Bentwood Trail Blog
Posted on March 17, 2020 2:32 PM by Karl Schwarz
Categories: General
Greetings, brothers and sisters of Bentwood Trail Presbyterian Church.
Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Well, we certainly are living in interesting times …
As we continue to prayerfully consider our best response to the COVID-19 virus pandemic, we also listen to guidance from our ecclesiastical bodies and our civil government.
Yesterday, March 15th, the Grace Presbytery Executive Council voted to: Recommended to sessions within Grace Presbytery that all face-to-face church gatherings be suspended including worship services until public health officials advise it is safe to resume group gatherings.
Also yesterday morning, Collin County Judge Chris Hill issued a proclamation declaring a state of disaster in Collin County stating: Furthermore, consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), I recommend the postponement or cancelations of all public gatherings greater than 50 people.
Later yesterday President Trump and his team recommended not gathering in groups greater than ten people.
With this guidance, discussion, and prayer the Session concurred with my recommendation to follow the Grace Presbytery Council’s recommendation that all face-to-face church gatherings at Bentwood Trail Presbyterian Church be suspended including worship services until public health officials advise it is safe to resume group gatherings.
Our worship team has already been in discussion as to how we can livestream worship services led by a few of us in which you may participate remotely.  We will communicate the details of these services as they are determined.
As Fr. Guadagnoli, the pastor at St. Monica Catholic church in Dallas, recently sent to their community: "We are not on vacation... Brothers and sisters, the work of the Gospel will never be suspended! Pray for all those who are sick, pray for our first responders, pray for our government and Church leaders, and pray for our global community. As Christians, our Lord calls us to be calm and responsible leaders, especially in times of fear."
Peace be with you, friends.  Keep in contact with each other, keep washing those hands, and continue to pray without ceasing to the God of all!
Yours in Christ’s service,
p.s. - Please, also check the BTPchurch Facebook page.
Posted on August 25, 2019 9:08 PM by Karl Schwarz
Categories: General
And We Are Off …
To the saints at Bentwood Trail Presbyterian Church:
First, I would like to thank everyone for the warm welcome that you have provided me and my family.  It has been a joy getting to know you over these last several weeks.  During this time I have been able to visit with over 40 of you representing over 30 families. This is a vibrant and loving congregation, and I look forward to our time, our work, and our ministry together.
Now, as we begin our next phase together, I thought it might be helpful to lay out for you the work before us.  Primary in all of our time together is our Worship of God and the care of one another.  Whatever else we are doing, we need to ensure that these two are at the heart of our efforts.  What is known as our “Field of Work” during this interim/transition time can be organized into five areas: Connections, Future, Heritage, Leadership, and Mission.
Connections is about our relationships --- with our neighborhood, our community, our presbytery, other local churches, and other institutions.  How do we relate to them?  How is our relationship with them a reflection/incarnation of who we are as a congregation?  What are our strengths in this area?  Do we have “blind spots”?  What would we like to focus on as we move forward?
Future is about our “visioning”.  Where do we sense God is calling us?  How does that relate to who we are now and how we are equipped and/or “gifted”?
Heritage is about who we have been.  How might our past be described?  What are some significant moments in our earlier days?  How did they shape us?  What are the things, and who are the people (and groups), that have meant so much to us?
Leadership is about how we organize ourselves for effective ministry utilizing the God-given talents of those among us.  How are we set up for governance, management, service, and participation?  Is our “people structure” established in such a way that we can serve faithfully and joyfully while being good stewards?  How do we help others join in the fun?
Mission is about the pathway to the future we are visioning.  How are we going to get from where we are to where we feel we are being called.  Our Mission Study Team has been at work, and their efforts are already bearing fruits.
We will explore each of these five areas.  And, as we do, we will get an understanding of what “the next phase” in the life of Bentwood Trail can be.  I am thrilled and grateful to be on this exploration with you. Please let me know of your ideas, thoughts, concerns, and questions.
May God continue to bless us all.
Posted on July 28, 2019 2:32 PM by Admin
Categories: General
Hymns have two names?
Yes, and no!  We must start with an understanding that hymn texts and hymn tunes are two different things. There is the name of the text, for example, “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind,” and it is normally sung to the tune named “REST” (hymn 169 in our hymnal). There are other tunes we could use to sing “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind” provided that the meter of the tune (the music) matches the meter of the hymn text. In earlier times congregations had no printed hymnals, so the music leader would announce the singing of a hymn text to a specific hymn tune. Folks knew the tune names and would know what tune to sing, or the music leader (sometimes known as the precentor) would sing the hymn one line at a time and the congregation would echo it.  Very few hymn texts and the tunes we normally use to sing them (as printed in the hymnal) were written by the same person; however, common uses of tunes paired with texts ended up in the printed hymnals. Before hymnals, hymn texts and tunes were interchanged all the time. Congregations may have sung “Away in a Manger” one week to the tune CRADLE SONG, and the next week they may have sung it to tune MUELLER.  This hymn is actually printed to both of these tunes in our hymnal, numbers 180 and 181.  Of course, both tunes have the same meter,, to match the hymn text.  The meter indicates that each verse (or line) of the text is eleven syllables long and there are four verses in each stanza. 
In most cases, hymn texts were originally poems that were eventually set to music. Our hymnal contains some hymn texts and tunes written by the same person but there are relatively few. You can explore the hymn text author and hymn tune composer by reviewing the information found at the bottom of each hymn in our hymnal. For further study, our hymnal also contains an index with the listing of tune names, hymn titles, hymn tune meters, and authors/composers.  Lastly, tune names are always listed in all caps.  You may have already noticed that our weekly worship bulletin now lists both the hymn text name as well as the hymn tune name.  So, in conclusion, the hymns we sing do have two names, one for the text and the other for the tune!
Posted on July 22, 2019 6:18 PM by Erica Dallas
Categories: General
Hello. My name is Erica Dallas and I have been a member of Bentwood Trail Presbyterian Church (BTPC) for almost ten years. I am currently serving a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) year through the Presbyterian Church (USA) in Austin, Texas, and I will be completing my service at the end of July. My YAV year has altered my perception of how we, as Christians, can be more accepting, patient, and tolerant of those who are different than we are and with those whom we associate. I have spent my YAV year working for an organization named Keep Austin Fed, which was started in 2004. Keep Austin Fed gathers surplus perishable food from national and local grocery stores, restaurants, bakeries, and catering businesses. From there, within about an hour’s time, Keep Austin Fed volunteers, using their own cars, transport the excess, free food to local non-profits that serve people in need, including people who qualify as low-income or homeless, as well as people who live in rehab facilities, domestic abuse shelters, and low-income elder care housing. We are similar to the food bank, which gathers mostly non-perishable food, except that we specialize in fresh food. While we do not have a brick and mortar building, refrigerated spaces, or national recognition, and our organization may be small in size and number, we are powerful in the actions that we are taking. Since 2014, when Keep Austin Fed started keeping track of the weight of food collected, we have collected over 3 million pounds of food. Not only is this having a positive impact on feeding those in need, but it also helps the environment by reducing the greenhouse gases produced by food going to waste.
I am so blessed to have had this YAV experience. Through it I have come to see Texas, and the world, through a different lens. People, whether they are Christians or not, can interact and live in community with one another to benefit of the greater good. The support of Bentwood Trail and all of its members is something that I will always cherish. Your support and prayers prove how much our congregation truly cares and helps one another. I think that what the PC(USA) Church and BTPC stand for, and the work that we do, not only with our funds, but with our hands, speaks volumes about what we, as a denomination, think is important in the community of Dallas, the State of Texas, and of the entire world. We, with the Holy Spirit as our Guide, are helping God’s world to be a better, more loving place for all of God’s creatures. We can share our love and ourselves, not only with those who are like us, but with any individual who seeks someone to love them, to sit with them, and to listen to them as we, in turn, share the Truth about the unconditional love God offers each of us.