CCC’s ministry to the people of Houston continues

CCC’s ministry to the people of Houston continues

By Craig Fitzgerald, Christopher de Movellan, Silvia Karlsson, Michael Froelich, Stephanie Caponigro, Pastor Manisha

“And after seven days the waters of the flood came on the earth. … In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. The rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.” – Genesis 7: 10-12

Just days after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston last year, Father Bill called on Christ Church Cranbrook parishioners to support a special effort with The Episcopal Diocese of Texas: raise $75,000 and then be paired with a companion parish to provide immediate relief to those in need in that area. Our partnership with the amazing, resilient people of Iglesia Episcopal San Mateo in Houston was born.

In mid-December 2017, we traveled to Houston to meet with ministry leaders and people of San Mateo, get a sense of the devastated area, and determine San Mateo’s needs, all the while seeking opportunities for hands-on projects. Here is what we learned:

A.  The people of San Mateo know how to welcome strangers as if they were angels! They rejoiced at meeting us, they celebrated how God brought us together, they shared everything with us and they had deep joy despite the difficulties they faced.

B.  The emergency relief money we have sent is a Godsend for so many. They are using it to feed the community with large breakfasts and lunches. They are giving it to people who need food, rent assistance and cars after theirs were flooded. Since most people in the community surrounding San Mateo are renters, they are waiting on landlords to do the work of renovation. We heard stories of people waiting for months.

C. One of the most important ministries for San Mateo is meals. They create warm, delicious nutritious meals for the community every week and the hurricane destroyed their kitchen. The insurance will not pay for a complete renovation. They have had to figure out how to make do with what they have.

D.  We learned that San Mateo’s top two priorities are (1) reconstruction of the physical buildings to get back the spaces needed to deliver its ministries, and (2) finding a solution for the existing gap between their church budget and projected revenues. 

E.  We found a way to do a mission trip to Houston! Our youth are invited to Houston June 24-30, 2018. Please consider sending your youth on this important trip. Learn more and register here: http://cccrsvp.org/houston

As we move forward with the Hurricane Harvey Mission, one of our church’s ten Community Partners, we are working with the good, warm people of San Mateo to determine next steps. We are hoping for some additional hands-on service opportunities, which are harder to find for renters. We will keep you informed what God reveals.