This Week's Headlines

Sagemont Church team proposes new pastor

Tanner hired as chamber CEO

Housecleaning leads to trash problems

Grocery stores serve during COVID

South Belt copes with coronavirus

Officers respond to gunshot incidents

Easter services set for area churches

PISD, city still serving kids free meals

Dobie/Deer Park rivalry will take 22-6A’s center stage

Paul named JFD boys’ hoops head coach

Falkenburg readies for competition with TSU football

San Jac softball’s Saenz looks ahead

Beta provides online lessons during COVID-19 pandemic

Dobie student trainers deliver another hard-working year

Despite sophomore losses, SJC baseball should rebound

Dobie decathlon competes in state competition

South Belt activities during COVID; some the same, some change


Sagemont Church team proposes new pastor

Sagemont Church announced during its online service Wednesday, April 8, that Dr. Matt Carter will be coming to Sagemont “in view of a call” on Sunday, May 17.

If accepted, the new pastor will replace the founding pastor, Dr. John Morgan, who served Sagemont faithfully for 53 years. Morgan had announced last year that he would be stepping down.

Longtime South Belt resident and Sagemont teaching pastor, Dr. Freeman Tomlin, has been delivering the church’s primary sermons since Morgan’s retirement, while executive pastor, the Rev. Chuck Schneider, filled in as interim senior pastor.

Carter is the founding pastor of Austin Stone Community Church which began in 2002. During his tenure, the church has grown from a core team of 15 people to more than 8,000 weekly attendees spread over six campuses and with a budget in excess of $24 million. Carter holds a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctorate of Ministry in Expositional Preaching from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The Sagemont pastor search team consisted of 12 members of the church and was chaired by Dr. Denny Autrey, dean emeritus and senior professor of preaching and evangelism of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Extension program in Houston.
The team was tasked with finding God’s man to fill the very “large shoes” vacated by Morgan; and they were tasked with being unanimous in their decision.

The team believed that the task of being unanimous would entail a search that would take several years. The team’s guiding scripture in the search was Romans 15:5-7, “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus. That ye may be with one mind and of one mouth glorify God, even the Father our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Schneider said, “We prayed to God to give us our David, and we believed the process would not go quickly.”

However, that was not the case. Schneider quoted Ephesians 3:20, “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to His power that worketh in us.”

After extensive questioning from the pastoral search team, they unanimously voted to “extend a call” to Carter.

On Sunday, May 17, Carter will be introduced to the congregation. On that date he is scheduled to preach “in view of a call,” meaning that once he delivers his sermon, the church membership will vote on whether or not to offer him the position of senior pastor.

This date and methodology could change due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation as church leadership said they prefer Carter to preach before a live audience rather than to an online crowd.

Should things go accordingly, Carter is then set to assume his new role at Sagemont beginning Sunday, June 28.

For additional information on Sagemont’s online church services, visit or the church’s Facebook page at

Tanner hired as Chamber CEO

Stephanie Tanner has been named the new president of the South Belt-Ellington Chamber of Commerce, replacing interim president Sally Mitchell.

Tanner most recently worked for the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce, serving as a communications specialist.

Born in Louisiana, Tanner’s family moved to Texas in 1990, first landing at her grandparents’ house in the South Belt. The family then settled in La Porte, but Tanner never strayed too far from the South Belt community.

“I grew up visiting my grandparents and playing in the shadow of Ellington Field, becoming very familiar with the community,” Tanner said.

A 2000 graduate of La Porte High School, Tanner went on to attend Sam Houston State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications in 2004.

Following graduation, Tanner began her professional career at a FOX station in San Antonio, before switching to the nonprofit industry, helping establish media ministries for churches around the nation.

Tanner met and married her husband Justin in 2005, and in 2017, the couple welcomed their first child, Vivianne Rose Tanner.

Things have now come full circle for Tanner, as she has returned to live in the South Belt community.

“Life has brought me to many places since then, but I have ultimately decided to come home and raise my family in the very place that I fell in love with as a child,” Tanner said. “Now, another chapter begins, as I have the opportunity to become an integral part of the South Belt-Ellington community and I am so honored to have been chosen for this very important role as president/CEO of the South Belt-Ellington Chamber of Commerce.”

Tanner’s task of beginning her new job was drastically complicated by the fact that she had been hired just prior to the COVID-19 scare and all of its subsequent repercussions.

“This has been a very unique experience to say the least,” Tanner said. “As the world is trying to adapt to the new ‘normal,’ I am trying to learn our organization as well as lead it. I remain confident that we are doing our best to help our community stay safe and healthy, as well as remaining a constant resource for area business and community leaders, providing timely information to keep our businesses up to date on all that is available to help in this time of uncertainty.”

Tanner said the chamber is utilizing technology to circumvent the ongoing issues associated with the coronavirus.

“Technology has definitely provided avenues of communication that continue to evolve as we try to stay in front of our community,” Tanner said. “Virtual meetings, emails and phone calls will be our lifeline for the next bit of the foreseeable future, all while teaching our children and running a household. We must remember that we are all in this together and together we will overcome.”

Despite the ongoing challenges, Tanner said the chamber’s mission has not changed.

“Our mission remains the same since the inception of this organization; advance the economic growth, welfare and success of the businesses in and around the South Belt-Ellington area,” Tanner said. “It is our goal to continue to support this community with resources and connection opportunities that not only advance our reach but provide area businesses with the encouragement to bring about positive influence to our city.”

During this transitional period, Tanner reminds South Belt residents to support local businesses.

“Our members are the heart of this organization and we will remain committed to serving our community throughout this time of uncertainty,” said Tanner. “ If possible, please continue to patronize and support our local business community. Please take care of yourselves and each other. Thank you all for your dedication to our great community and I hope to meet each of you very soon.”

E-mail with news items of interest.

Return to top of page