United Church of Christ


Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection (DOOR) (San Antonio)

Contact: DOOR Program National Office
    See listing for DOOR programs in entry under national office in Denver, Colorado.
E-Mail:  DOOR@DOORnetwork.org 
Phone: 303.295.3667
Fax: 866.559.3248
Web site: www.DOORnetwork.org
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/doornetwork

DOOR is an urban learning and service program.

Groups experience the city and learn about it through volunteering at a variety of community agencies already present in the community, including soup kitchens and homeless shelters.  Groups stay at facilities in the city, hear a local perspective on the city, use public transportation when available, interact with people of the city and reflect on their experiences.  

DOOR locations nationwide:  California (Hollywood/Los Angeles)Colorado (Denver),  Georgia (Atlanta)Illinois (Chicago)Florida (Miami) and Texas (San Antonio).


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Inman Christian Center (San Antonio)

Contact:   Amber Aquino, Director
                 1214 Colima Street
                 San Antonio, TX 78207
E-mail:  amber.aquino@inmancenter.org
Phone: 210.222.9641  *  Fax:  210.227.9566
Website:  http://www.inmancenter.org/ 

Inman Christian Center empowers children, youth and families and the elderly to develop to their full physical, mental and spiritual potential within the communities that Inman serves.

Projects/Focus:  assist in maintaining the center facilities as well as in program support.  
For more information, please contact the center directly or visit our website.

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Reach Beyond Mission (Austin, & Houston)

Contact: Rev. Mary Lu Johnston
   15907 Braesgate Drive
   Austin, TX 78717
E-mail: info@reachbeyondmission.org
Web site: www.reachbeyondmission.org

Biblical.  Progressive.  Inclusive.  Reach Beyond Mission is a theologically progressive youth mission program that goes beyond traditional mission, combining service opportunities with thoughtful and intentional poverty education.

 [Programs of Reach Beyond Mission for 2019 run in Austin, Houston Area & Washington D.C.)

Project/Focus:  Reach Beyond Mission is a fully planned youth mission experience.  Youth join youth from other churches across the country to explore issues of culture, gender, and poverty in an urban setting.  Participants volunteer at numerous metropolitan area organization and ministries working with experiencing homelessness and/or food insecurity as well as people living on low fixed incomes.   Reach Beyond Mission provides speakers, age-appropriate activities, and a justice focused biblical, theological, economic, social, and political issues related to poverty.

Educational/Advocacy Components:  It is life-changing when youth are challenged to move beyond feeling warm and fuzzy about helping others and begin to explore how to spend a lifetime changing the system which causes poverty.  It is life-changing when youth begin to recognize that racism, sexism, and all the other "isms" are more than attitudes and that those "isms" have provoked real actions which have left many of God's children marginalized and disadvantaged.  It is life-changing when youth begin to understand that they have power to make an impact with their votes, through their career choices, and with how they spend their money.

Time & Location:

AUSTIN, TX  Food Justice for All and Welcome! Refugees and Immigration
           Food Justice: June 16-21 (Sun-Fri) grades 6-12; $345.00 per person
           Welcome!:  June 23-28 (Sun-Fri) grades 6-12; $345.00 per person
           Food Justice:  July 7-12 (Sun-Fri) grades 6-12;  345.00 per person
           Welcome!:  July 14-19 (Sun-Fri) grades 6-12; $345.00 per perso

Houston Location: Creation Justice and Hurricane Recovery
           June 16-21 (Sun-Fri) grades 8-12; $285 per person + Group Supply Donation
           June 23-28 (Sun-Fri) grades 8-12; $285 per person + Group Supply Donation
           July 7-12 (Sun-Fri) grades 8-12; $285 per person + Group Supply Donation 
           July 14-19 (Sun-Fri) grades 6-8; $285 per person + Group Supply Donation

Group Size: Maximum 40-65 participants per week depending on location. Smaller groups will join others from different places and congregations.  

Minimum Age: Completed 6th grade in Austin - varies in Houston 

Adult to Youth Ratio:  1:6 in Austin; 1-5 in Houston

Accommodations: Food is provided.  Groups are housed in a dorm  in Austin and a local church in Houston.  All females and males sleep in separate rooms, including married adult leaders.  Showers are available on-site.  Participants provide their own transportation.  Program provides 2-3 trained young adults who will serve as hosts and program coordinators.

Cost: $285-$345 per person-varies per week. 

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Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries (Los Fresnos & Bayview)

Contact: Feliberto Pereira, Director or Raquel Garcia, Assistant Director
   28259 Pereira Compassion Road
   Los Fresnos, TX 78566
Work Project Correspondence;  P.O. Box 273, Los Fresnos, TX 67566

Phone: 956.233.5198
Fax:  956.233.8802
Web site:

Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries lives the Good News of salvation by addressing spiritual and material needs, including emergency shelter and food, clothing, transportation, legal aid, advocacy and job referral through a cooperative effort with other agencies and religious organizations.

Project/Focus:  Light construction, painting, building maintenance, electrical, plumbing and masonry work for homes, churches, and other projects.  Sites in the U.S.

Educational/Advocacy Components:  Group leaders responsible for own programming.  Resources on immigration and border issues are available at www.ucc.org/justice/advocacy_resources.  Feliberto Pereira's autobiographical book "I Was A Stranger:  Hope for a Hidden World" can be used as framework for discussion www.hopeforahiddenworld.com.  

Time:  All year. Call office or visit website for registration information.

Group Size: Maximum of 82 at Bayview site and a maximum of 28 at the Los Fresnos site. 

Minimum Age: Middle school age youth with supervision through adults of all ages. 

Adult to Youth Ratio:  Adult supervision required.

Accommodations:  Sleeping area:  bunk beds, bathrooms with shower.  Kitchen dining area, laundry, Chapeland play yard available.

Cost:  Deposits:  Facility rental $100. Lodging final cost $13 per person per night.  Group also covers costs for the work project and varies according to the project chosen for the group's skills and level of work.  Recommendation for work project contribution is $200/participant. Van rental is $50/day with an additional $100 deposit. Please visit website for additional cost information and forms.

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Disaster Recovery - (Harris County, Texas)

Information to come.   


For other disaster volunteer opportunities visit  http://www.ucc.org/disaster_disaster-volunteers

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 Annunciation House (El Paso)

Contact:  Ruben Garcia, founder
Location:  El Paso, Texas
Email:  For Group Border Awareness Trips - Bae@annunciationhouse.org
Email:  For volunteer opportunities - volunteercoordinator@annunciationhouse.org
Website:  www.annunciationhouse.org
Focus:  Border Awareness Experience groups - Church, university and religious delegation with a justice and education focus. 

Size of Group: For Border Awareness Experience groups - From 10 to 14 persons. 

Cost: $90 a day per person: includes van, food, housing, and program fee for setting up the itinerary. Housing is one of the houses of hospitality - Dorm Style.  

Length of Trip:  BAEs are usually 4 to 8 days Individuals interested in volunteer opportunities are asked to make year-long commitments.  (See below). 
Age: For BAES must be college students (young adults) and older.  High school age groups are usually not considered. 

LGBT-Friendly: Yes.

Accessibility: Only the ground floor is accessible with a few steps.

Background: Annunciation House was founded in 1978 and it provides hospitality(shelter) to arriving refugees and immigrants.  Annunciation House operates 3 permanent Houses of hospitality plus numerous temporary hospitality centers on an as needed basis.  Refugee populations within the various houses can vary from 20 to 50 men, women, and children.  Most of those who pass through the house are seeking asylum and they come primarily from Central America and Mexico.  The work of Annunciation House is a work of justice and accompaniment with the poor in migration.

Buildings:  The buildings that Annunciation House uses as houses of hospitality are older, two story buildings.  Within the buildings some of the rooms are set up dormitory style where refugees and immigrants sleep.  BAE delegation participants stay in the houses of hospitality and share space, meals, and chores with the refugees during their BAE.  

Volunteer Opportunity: The houses of hospitality that Annunciation House operates are staffed by full time volunteers who make year-long commitments. Full time volunteers live in the houses of hospitality with the refugees and immigrants and are provided room and board, personal hygiene items, and health insurance. Full time volunteers who complete their year and decide to extend their volunteer service begin to receive a $500 per month stipend.  There are usually 6 to 12 full time volunteers at any given time. There is also a Summer Internship volunteer program that runs from May 25 to August 5 (ten weeks). Interested individuals are invited to email the Volunteer Coordinator.

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Columban Mission Center (El Paso)

Contact: Robert E. Mosher, Doctor of Missiology/Director of the Center
Location:  El Paso, Texas
Email:  bmosher@columban.org
Phone:  915-351-1153 (office) or 402-689-8936 (cell)
Website: www.facebook.com/columbanmissioncenter

Focus: Educates groups about the U.S./Mexico border realities. Topics include: the political economy of the border, historical issues of the border, learning from refugees and migrants, and interviews with Border Patrol. They will adjust itinerary to each group's interest. They provide a daily reflection time (either Father Bob or a group leader/reflector leads these). Columban Father’s mission or praxis is, "To accompany the poor."

Size of Group: Prefer twelve but can handle up to twenty persons.

Cost: $100 per day per person: includes van, food, housing and program fee for setting up the itinerary.

Length of Trip: Five to seven days (or ten days or a weekend)

Age: College students and older. No high school age groups. All participants must be at least 18 years old at the time of the programmed visit.

LGBT-Friendly: Yes

Accessibility: Ground floor is accessible with bathrooms but bedrooms are on second floor. No elevator.

Background: The Missionary Society of St. Columban is an international order of approximately 400 priests with lay associates. They work in fourteen countries worldwide. The El Paso Center opened eight years ago and provides border immersion experiences for university and religious and non-religious delegations.

House Information: It is an older house that has been remodeled using recycled and ecological building materials. It has a strong “sustainability” focus with a community garden and water conservation devices. No air conditioning but attic fans (strong) that remove the hot air during the summer.  Solar panels on the roof (22) help tap into a renewable energy resource that is abundant in the desert climate.

It is a two-story house: Ground floor has kitchen, dining room area, a chapel/reflection room and a large conference room with technology equipment for PowerPoint, etc. There are two bathrooms on the ground floor. The second floor has four bedrooms and four bathrooms and shower facilities. It has eighteen twin beds and can sleep up to thirty to forty people in cots or sleeping bags on the floor, which happens when local shelters have an overflow of refugees. The Center is located a few blocks from the downtown area of El Paso.  It is a modest house but comfortable.

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 Iglesia Luterana Cristo Rey (El Paso)

Contact:  Contact:  Rose Mary Sánchez-Guzmán, Senior Pastor
Location:  El Paso, Texas
Email:  borderimmersion@gmail.com
Phone:  915-544-6545
Website:  iglesiacristorey.wix.com/borderimmersion   

Focus: Cristo Rey Border Immersion Program seeks to educate participants about border issues through shared learning,
experience, work, and prayer.

Size of Group: Seven to fourteen persons.

Cost: $350 per participant fee; $350.00 non-refundable deposit (applies toward group total); $200 cash gratuity for cleaning & transportation costs; Food & other personal expenses.

Length of Trip: Seven days (or a weekend)

Age: Minimum participant age is fifteen. Church, high school groups, universities, and seminary students participate.

LGBT-Friendly: Yes.

Accessibility: Limited.

Background: Iglesia Luterana Cristo Rey ("Christ the King Lutheran Church") belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Located in the heart of a low-income Hispanic district in central El Paso, Texas. Cristo Rey ministers to people on both sides of the international border. The worshiping congregation provides an inclusive place for cultures to meet and share their gifts. The congregation primarily consists of first-generation Mexican immigrants and their families, and welcomes people from all backgrounds.
Cristo Rey's Immersion Program considers border issues through a Christian perspective. As Christians, our reality cannot be separated from the lives of our sisters and brothers in Christ. Every individual has gifts to share and a need to learn.  The Border Immersion Program may be considered a reverse mission trip because the border and its people will teach and minister to your group. When you return home, you will have stories and reflections to share with family and friends.

Housing Information: Groups stay in two dorm-style rooms complete with bunks, shower facilities, towels, and linens.
Free Wi-Fi available.

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Camp Noah - Children in Disaster

Camp Noah (Offices in St. Paul with camps nationwide)
Contact:  Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, Camp Noah
                2375 Como Ave
                St. Paul, MN 55108
Email:  campnoah@lssmn.org
Phone:  1.800.987.0061
Website: http://www.campnoah.org/  

Camp Noah is a day camp for children whose communities have been impacted by disaster.  Camp Noah provides a safe, caring and fun environment where children build resiliency skills within the familiarity of their own communities, using proven curriculum designed to help children process their disaster and/or trauma experience through creative activities and play.  In this safe and supportive setting, children are encouraged to face their fears, grieve their losses, identify and share their unique gifts and talents, and plan for an amazing future.

The Camp Noah program staff identifies and coordinates with locally impacted communities to assess interest and determine location and logistics for a camp during the period 6 months to 3 years following a disaster event.  A volunteer team of 15-25 people receive training and are then assigned a location to lead the camp curriculum for a one-week event.  A local site coordinator and mental health professional are part of the local leadership of the event.

Projects/Focus:  Volunteers work directly with children as camp leaders during the Camp Noah week.  There are a number of duties team members can volunteer to take on.  These include leading the curriculum in small groups, leading activities, and emceeing large group events.  Each volunteer has the opportunity to serve in an area that utilizes their own unique gifts and talents!  One member must be designated as a Team Leader.  The Team Leader will be the contact person between Camp Noah National and the local Camp Noah site coordinator.

The community visited will likely be exhausted (both physically and financially) from rebuilding and recovering.  Volunteer groups from congregations and organizations outside of the disaster-impacted area have a unique opportunity to provide leadership and much needed fresh energy for a fun and supportive week-long camp.

All volunteers must be willing to be flexible and have fun being silly and energetic.  They must participate in the camp week activities and possess a positive attitude.  The best fit for this experience are volunteers with a passion for working with children affected by disaster.

Educational/Advocacy Components:  Groups of church members, co-workers or even friends lead activities, teach curriculum and guide the children through their restorative experience.  Volunteers not only help children at camp, they often see their own lives changed as a result of serving kids during such an important time in their recovery.

Time:  One-week on-site at camp.  On-line training (5-6 hours) and two in-person group training sessions required.

Dates:  TBD.  Contact Camp Noah staff.

Group Size:  Volunteer teams must be composed of 15-25 per persons.  If your team isn't large enough, feel free to reach out to other congregations and organizations and ask them to get involved.  All volunteers on a particular team are asked to train and prepare together, so before you arrive in your host community, you will have the opportunity to learn and bond together as a group.

Minimum Age:  16 + years.  Team Leader must be over 21 years.

Accommodations:  Lodging will be provided for the team by the local host organization.  Details about housing will be provided in a timely manner from the Site Coordinator, and volunteers should expect to bring bedding and a towel.  Breakfast and lunch supplied on camp days (Monday - Friday).  All other meals may be at the expense of the Volunteer Team.

Cost:  $220 per person.

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