In 2010, the Missional Church Commission began to make a deliberate effort to help churches engage and work with community partners to affect change in their neighborhood. Most of this effort initially was focused on developing church and school partnerships…now known as One Church One School.
There is no question that our schools in Texas need help. Twenty-five percent of children ages birth through 17, live in poverty in Texas, and nearly 60 percent are enrolled in the free breakfast and lunch programs. Schools are not only nurturing and educating our children, but also clothing children, providing other basic needs and have become the primary referral source for families to other social services.
Since the One Church One School effort began, church and school partnerships in the diocese have doubled from 15 to nearly 30. Parishes are finding many ways to support their local schools including teacher appreciation, weekend food backpacks, reading, tutoring math and mentoring.
Redeemer Irving demonstrates that smaller parishes can do great works in the community. Virginia Bertrand, a lay leader coordinating the One Church One School program reports that even though they are in the search process, the parish happily forges ahead with their outreach ministries provided to W.T. Hanes elementary school in Irving. Many volunteers are “reading buddies” to third-grade students falling behind and needing to be prepared for testing. Another ministry involves volunteers sending letters to students nearly every month, so students can practice their writing skills by sending letters back.
But that is not all. During the summer, Redeemer offers a summer reading camp at the parish with 15 to 20 students from the school in attendance. Teachers are supported throughout the year and volunteers sponsor a “Muffin Madness” appreciation party celebrating the end of the school year.
If interested in becoming part of the One Church One School initiative or learning how to expand an existing school ministry, contact Dabney Dwyer, Missioner for Outreach, or 214 500-7205.