For the last story of each year, Our Faith challenges its good readers to a brief and friendly quiz concerning some of the more unusual stories of the year. Answers can be found at the end.
1) Some local churches are growing rapidly even as their parent denomination is shrinking. Among those that refuse to participate in the current religious recession is one United Methodist Church that guides visitors in by telling them to “turn at Buc-ee’s.” Though they building as fast as they can, their two Sunday services are already close to full. It’s also a church which has a concentration of artists and creatives. Its symbol is a cross formed from cattails.
What is its name and where is it?
2) Up north in Houston, a number of the largest churches have their own armed security services, staffed primarily with off-duty peace officers. In Galveston County, there are likely armed individuals in many, if not most, worship services. Experts disagreed on whether those with a valid concealed handgun permit should bring their weapons to worship, but in practice, many do. Some pastors and staff encourage the practice and a few are armed themselves.
What did one expert calculate as the odds of a church shooting?
3) Police chaplains have long been common in Texas, but after a number of serious losses struck fire departments across the state, there may be more fire departments also seeking such counsel.
This year a local pastor, whose son is a Galveston firefighter, took up spiritual responsibility for the island’s fire department.
The firefighters call him “Chappie,” but what is his full name and what church does he lead?
4) Many churches have good coffee. It’s hard to attract guests with warmed over instant fare. But only one goes as far as combining a premium coffee bar with a congregation. Not only are the two one, but profits from the lattes and espresso have been funding charitable and evangelistic work all over the world.
Where in Galveston County can you get prayer, a Christian concert or a sermon along with your custom cappuccino or chai tea?
5) Although many local clerics are well-educated and well-traveled, few will have stood in the presence of such science fiction royalty as Battlestar Galactica’s Admiral Adama (James Olmos) or Xena (Lucy Lawless). Nor have a majority collected the writings of SF greats from Asimov to Zelany.
Which local pastor knows all about alternate universes and where does she serve?
1) The Watershed Church, 1751 E. League City Pkwy, League City. 2) Church security expert Carl Chinn said in a Christianity Today interview that he calculated the odds of being a victim of gun violence while in church as roughly equal to the likelihood of being at the receiving end of a thunderstorm’s lightning bolt. 3) Kelley Vaughan of Jamaica Beach’s Seaside Baptist Church, 16534 San Luis Pass Road. 4) Texas City’s Coffee Connection, 9300 Emmett F Lowry Expy No. 222, a.k.a. The Connection Church. 5) The Rev. Elizabeth Grasham-Reeves, who pastors Galveston’s Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at 2702 Avenue O ½.
Rick Cousins can be reached at email@example.com.