, Tommy, when he walks down the aisle of the church in a white robe playing a Les Paul. But I didn’t have a white robe. I’m just more comfortable with a guitar.

I walked into the church at 8:15, coffee in hand. The choir was practicing in the choir room, so I just hung out in the hallway reading the bulletin board over and over and drinking coffee. After about 4 minutes, Katie Buck walked in and smiled at me

Katie Buck and Dan Roark

like she expected to see me. I commented that it was really early, and she agreed. Katie and her older sister, Lillian, were in youth with our boys. Her father, Charles, led the confirmation class that all the kids went through. So I didn’t think anything about it.

Then Tina walked in the door, put something in the choir room, and took Katie and I to the sanctuary. Then I learned what the plan was. The sermon was entitled “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.” We were to do our little “skit” during the Anthem -Kyrie – Schubert Mass in G Major by Franz Schubert. (I know, it surprised me, too – and I was Jesus.)

As the music began, I was to walk up the middle aisle of the sanctuary to the chancel. Where I was to step up on the riser, turn, and stand there “looking Jesus-y.” Then, after so many measures, Katie came up. I turned as she was coming up and faced her when she got there. We looked each other in the eye, then Katie “the fallen woman” (I know – I felt better, too when I learned that) would bow before me, look up, and then back down. I patted her on the shoulder, and helped her up. We looked each other in the eye. Then she looked down again, I reached out and raised her chin, and we looked at each other, Katie looking relieved, and me looking Jesus-y.

Katie Buck and Dan Roark

We practiced it once and Tina asked if we wanted to go through it again. We said we were good. Katie had actually brought a sheet fashioned into a tunic. As you see, I wore my shirt with the fish on it, untucked, and jeans. Before the service began, I went to Charles and Rebecca Buck with Katie.

“I’ve gotta be honest with you,” I was telling them, “I don’t think even Jesus would get up this early. I see him strolling down to the synagogue about noon.”

So I went and sat with Cyndy toward the back, and Katie sat on the front row. The service began. After the scripture reading, the anthem began. I walked up the aisle, turned and looked Jesus-y, Katie came up and we did our thing, and returned to our seats.

After the service, people thought we did well, and it all worked – Katie has done some acting – hence the tunic. While Katie and I were looking at each other, we actually had a conversation with our eyes. And then, just like that, I was plain old Dan again. Which is a good thing. Being Jesus ain’t easy!

Peace be with you.

fb_img_1479572463549I just got home a little while ago from helping to pick the food up from Metrocrest Social Services with members of Christ United Methodist Church to deliver Thanksgiving food to the Sack Summer Hunger (SSH) families. With the weather having turned cool, it was quite a bit different than the 90+ degrees weather we worked in during the summer. All of the volunteers were in excellent holiday sharing spirit as everyone helped get the vehicles loaded.

When most of the vehicles had been loaded, I headed out with the food for my SSH neighbors. It was the first time I had seen my “summer friends” since SSH ended for the summer on Saturday, August 6th. At the one house I delivered to, the father opened the door as I reached the porch with the food. At each of the two apartments, after a quick knock, they answered the door quickly. Everyone had smiles on their faces – they very much appreciated the food. And they were glad to see me, too. It was like a reunion at each home.

At the one apartment with the little girl that always comes to the door with her mother, the girl was more excited than usual. Partly, I think, because the food was in a sealed box – like a surprise package. Also partly because we were happy to see one another. We had shared smiles once a week all summer. As I was leaving, after I said “Happy Thanksgiving,” the little girl said “thank you, thank you, Happy Thanksgiving, thank you….” and she kept expressing her joy as her mother closed the door.

I don’t deliver the food to hear “thank you.” I do it because it’s the Christian thing to do. But hearing the little girl still talking as I walked down the stairs was a really nice bonus.

I leave you with the video for my song What the Lord Intends (Sack Summer Hunger). Peace be with you.

Christ Alive Band with JR Byrd 2Christ UMC Farmers Branch hosted the conference-wide Children’s and Youth Volunteer Training Event on Saturday morning, August 13. Amy Ruppersberg, Children’s Director, and David Magallanes, Student Ministries Director, welcomed the volunteers at 8:30 a.m. Amy thanked everyone for volunteering and went over the positions and the schedule. David said a prayer before the group departed to the greeting stations or the narthex for registration and giving directions.

A breakfast table had a variety of pastry options, fruit, and even homemade sausage biscuits. People from churches around the conference arrived to check in or register at 9 a.m. Worship began in the sanctuary at 9:15 with the Christ Alive Band. The keynote speaker was Joe Stobaugh, Executive Minister of Worship and Arts at Grace Avenue UMC in Frisco.

Stobaugh began by playing a praise song on ukulele, then had the congregation to join Joe Stobaugh on ukulelehim in singing. He is the leader of the ukulele choir at Grace Avenue. Joe is also a very outgoing and affable man and a practiced speaker. He shared a nice – and personal – story of not being interested at all in singing when he was growing up. A mentor saw some potential in him and talked him into playing guitar in the band, even offering to give him a very nice guitar for one dollar. Stobaugh said he could not do that. To which his mentor said he would give it to him for free with two conditions. One, he would only play music for God on the guitar. Two, when the time came, he would pass it on to another youth. Joe still has the guitar and plays it. When the time comes he will pass it on as agreed. An excellent example of the effect a volunteer can have on children and youth.

Beth McClure

Beth McClure

Appreciating and Equipping Your Volunteers was facilitated by the Children’s Minister at Grace Avenue UMC, Kristen Lane. She discussed tools of the trade and giving volunteers what they need and more. Kristen was a lively and vibrant speaker, as was Beth McClure. Beth led the Your Classroom is God’s Classroom workshop. She is the Director of the Early Development Program at Holy Covenant UMC in Carrollton. McClure demonstrated the way she motivated the children to behave by using little “jingles” that let the children know was coming next.

Kelly Carpenter of the Children, Youth, and Young Adult Ministry of the North Texas

Kelly Carpenter at left corner of table

Kelly Carpenter at left corner of table

Conference, led a roundtable for Children’s Ministry in the first session and Youth Ministry in the second session. The round tables were discussions about life, ministry, balance, programming, and anything needing to be discussed. Some good ideas were shared and a few people were able to get some things off their chest as to some effects of volunteering.

Morgan Stafford

Morgan Stafford

In the second session, which pertained to youth, Morgan Stafford led the workshop on The Adventure of Youth Mentoring. As Executive Director at Christ’s Foundry, Stafford discussed the joys and challenges of youth mentoring. Bill Mauldin, Director of Family Ministries at Holy Covenant UMC in Carrollton, talked to volunteers about applying principles from the book “Good to Great” to youth programs.


Working together to create a smooth handoff between Children’s and Youth Ministry was

Amy Ruppersberg on left, David Magallanes on right.

Amy Ruppersberg on left, David Magallanes on right.

the subject of The Phases of Children’s and Youth Ministry. Amy Ruppersberg and David Magallanes are well positioned to tackle the subject. For one thing, they talk often and are working toward that smooth handoff with the children at Christ UMC. The transition from one phase of life to another can be a lot for some children to absorb all at once. Knowing the youth director personally while still in elementary school goes a long way toward easing the effect of growing up.

Kenny Dickson

Kenny Dickson

Pastor Kenny Dickson of Christ UMC, along with members Jerry Russell and Darren Gardner, presented the Taking It To the Streets session. Dickson explained how the title to a Doobie Brothers song became the church’s theme for the year. Which means intentionally going beyond the walls of the church into the community and actually becoming involved, not just simply being a presence. Going back to thinking of the church as the people, not just the physical building. Activities were planned with just that interaction with the community in mind. From the Easter egg hunt in a local park, to swim nights at the community pool, and delivering food to elementary children as part of Sack Summer Hunger. Mission, fellowship, and worship opportunities with the community are relatively endless. There is always a new need, a new soul to be saved, or new crises to help someone deal with. And all outside of the church building.

After the final sessions, everyone gathered in the gym for lunch. Which consisted of box Lunch 2lunches from Jason’s Deli provided by the North Texas Conference. Dot Stewart of CUMC helped set up the tables for lunch, as well as the breakfast table, and served drinks at both. Attendees and presenters alike gathered to go over what they had learned, new ideas they came up with, and general church and conference news.

Amy Ruppersberg and David Magallanes should be commended for planning the training event. The presenters should be commended for passing along the knowledge they have acquired through practical application. Amy and David thanked the volunteers from Christ UMC who helped the morning move along smoothly. The attendees should be appreciated for taking time out of their weekend to learn how to more effectively serve the children and youth. And all volunteers everywhere need to be thanked and appreciated. Since biblical times, when faithful volunteers kept house churches alive, volunteers are still keeping churches alive through ministry and mission – inside and outside of the church building.

Peace be with you.

Dan at WildflowerI was running late for the Wildflower Arts and Music Festival last Sunday. My scheduled time at the DSA booth by the Courtyard Stage was 4 – 6 p.m. I was to play at 5:30. At 2 p.m., I had to set up the sound for Cat McGee at Mercy Wine Bar where she would play a show at 7 p.m. Then I had to take my son to work. A friend, Raquel Lindemann, said she would cover for me at the booth until I got there. I finally found the yellow tag parking lot. It was in the blue parking garage – go figure.

I entered the festival and proceeded to look for the Courtyard Stage. It is easy to become disoriented in a sea of white booths. I was standing in an intersection of lines of white booths, deciding in which direction I should turn. Suddenly, a big bearded man grabbed me by the shoulders.

“Are you Dan Roark?”

“Yes,” I nodded, searching his face to figure out who he was.

“I’m John Welch. Do you remember me?”

“John, of course I do,” I replied, putting my guitar down to shake his hand. I recognized him from what little I could of his face around his eyes. There’s more than one reason I look people in the eyes when I talk to them.

To cut a rambling conversation short, he asked how we knew each other. It didn’t take but a minute to remember our mutual friend Jim Salerno, who played bongos with me for a few years. I told him I was playing at 5:30 and had to leave. He was still amazed we’d run into each other. We hadn’t seen each other for about thirty-five years. I still wasn’t where I was supposed to be. And it was getting later by the second.

I finally got good directions from someone. I was turning the corner to my left when someone grabbed my left arm. My mind was reeling at this point.

“Dan Roark?”

“Yes,” I nodded. It was getting to be a habit.

“Randy Box, remember me?”

“Absolutely, Randy, how are you doing?” I had recognized him instantly. We talked for just a minute. I told him I was playing at 5:30 and he also said he would try to come listen to me. We hadn’t seen each other in forty-two years.

I finally made it to the booth. I thanked Raquel, and took my place at the booth. Mr. Troll who

Mr. Troll

Mr. Troll

was scheduled to play at 5, started a little early because there was a lull in the lineup. I followed Troll and closed out the stage for 2016. The videos that Harry Hewlett – who also ran sound for the weekend – took of my show can be found on my youtube channel.

After I finished my set, Troll and I walked to the parking garage. I loaded up my guitar and bag and headed for Mercy Wine Bar. Cat’s show was great. The sound was better for her second set. It had been a long day and for some reason, I had trouble with her vocals. I reset everything between sets and it worked out okay. I say all that because, despite any problems I may have had with the sound, Cat’s performance was relatively flawless.

Cat McGee

Cat McGee

You can hear Cat and myself, along with John Mason, at the Sack Summer Hunger Concert on June 5th from 5-6:30 p.m. at Christ United Methodist Church in Farmers Branch. Tickets are $20 with $12 going directly to Metrocrest Social Services and the Sack Summer Hunger program. The SSH program distributes food to children who receive free or reduced lunches during the school year, but don’t get anything during the summer.

Peace be with you.

In today’s tough economic climate where we all try to do more with less, it is sometimes difficult to know when, or if, to add more staff. We ask ourselves: Do I get more work first, then bring in extra workers to handle it or do I go ahead and bring in the workers so I can handle more work as I get it?

The Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter of the Religion Communicators Council has a program planned to provide some answers and insight, especially for our communication and faith-based needs. Abigail Allen, a senior account executive with Creative Circle will share ideas, suggestions and background for staffing. We’ll meet on Thursday, Feb. 23, 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. at Christ United Methodist Church.

Creative Circle is a specialized staffing agency representing advertising, creative, marketing, visual communication and interactive professionals. Ms. Allen has more than 12 years of experience in the advertising, creative and marketing industry. She works closely with companies, agencies and nonprofits in Dallas-Fort Worth to help identify top talent on both a freelance and full time basis. She has extensive experience in marketing communications, project management and business development.

Allen will introduce her company, explain how the process works, and give us examples, so we’ll be better prepared to work within our own organizations.

Cost is $15 and includes lunch. Please email or call Deb Christian, dchristian@umr.org, 214.630.6495 x147 to make a reservation.

——- From Deb Christian, Secretary, D-FW Chapter, RCC

Peace be with you.

September Meeting

The Future of Journalism will be the subject of the October  meeting of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Chapter of the Religion Communicators Council (RCC), an interfaith organization. The presentation will be a panel discussion with panelists including Sam Hodges, managing editor of The United Methodist Reporter, David Sedeño, editor of the Texas Catholic / El Católico de Texas, and Jeff Weiss, long-time reporter and religion writer for the Dallas Morning News. Also invited is Jake Batsell, assistant professor for digital journalism at SMU. Providing additional input (although a schedule conflict precludes his attendance) is Ken Camp, managing editor of The Baptist Standard.

Questions to be considered include:

Will journalism will survive the digital age? If so, what will it look like or in what form?

How will journalism be paid for? Is it possible to make a profit or will it be a non-profit or subsidized “public good”?

Will the news be good? Why?

The meeting will be held at Christ United Methodist Church in Farmers Branch on Thursday, Oct. 27 from 12 – 1:30 p.m. The $15 fee will include lunch. Please email or call Deb Christian, RCC Secretary, at dchristian@umr.org, 214.630.6495 x147 by Monday, Oct. 24 to make reservations. Bring your own thoughts and answers to these timely, pertinent questions.

I will be the host for the meeting. The discussions are always lively and informative with timely, relevant topics. This particular topic is of major concern to communicators, journalists, and writers as we look forward to the future with technological advances, social media, blogs, news feeds, etc.

Peace be with you.

The Innovators, a Christian Acappella band, presented a harmonious and spiritual performance in the sanctuary at Christ United Methodist Church, Farmers Branch, on Wednesday, June 1st at 7 p.m. The six young men were visiting Texas from Innercity UMC in Harare, Zimbabwe. Tatenda Sithole, Michael Sithole, Knowledge Radyo, Dzago Chatsama, Marvellas Nhubu, and Leopold Chipatiso filled the sanctuary with their glorious harmonies, illustrating the presence of the Holy Spirit.

In between songs from their CD, such as The Lord’s Prayer and Never Give Up, the men took turns introducing songs and providing background stories. When they decided to bring their musical ministry to the United States, they faced several obstacles. The first obstacle was obtaining visas to leave Zimbabwe, which are difficult to come by. Each attempt required a non-refundable fee of $240 dollars (US). They were denied initially, despite letters of recommendation.

Each time they were denied, they refused to give up. They did not have money, but they had their faith that God is good and their musical talent with which to raise money. In addition to trying to get visas, the Innovators also raise money for their charity which helps to support orphans in Zimbabwe. After several attempts, the Innovators did, indeed, receive one year visas. Then they faced the task of paying for airplane travel to the states. Following many prayers and conversations with Stefany Simmons and others of the Connectional Table, the prayers were answered and the musical group was on their way to Texas.

A few of the songs were sung in the African dialect of Zimbabwe. The audience was told that “you may not understand the words, but you understand the love of God. I don’t know exactly what it means, but I was told the ‘love of God.’” Other songs included a version of Blessed Assurance in both African and English, Thank You, Lord, and Holy Spirit Fill me, Fill Me. Before the conclusion of the concert, the Innovators had the audience dancing in the aisles, singing, sharing praise and welcoming the Holy Spirit.

The tour, which began at Hamilton Prison in Bryan, with shows in College Station, Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio will end with shows in the Corpus Christi area before the group returns to Zimbabwe on June 13th. The congregation of CUMC, along with the love offering taken during the performance, sends their prayers with the Innovators as they continue to use their musical talents to praise the Lord. Thanks be to God for faith as strong as that of the Innovators.

Peace be with you.


Stefany Simmons introduces Innovators

Micaela White, daughter of Danny White, who graduated with my younger brother, Dennis, and granddaughter of Don and Jan White, who attend my church, Christ UMC, Farmers Branch, is fighting leukemia at age 18. Micaela has been at Children’s Hospital since Christmas and is currently in ICU. This Saturday, March 26th, Danny will be cooking barbeque at Rosemeade Market   from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to raise money for Micaela’s medical expenses. Danny has vowed to cook as much barbeque as he can.

There is an invite on Facebook at the wtwhite.org  group page  where you can RSVP. It will help them to have enough barbeque. If you graduated from W. T. White, particularly during the ‘70’s, come to have barbeque, catch up with people from high school, and help Micaela. If you cannot come out but want to help, donations can be made at any Bank of America location. The account number is 488031763938 and the routing number is 111000025.

Micaela also needs blood and blood products donated to Carter Bloodcare  in her name to support an upcoming bone marrow transplant. Her account information is: Micaela White #050332 Children’s Medical Center Building D Dallas, Texas. Prayers are also needed. The picture of Micaela is from a WFAA news story which has more information on her situation.

Peace be with you.

The Yale Women’s Slavic Chorus presented a delightful performance on Sunday evening, March 13th, in the sanctuary at Christ United Methodist Church in Farmers Branch, Tx. The chorus is Yale’s oldest all-female ensemble, founded in 1969, the first year of undergraduate coeducation at the college. The Slavic Chorus is comprised of a group of women from a variety of cultural and academic backgrounds who share a common interest in Slavic music.

Using the traditional dumbek, or doumbek, hand drum, and clad in authentic Balkan garb, the nine young women performing on the 13th sang songs from the countries of Bulgaria, Croatia, Russia, Georgia, Poland, and the Ukraine. The “Slavs,” as they are affectionately called, moved effortlessly through the two sets of music with dissonant harmonies, syncopated rhythms, and distinctive vocal qualities. The folk songs from the different countries told of love, marriage, work, war, country life, and sorrow. The women took turns introducing each selection, giving a bit of the story line and background.

While primarily an undergraduate group, the chorus also includes members from the rest of the Yale-New Haven community. The chorus is entirely student-run and student-directed. Rachel LaViola, of Frisco, sings second soprano and is one of the three current tour managers. In her introduction, LaViola explained that the group was staying at her home during the Dallas tour. Sarah Larsson, singing second alto and one of the two current business managers, stated that some of the Slavs had been familiar with Slavic music before college, while others heard the music and instantly knew they had to audition.

With the constant sensory overload present in our lives, an evening of rhythmic, harmonic folk songs from other countries and cultures – allowing the listener to immerse oneself in that culture – is a welcome change. The enthusiasm of the Slavs was readily contagious. The hypnotic harmonies calmed the worried souls of the audience. The worries would return. Fortunately, so would the memories of an evening of beautiful music sung by women who truly enjoy the music they feel called to sing. More pictures will be found below.

Peace be with you.


The Communications Conference 2011, presented by UMR Communications, parent company of the United Methodist Reporter, was held at the Presbyterian Ministry Center in Irving on Thursday, February 24th, and Friday, the 25th. The event was previously called the Editor’s Conference – for editors of faith-based publications. Realizing that communicators often wear many hats, the UMR staff changed the title to the Communicators Conference.

The conference opened on Thursday with a luncheon followed by a keynote address by Rev. Tim McLemore, associate director in the Office of Public Affairs at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology, that set the tone for the conference. The conference was attended by communicators from the United Methodist Church and other denominations in various areas of the country. Workshops provided tips on organization, communication plans, branding, media choices, photos and Photoshop, volunteer optimization, financing for communications, writing skills, and online tips, tools, and tricks.

Tim McLemore

Presenters from the staff of UMR included Liz Applegate, New Media Associate, Erika Dorsey, Design and Production Manager, Cherrie Graham, Advertising Manager, and Mary Jacobs, Staff Writer. Other presenters included John Greenberger, COO for ReTransform (former CFO of UMR), Samantha Naeyaert, founder of Muddle Management (an organizing and efficiency company), Patrick Steil, owner of ChurchBuzz, and Patrick Shownes, Communications Coordinator for the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Steil also gave the closing keynote address, giving attendees online tools they could put into action upon their return home.

As one of the communicators in attendance, representing Christ United Methodist Church in Farmers Branch and the Communications Committee, I can say that the conference was an enjoyable time of fellowship with fellow communicators. The conference is one of the few times some of us get to meet in person. The conference was also a chance share the problems we face as communicators. I’m already looking forward to next year.

See Mallory McCall’s article on the event in the UM Reporter. More pictures below.

Peace be with you.

Sam Hodges and Deb Christian

Liz Applegate

Tim McLemore

%d bloggers like this: