Texas – 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).

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 (Texas)


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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
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.
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.  

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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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