Leadership teams from five churches spent the past six months dreaming, thinking, and working on new plans for ministry within their communities. Now, after working alongside neighbors and partners, the first group participating in EHF’s Holy Currencies Incubator program is approaching the final development stages of their community ministry plans.
The Holy Currencies process helps congregations examine and develop plans to address the “currencies” of wellness, truth, gracious leadership, relationship, money, and time and place to help build sustainable, impactful ministry.
As each participating congregation puts their ministry plan into action, they continue to refine their plans. In September, each team will complete their finalized workplan and budget, along with a communication strategy.
Here’s a sneak peek of the transformation happening in both the ministries and communities from each group:
Spring Outreach Services – Holy Comforter, Spring
The Spring area includes a large region of northwest Harris County and southern Montgomery County. However, because these are unincorporated areas, there are few very services to meet the growing mental health and substance abuse crisis.
Our first thought at Spring Outreach Services was to reach the community through our local school districts. After coming up against repeated roadblocks in the school systems, we used the relationship building work provided by the Holy Currencies program and realized that our greatest community partner is Northwest Assistance Ministries (NAM). NAM serves as the hub for this section of the Houston suburbs. So, in partnership with NAM, we are now able to provide our mental health and substance abuse resources to a much larger audience. Without the Holy Currencies model, we would have been left frustrated with the school districts. But now, we are better geared to do even broader work in our community.
Abundant Harvest Food Truck – St. Isidore’s, The Woodlands
The possibilities seemed endless when we began the work of The Abundant Harvest Food Truck. Our first approach in our mission was to feed everyone in need with the door wide open and doing a little bit of everything. After partnering with EHF and Kaleidoscope Institute, we learned more about who we are really called to be, and a more direct and efficient movement towards our vision has taken place. The incubation process has led us to focus on building one community, and doing it well, rather than spreading ourselves over multiple communities. By engaging the currencies within a smaller population, we can build lasting relationships, that in time will allow for an increase in the overall wellness of the community.
Mosaic Center – St. Andrew’s, Pearland
Because of the work we have done through Holy Currencies, the Mosaic Center team has really begun to hone in on specific target projects for the coming year. We have evolved from having a very general idea of what the Mosaic Center could be to a strategy for the next few years with priorities and goals to hit along the way. Our focus on community connections through education and the arts has opened us to the immense need for the special needs community. The Kidleidoscope arts opportunity brings unimaginable joy both to the music makers and their families. We knew our dream was to impact the Pearland area by creating community building opportunities and we are several steps closer to making that dream a reality thanks to the Holy Currencies program.
Holy Healthy Community – St. John’s, LaPorte
St. John’s La Porte has moved quickly with the development of its Holy Currencies Incubation Site Project: Holy Healthy Community. This project includes St. John’s After School Program and has expanded with the addition of St. John’s Living Compass Wellness Center. The mission of St. John’s Children’s and Family Outreach is to create a sanctuary for children, youth, and adults where all are loved, supported, affirmed, and assisted to grow into the life God has planned for each.
The Open House for both will happen on A Day of Jubilee as a celebration for the entire community (August 16, 10am-2pm).
The parish’s Community Wellness Advocates (CWAs) are certified and waiting, and the refreshed after school program is ready to launch. The project is also soon to be housed in a 5,000-sq. ft. renovated, dedicated facility. Even the grounds have been refreshed by teams of up to 40 persons. But, all this preparation for service became “real” for St. John’s as we put the program announcements onto banners, filled a July 4th parade float with joyful people, and cruised down the streets of La Porte! Staff, CWAs, parishioners, neighbors, students, and parents sat side-by-side on the hay bales, singing and throwing necklaces with attached program information. THIS is the Holy Healthy Community we envisioned, partnered with our neighbors and suddenly in motion!