Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Baptist Temple sets fast pace for summer

Summer has reached the Baptist Temple Campus. Jubilee Academy is out for the summer but things have not quieted down. Care Warriors have begun their summer program to help young people with developmental disabilities build life skills that lead to greater independence. The program includes music and crafts and working at the thrift store. During the summer, the thrift store will be open on Mondays and Wednesdays and run by Care Warriors. Our usual Tuesday/Thursday schedule will also be maintained.

Our Early Learning Center is hopping as well with 110 enrolled. Summer day camp has filled in the gap created by the end of after school care.

Crosspointe Inc, a nonprofit organization that helps people reintegrate into society, was here on the first Saturday of June, moving a large mound of mulch into the community garden. The mulch is a beautiful way to suppress the weeds on the pathways. A crew of BT folks cut down the dead citrus trees around our Long Mission House. The trees were victims of the recent freeze.

A mission team from First Baptist Church of Tulsa arrived this week to lead to VBS for our Early Learning Center and at Highland Park. They also brought a construction team to work on a couple of projects. One was to seal 17 of our first story windows, providing increased security and insulation. Another was to prepare a space for, soon to arrive, Fletcher Seminary. They built bookcases, ran electrical and computer network wiring, painted the walls. They helped to set a fast pace for our summer.

We do not have any more groups scheduled for the summer. COVID fears discouraged churches from making summer plans but many are starting to venture out. Past experience and flexibility will allow us to maximize opportunities as they present themselves.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Spiritual and physical health make stronger disciples.

Installing the gym floor in 1967

The Baptist Temple gym was completed in 1967 as a way to provide physical fitness opportunities for our community. BT has a long and storied history of sports activity. Our oldest trophy is dated 1936 for a softball championship. Since then, there have been numerous championships in multiple sports.

The gym has been used for a variety of activities including basketball, volleyball, badminton, martial arts and more. However, as the membership of BT aged, gym usage declined. By the start of the 21st century it was rarely used.

When the church resolved to increase its community involvement, things began to change. A new charter school used the gym daily during the school year and our summer day camp used it when school was out. In the evenings, we had karate. On the weekends a variety of recreational activities.

As word got out, youth basketball teams started using the gym for practice in the evenings and, occasionally, for tournaments. Additionally, mission groups that stay on our campus overnight use our locker room showers.

Today, the gym is used day and night, seven days a week all year long. Along with the youth basketball clubs, four adult recreation groups use it as well.

San Antonio has a higher than average number of diabetics and its related problems. Fighting childhood obesity, a nation-wide problem, is key to preventing “lifestyle” diseases, including diabetes. Organized recreational activity is not only improves physical health but, also, provides a healthy after school environment. In fact, studies consistently show a connection between activity and better school performance.

As to be expected, the years have taken their toll, so we are launching a fund raising campaign to renovate the gym. The highest priority is repairing and re-striping the gym floor. Beyond that, we, also, need to repair the surrounding tile, remodel the restrooms and update the showers. As funds allow, we will also renovate the back staircase.

The fundraising effort began with a special Mother’s Day offering and will include a variety of events and grant applications. We want to partner with as many people as possible who want to invest in the physical and spiritual health of our community.

You can contribute online here or send a contribution to Baptist Temple, 901 E Drexel, San Antonio, TX 78210.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

I am thankful for water

I have lived near water for most of my life but I rarely had to think about it. That was until I moved to San Antonio. While not a desert, it is a place where people text each other when it rains on their block. We watch the evening news to learn how high water is in the Edward’s Aquifer and our current water use restriction.

The Bible has a lot to say about water. There are 500 references to water not including rivers, rains, wells, floods, seas and storms. Mary’s water broke and Jesus was born. Water came out of Jesus’ pierced side and he was dead. The Hebrews crossed the Red Sea into a new life. We are baptized as a symbol of our new life. God destroyed the world with a flood. Jesus told the woman at the well that he gives us Living Water.

Water is a big deal. Our bodies are 70% water. The surface of our planet is 71% water. However, 97% is in the oceans. Only 3% of earth’s water is fresh (not salty) but only 0.5% of it is accessible. So, 2.5% of the earth's fresh water is unavailable: locked up in glaciers, polar ice caps, atmosphere, and soil. Some is highly polluted or lies too far under the earth's surface to be extracted at an affordable cost.

One out three people in the world do not have access to clean water. On the other hand, the average American family uses 300 gallons of water per day. FEMA recommends that, in an emergency, each person will need one gallon of water per day. We use 3 gallons of water when we brush our teeth with the water running. That’s three days of water by FEMA’s calculation.

Water is essential for all life and is one of God’s gifts to all humanity. We ought to consume it with thanksgiving and be mindful of those who lack it. The simple act of not letting the water run while we brush our teeth can be one small way we can show our gratitude for this precious resource.