Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kids Hope USA

The whole Making Disciples seminar has been simply amazing. I'll be blogging on that in more detail when I get some time (which won't be for a while. I'm essentially on the road till next week!), but wanted to mention this simply amazing apostolate that we heard about today.

Barbara Elliott is the author of Street Saints: Renewing America's Cities, and works at the Center for Renewal in Houston. She gave a presentation on ministry to the poor and how that relates to evangelization and discipleship, and can (and has been) ways for congregations to renewal themselves spiritually as well. One particular ministry she talked in detail about was Kids Hope USA, which pairs mentors in congregations with at-risk children in public schools, the basic idea being that these children need someone who can love them, and be their friend, as well as provide some tutoring or other support needs. The mentors making a commitment to work with a particular child, one hour a week, for one year. The results have been simply astounding, and the program is in place in with congregations of various denominations in 29 states.

Check it out!

(Incidentally, Barbara is the member of an Anglican Use parish: not the kind of congregation one normally thinks of as being involved in such kinds of social outreach. It's sad that congregations one tends to compartmentalize things such as a proper attention to liturgy and outreach to the community. Everything should be organically connected. And, I'm more and more convinced, we need to reclaim a vision of our parishes as places, or schools, of discernment, training in discipleship, prayer, and listening to the Holy Spirit -- with the liturgy at the center of this -- out of which amazing things can flow.)

There's been some amazing stories shared this week, both from participants, as well as stories of the kinds of creative apostolates that are unleashed when disciples cooperate actively with the Holy Spirit, and discern their own particular vocation, calls and gifts.

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