A Mortuary Served Up with a Side of Ministry

Flavor Church isn’t like any church you’ve experienced and “The Chef Pastor” who leads it is as unique as they come. Chef Pastor Errol Clay is in the unique position of leading both a church and a mortuary, and both provide an avenue in which to minister to the spiritually hungry. The food of choice? The Word of God.

In March, Clay and his wife celebrated 20 years of ministry. On Easter Sunday they will move Flavor Church out of the mortuary chapel and into McNeill Elementary School located in the Richmond/Katy area, just near FM 1093 & S. Mason Road.

The clientele at Clay’s is diverse and he finds himself providing the same amount of ministry to his mortuary families as he does to those he’s called to serve through the church.

Clay feels that’s especially important in this day and age. “When l was growing up, attending church was a common Sunday practice and the people who didn’t were often looked upon as misguided heathens. These days, people look at you like Texans fans in the Cowboys stadium in Arlington when you tell them that you’re a regular church attender,” Clay said. “It seems like church attendance has been replaced with the Internet and Social Media Church, Little League, Netflix and a plethora of other carnal Sunday fillers like pursuing hobbies and attending the newest festival, which are all things that I too occasionally indulge in.”

The result, according to Clay, is that when challenges hit people unexpectedly – for instance, the death of a loved one – non-churched individuals collapse under the heavy weight and pressure of grief. “They should have Christ to stand on, but instead, many are hopeless, because they’ve never established any deeper connections that can be found within a faith-based community like Flavor Church.”

He sees this in the funeral business and feels fortunate that he is able to minister to those who come to him for burial services. “Many times before we can even begin to make funeral arrangements, we have to first come to a stop and do some much needed Christ-like ministry. This often involves my wife and I sharing a quick word of prayer and a hug. For some families this little ministry on the side is all that they need to move forward.”

Clay points to Robin B, who saw the need for a “Mortuary Served Up with a Side of Ministry.” She craved a connection to Christ past the cremation, so much so that after her husband passed away in November 2018, she became a member of Flavor Church and is now one of their top door greeters. Even atheist and agnostic families note that they sense a difference in Clay’s approach and appreciate his non-intrusive ministry as they are saying goodbye to a loved one.

It’s important to Clay to offer more than embalmings, cremations, funerals, and memorials. Families also get 24/7 direct access to caring, praying Christian pastors who are funeral professionals. Clay describes himself and his wife as Christians and humans who have had to bury both sets of their parents, have endured 13 miscarriages, and have had to physically bury two children. The Clays have lived it, and their compassion and empathy infuse all that they say and do.

Clay said, “We are people who don’t just care to find out information about our clients’ insurance policies and/or death benefits to help them get the proper custom send off. There’s so much more. We care about the ultimate state of their souls. This practice of us purely caring about people is what we call ClayCare.”

To see ClayCare in action, either through the church experience or through funeral arrangements, call 281-CLAY-WAY.

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Rebecca Becker

Rebecca has been a lifelong writer committed to telling stories that illuminate special people, places, and causes. She writes for local, regional, national, and international publications and is based in Houston. She’s been a lifelong Christian dedicated to bringing that perspective forth and keeping the Christian voice within the larger conversation.