Men's Breakfast, February 6, 2016

The Men’s Breakfast Group met Saturday, March 12th with Tom Watson, president of the Freeport Ministerial Alliance.  Tom is retired from the City of Lake Jackson with a disability and collects social security so he is not dependent on a pastor’s salary.  He has served as a pastor for several different churches and as a chaplain for the local prisons.  He is currently serving as a chaplain at the Texas Port Ministry. 

There are fifty churches in Freeport.  This is down from fifty-six a couple of years ago.  Most of the churches are non-denominational.  Non-denominational churches often form by a split in another church where part of the congregation cannot agree with the rest of the congregation and split off to form a new church, leaving two weak churches as the result. 

The ministerial alliance in principle has all Freeport ministers as members.  There are no dues so all should be able to participate.  In practice few pastors actually do.  Because of this the alliance has not been able to produce very many community activities.  Tom says that the pastors are afraid of “sheep stealing” where they might lose members to other congregations.  He also said that most of the pastors will only work on a project if they are in charge. 

Tom said that the alliance is trying to revive the Freeport police and jail ministry.  He said that he has four ministers on board already, but could use more.  He especially would like to get female minsters because women prisoners and police offices are often more comfortable talking to other women.   The Catholic Church is not involved in the alliance and therefore not involved with the police ministry.  This is especially unfortunate since the most common denomination involved is the Catholics.  When Tom Sharon was president of the alliance he said the priest said that this was the job of the deacon, not the priest.  However, the deacon is Wallace Shaw who is the Freeport City Attorney, which would be a blatant conflict of interest. 

There was discussion of reviving the fifth Sunday community worship service that we used to have several years ago.  Tom suggested that Donnell Johnson of New Jerusalem might be interested in hosting a service. 

Tom shared an example of his faith.  His wife was diagnosed with kidney cancer and had to have one kidney completely removed and half of the other removed.  The doctors said that praying was the only other treatment.  They prayed and she is active with a half kidney ten years later.  She did not need chemotherapy or dialysis.

The men had an interesting discussion and a good breakfast.  The next meeting will be on March 9th.