Loving Houston is less than a month away and momentum continues to build as churches and individuals volunteer to serve daily.
To date over 30 churches and ministires, representing hundreds and hundreds of volunteers, will spread across our city demonstrating the love of Christ through acts of kindness -- repairing roofs, building wheelchair access ramps, refurbishing homes and schools, installing windows, replacing siding, cleaning parks and cemeteries … the list goes on and on. To read Reagan O'Hare's informative story on scope of Loving Houston, click here.
Churches of all sizes are responding. Some of our larger churches--like Sagemont, Champion Forest and Church Without Walls--are sending hundreds of volunteers. Our smaller churches can't marshall hundreds of volunteers and do lots of projects, but they are doing things in a big way nonetheless. Memorial Drive Baptist Church, for example, will working with a children's academy to do general clean up, provide mulch and gravel for the playground, and upgrade the academy's computers and playground equipment. Sometimes churches are partnering to work on projects. Three churches--Woodridge, Kingwood First, and Humble Area's First--are working together on several projects in the Denver Harbor area.
Groups of all kinds are volunteering -- men's ministries, Sunday School classes, mission teams, youth groups, RAs, individuals. College students and disaster recovery workers are coming in from across the state to participate.
And it's not just UBA churches that are participating. What began as a UBA initiative has expanded to involve the larger body of Christ in the city as evangelical churches and ministries join us in Loving Houston. We've discovered that we don't need to agree on all aspects of theology to serve side by side in the name of Jesus and be a witness to our communities. I am so grateful for those church leaders who are taking a chance, going outside the safe confines of their own denominational boundaries and saying "Loving Houston is of God. We must be a part."
Reflecting on what he sees happening, Jeff McGee, associate pastor of Calvary Community Church (a UBA congregation) said: "Loving Houston gives us the chance to demonstrate tangibly the love of Jesus to our city, to honor those in leadership (by responding to requests from the mayor and community leaders), and to promote unity among believers across Greater Houston as we take on a large effort together and use our resources and talents for good." Well said, Jeff!
For all that have committed to serve, though, we still need more volunteers! If your church or group hasn't gotten involved yet, it's not too late. You can sign up to work on a project (as either a group or individual) by going to the Loving Houston Project Page, finding a project and volunteering.
We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Mike Kraxberger (Loving Houston project manager), John Clayton (UBA volunteer) and Gerald Davis (BGCT, disaster recovery) for their outstanding leadership and service in coordinating all the Loving Houston projects, and to Dian Kidd for her behind the scenes project support work.
Prayer and spiritual preparation has been an important part of Loving Houston. Thousands of folks have used the prayer guide to pray for our city. Hundreds have prayer walked through the six neighborhoods where we will serve. Several of the communities are having revival meeting in preparation for Loving Houston. We owe a great debt of gratitude to Mary Ann Bridgwater, Rickie Bradshaw and Brian Gowan for their leadership in this area.
Athletes Take Note
If you love to compete, we have road races Saturday morning June 1 at the University of Houston and a 3 on 3 basketball tournament at Second Baptist Church (Woodway campus) June 7-8. You can sign up for these events on the Loving Houston Events Page.
Loving Houston Proclamation from the Mayor
One other exciting note…I've received word from the Mayor's office that Mayor Parker will issue a proclamation declaring June 1-8, 2013 Loving Houston Week in our city. More details as they are available.