ITLOTC 10-7-16


(In The Life Of The Church) 


St. Francis

This past Tuesday was the Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi on the Church calendar.  Historically, ubc has not, to my knowledge, gathered for a liturgy on that day.  Which is weird, because we have no less than 3 statues of Francis in our building.  Have you ever noticed them? 

Here are some photos: 

We have them around because in the life and legacy of Francis we can be challenged and/or inspired to follow Jesus the way he did, and the statues serve to remind us of that.  The problem is, we never talk about him, so there’s a good chance that many of you have nothing to be reminded of when you see them.  That’s not your fault.  But let’s remedy that a little bit.

We’ll start with what I refer to as the “animal stuff.”  Francis is said to have preached to birds, negotiated peace between a wolf and a village, and had a wild hare jump into his arms.  He was named the patron saint of animals and ecology (he called the sun and moon his siblings, and had a deep love for “Sister Mother Earth”), and is usually depicted either holding a bird or with one sitting on his shoulder.  Francis knew that animals were significant in the heart of the Creator, and treated them accordingly.  This is why we included a blessing of the animals in our St. Francis liturgy.  To those of us who have pets, it is no secret that their companionship serves as a source of comfort and/or joy—they are blessings to us.  The blessing of the animals is our opportunity to return the favor, and to make a theological statement about what they mean to God.  If you didn’t have a chance to attend the liturgy, here is the prayer of blessing that we offered:

Blessed are You, Lord God
Maker of all living creatures.
On the fifth and sixth days of creation,
You called forth fish from the sea,
birds in the air, and animals on the land.
You inspired St. Francis to call all animals
his brothers and sisters.
We ask You to bless this animal.
By the power of Your love,
enable him/her to live according to Your plan.
May we always praise You
for all Your beauty in creation.
Blessed are You, Lord our God,
in all Your creatures.

The next time you see an animal that you care for, give him or her a big hug and pray something like that over them. 

But the animal stuff wasn’t the only significant thing about Francis.  Here are some thoughts from the Franciscan Order of the Divine Compassion that underscore this:

Unfortunately, given the extent with which he's loved, few Saints are less understood than Francis is. To the modern mind, Francis is a caricature. He is the simple, loveable, man who preached to birds, tamed wolves, talked to fish, and was so gentle that wild hare leapt into his arms.

But, he's so much more than that.

Of Francis' early life, one of his biographers, Thomas of Celano, in the First Life of St. Francis, would later write, "almost up to his twenty-fifth year, he squandered and wasted his time…He was…very rich, not greedy but prodigal, not a hoarder of money, but a squanderer of possessions, a cautious businessman but an unreliable steward. On the other hand, he was a kind person, easy and friendly…Overwhelmed by a host of evil companions, proud and high-minded, he walked about the streets of Babylon until the Lord looked down from heaven and for His own name's sake…and for His praise bridled Francis lest he should perish. The hand of the Lord came onto Francis and a change was worked by the right hand of God, that through Francis an assurance might be granted to sinners that they had been restored to grace and that Francis might become an example to all of conversion to God."

Conversion, or rather living in a state of constantly being converted, is what Francis' life was about. Drawn by the love of God, drawn away from worldly ambitions for glory, Francis instead found his treasure in the total surrender of self to God.

For those of us who follow Jesus in the footsteps of St. Francis, the example of conversion to God, of living each day in a deeper state of conversion, to die to self a little more each day that we might live entirely for God, this is the important thing to see in Francis.

When I read this in preparation for Tuesday’s liturgy, I started to better understand why it is important for Francis to be around the halls of ubc.  Learning to live in a constant state of being converted--stumbling together down the path of seeking to be more fully formed in the way of Christ--is at the core of our approach to discipleship.  In Francis, we also find a person whose eyes were tuned to find God in beauty and to embrace the divine there, allowing this embracing to foster a deep love for God that overwhelms the love of self to the point that it overflows into a love for others.  The life and legacy of St. Francis form a lens that is well-calibrated for ubc to use in our worship and formation.  It is currently my intention to offer a Sunday School class in the Spring about the life of Saint Francis.  If that sounds like something you'd be interested in, send an email to

Homecoming Soccer Tailgate

Next Friday, October 14, the UBC families will be tailgating before the Baylor/TCU women's soccer game.  The tailgate will be located in the Ferrell Center parking lot by the men's baseball fields.  The game is free and a limited number of fans will receive a Baylor Soccer scarf.  The game starts at 7, but myself and Josh McCormick will probably start setting up and grilling around 5.  If you'd like to come please email so I can get a count.  Please bring a side to share and your own drinks.  

Made in Waco

We are about a month away from Made in Waco, ubc's handmade market.  If you are interested in being a vendor, please email for more info and an application.

Leadership Team Nomination

Friends, one David "Doctor" Wilhite's stint on the leadership team is coming to an end.  During his term, David got Wil-Care passed, helped balance the church budget and was instrumental in shaping for our foreign policy in Thailand as we withdrew from the Dominican Republic.  Thanks for the years of service Doctor.  That means we are looking for leadership team nominations.  If you would like to nominate someone for the leadership team, please note the following and send nominations to   

(A) Purpose.  The Leadership Team shall be the primary decision-making body of UBC.  The Leadership Team will oversee all the business and property of the church, as well as make the final decisions regarding hiring and dismissal of staff and the acquisition and selling of assets that are beyond budgetary provisions.  

(C) Qualifications.  Each member of Leadership Team shall have been a member of UBC for at least one year, exhibited an understanding and commitment to the mission and values of the church, and be willing to fulfill all responsibilities in the Leadership Team job description. 

(E) Term.  Members of Leadership Team may serve for a duration lasting up to three years.  While they are encouraged to remain the full three years, members may voluntarily remove themselves from their position at any time

Work is Worship

Greeters: Ricky & Juliet 

Coffee Makers: Emmy & Stephen 

Mug Cleaners: Cooleys

Money Counter: Josh M. 


  • Sunday Sermon: Luke 17:11-19 "Healed Body/Healed Heart" 
  • SWCC Halloween Bash: October 19th ***VOLUNTEERS NEEDED***
  • The Middle Ages Cookout: October 22nd 
  • Fall Retreat for Juniors and Seniors: October 20-23
  • Order of Phoenix Game Night: Nov 4th 
  • Made in Waco: Nov 5th 
  • The Middle Ages at the Movies: November 12
  • Thanksgiving Love Feast: Nov 20th 
  • Backside Event: Dec 2nd 
  • Order of Phoenix Dallas Event: Dec. 3
  • Study Hall: Dec 7th 
  • The Middle Ages Christmas Party Dec. 17

Do you have an emergency and need to talk to a pastor? 

254 413 2611

Leadership Team

If you have a concern or an idea for UBC that you’d like to share with someone that is not on staff, feel free to contact one of our leadership team members. 

Chair- Jon Davis:

Joy Wineman:

Stan Denman:

David Wilhite:

Bridget Heins:

Sharyl Loeung:

Emma Wood:

UBC Finance Team

Do you have a question about UBC’s financial affairs? Please feel free to contact any of your finance team members.

Josh McCormick:

Hannah Kuhl:  

Justin Pond:

Anna Tilson:

Doug McNamee:


If you have concerns about staff and would like contact our human resources team, please feel free to email any of the following members.

Maxcey Blaylock:

Mathew Crawford:

Rob Engblom:

Ross Van Dyke:

Jared Gould: