San Antonio church engages neighborhood children in pen-pal program

first_img Rector Pittsburgh, PA Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET Rector Bath, NC Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL August 1, 2016 at 6:19 pm St. Phillips College, San Antonio, is the child of St. Phillips Church. The College was owned and operated by the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas until after World War II, when it grew beyond the means of the diocese to support. St. Phillips is a grand old parish with a wonderful history of faith and service. Thanks for this article. Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH Director of Music Morristown, NJ David Veal says: Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Laurie Eiserloh says: August 1, 2016 at 8:35 pm Thank you for sharing this history! 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Thanks alot for this moving story of the youngster and the history. May God bless you. Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI Rector Albany, NY Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET The Rev. Patricia Riggins, left, and Regina Walker confer over a pen-pal notebook. Photo: Diocese of West Texas[Diocese of West Texas] On All Saints’ Day, Regina Walker, a member of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio, Texas, opened the thin spiral notebook from her fourth-grade pen pal at nearby S.H. Gates Elementary School and discovered that the light-hearted exchange of letters had taken an unexpectedly somber turn.The letter from her young friend, written on blue-lined paper, contained a sobering passage: “Do you have a dad because I don’t he died in a car crash. We had his funeral.”After she read this, Walker retreated to compose herself in a quiet corner of the church’s parish hall.  “My heart broke for such a young person to go through such a tragic event,” Walker said.  “I saw this as a light-hearted exercise.  Suddenly, it was very serious and thought-provoking.”Seeing her alone, the Rev. Patricia Riggins, St. Philip’s parish priest, sensed something was up.  Walker showed her the letter and the two huddled over how she should reply.“She is a young girl,” Walker said, “so I had to be sensitive to how I responded.”Riggins told her: “You know, Regina, it’s All Saints’ Day.  See if you can use that.”Walker thought about Riggins’ suggestion and sat down with the notebook.  “God is good,” Walker explained.  “He came at the right time to tell me how to respond.”She picked up her pencil and wrote: “I am very sorry to hear that your Dad died. Today is All Saints’ Day, a day when we give honor and prayers to our loved ones in heaven.  I will say a special prayer for you and your family.”“It was a beautiful response,” Riggins said.The exchange of letters between Walker and her young friend began as a pen pal program last fall between the fourth graders at Gates and the parishioners at St. Philip’s.  The school and church are located only about six blocks apart in southeast San Antonio and share a heritage rooted deep in the African-American community.S.H. Gates, a prominent local educator, was the first African-American to have a school named in his honor in San Antonio.  St. Philip’s heritage dates to its founding in 1895 as the first Episcopal Church for African-Americans in the Diocese of West Texas.Stephanie Webb, the counselor at Gates Elementary, coordinates the school’s pen-pal program. Photo: Diocese of West TexasThe cooperation between the church and Gates started when Riggins heard about a partnership between San Antonio’s Christ Church and its neighborhood school, Madison Elementary, at an Abide in Me conference. (See “A Mutual Transformational Relationship,” The Church News, March/April 2015)  Although St. Philip’s is much smaller than Christ Church, she wanted to see if there was some way on a lesser scale that her church could help the children at Gates Elementary.“Part of the DNA of this church community is to be in a relationship with Gates,” Riggins said.  “Several of the kids of our parishioners went to Gates.  And we have quite a few teachers in the parish.”Riggins arranged a meeting with Stephanie Webb, the school counselor, to explore ways that the church could help Gates. “I knew we could do something like buy school supplies, but I wanted something different,” Riggins said.Webb had an idea: “I said, ‘You know, what if we could have a little pen pal program with the fourth grade because they are tested in writing for STAAR.’”  The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness measures fourth graders on reading, writing and math.“I thought that that would help with the writing by encouraging them to write more,” Webb said.  “The kids would also be learning things about other people and people would be learning things about them.”Riggins presented the idea to the church and “nobody said no.”The program was launched when the school’s two dozen fourth graders decorated the cover of their spiral notebooks and wrote a letter introducing themselves to their future pen pals at St. Philip’s.Riggins picked up the notebooks from the school, took them to church and “just started passing them out at coffee hour to anybody who wanted to participate.”  They were quickly snatched up, even by St. Philip’s own sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders.  “I thought everything is on phones these days,” she said. “They’ve never had a pen pal before.  So our youth are participating in this as well.”Generally, it takes about two to three weeks to turn the letters around between the church and school.  The parishioner and student remain paired as pen pals throughout the year.On Sundays, when the notebooks are passed out after services, it’s a mad dash as church members reach for their letters.  “It’s nice to see people grab their booklets,” Walker said.  “They grab their pencils and put their heads down and then raise them thinking about what to say.  We have to watch our own penmanship!”The parish hall also buzzes with conversations as members share what their pen pals have written.  “When I distribute the notebooks I listen to the conversations in the parish hall,” Riggins said.  “‘Listen to what he wrote,’ they say.”Regina Walker works on her pen pal notebook. Photo: Diocese of West TexasThe same excitement happens at school when the children get their notebooks back from church. “When they get their books back they open them up and read them, then they’ll share with each other what their pen pal wrote, the questions that they had, the ideas and experiences that they had,” Webb explained.The children tell their pen pals about themselves, their families, their school, their pastimes, what books they are reading, what their favorite stories are.  Sports and video games are a big topic, too. “We also get a lot of pictures,” Riggins said.One child wrote her pen pal that they were learning about the Caddo Indians.  “It’s really fun,” the youngster wrote.  “Tell me more about the Indians,” the parishioner wrote back.Another church member told her pen pal that she was “glad you like to read because reading is essential to your education.”“A lot of this is trying to be encouraging and asking questions about what they’ve learned,” Riggins said. “Anything to get them to write and to practice writing and to tell us about themselves and their school.”Webb said the fourth-grade teacher reviews the letters and offers suggestions to the children on what to write and how to improve their writing.“Sometimes they don’t know what to say, especially over a holiday,” Webb said.  She and the teacher encourage the children to write about what “happened on your Easter holiday, what happened on your Christmas holiday. Share that experience with them.”Webb will occasionally substitute the time she sets aside each Wednesday for guidance work with the class for letter writing. “I’ll say, ‘Take out your notebooks.  This is what we’re going to do for guidance’ so that it won’t take time away from their class” and interfere with their preparation for the important STAAR test.“I think that’s a good impact for them,” Webb said. “They notice the patterns that other people use when they write.  They will conform to what they see other people doing.”Riggins has also heard positive feedback about the program.  One parent noticed the improvement in her child’s handwriting, for example.  “You can also tell the sentence structure gets better,” Riggins said.  “They start responding.  They have more confidence.  They’re not getting anything from us that is scolding.  All they’re getting from us is that we’re responding to their questions and they get a chance to brag on themselves.”Church members “love the fact that they’re encouraging the kids.  This congregation knows the value of education.  They want to very much assure that these kids are valued as individuals and valued as children of God and keep up with their education.”“It warms my heart to go back in time to remember what it was like, what is in their minds, what their young minds think about at that age,” Walker said.Although religion is not a theme in the letters, the children know that the letters are sent from a local church.  “Several church members do talk about that this is my church family,” Riggins said.  “Many of our letters end with ‘You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.’”With only 49 families, St. Philip’s faces limitations on how broad it can spread its outreach programs into the community.  In addition to the pen pal program at Gates, a couple of members also read to pre-K and kindergarten children attending the school.In another outreach to neighborhood children and families, St. Philip’s has revitalized its Breakfast with Santa program, held on the second Saturday of December.  The breakfast, advertised throughout the area, including fliers distributed at Gates and a promotion on the church’s marquee, offered pancakes, sausage, juice and coffee to anyone who attended.The children got their picture taken with Santa and made Christmas ornaments.  Last Christmas, 100 people attended, including one family who joined St. Philip’s.  “Several kids said it was the best day they’d had,” Riggins said.  A few children participating in the pen pals program also attended.For St. Philip’s, the breakfast “allowed us to have conversations about how we can pray for people who are in trouble.  I think it’s deepened our conversations about what happens to our neighbors,” Riggins explained.When reading the children’s letters, she “picks up on loneliness.  I pick up on kids who are so excited that somebody’s listening. I think that’s what struck a lot of our parishioners is that these kids asking to be in a relationship and that’s what God calls us to do.”“It helps you count your blessings,” Walker said, “makes you realize people go through different things, makes you aware of what people go through.”Webb is hopeful that the pen pal program will continue in future years. St. Philip’s hopes so, too.  “It brings us great joy,” Riggins said.— Mike Patterson is a freelance writer and member of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Blanco, Texas. Rector Belleville, IL Featured Events Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ Submit a Job Listing Submit an Event Listing Rector Tampa, FL Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest Youth Minister Lorton, VA Rector Knoxville, TN Course Director Jerusalem, Israel San Antonio church engages neighborhood children in pen-pal program Rector Smithfield, NC Rector Collierville, TN Children Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS David Frank says: August 6, 2016 at 3:54 pm How do you work around the involvement of the public schools with a church? For example, as lovely as the quoted letter to the girl whose father had passed is, it COULD be construed as prosetalization. I have read of other programs of the public schools partnering with churches that have crossed the line, either intentionally or unintentionally. Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Comments are closed. Cathedral Dean Boise, ID In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Rector Martinsville, VA Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Hires Reverend Kevin W. VanHook, II as Executive Director Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Submit a Press Release Curate Diocese of Nebraska New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR Rector Hopkinsville, KY Associate Rector Columbus, GA Comments (4) Bruce Wilson says: Tags This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Featured Jobs & Callslast_img read more

Positive Pending Homes Sales Data Comes With Caveat

Home / Daily Dose / Positive Pending Homes Sales Data Comes With Caveat Positive Pending Homes Sales Data Comes With Caveat The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago  Print This Post About Author: Xhevrije West Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Existing-home sales suffered last month due to the continuous imbalance of extremely low inventory levels and rapid home price appreciation.The NAR reported that existing-home sales decreased 7.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.08 million in February from 5.47 million in January. However, the report noted that despite last month’s large decline, sales remain 2.2 percent higher than a year ago. Existing-home sales do not appear to be slowing down home prices appreciation. According to the NAR, the median existing-home price in February was $210,800, up 4.4 percent from last February’s median price of $201,900. This marks the 48th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.”Any further moderation in prices would be a welcome development this spring,” Yun stated. “Particularly in the West, where it appears a segment of would-be buyers are becoming wary of high asking prices and stiff competition.”The NAR expects existing-homes sales this year to be around 5.38 million, up 2.4 percent from 2015. The national median existing-home price for all of this year is expected to increase between 4 and 5 percent.Chief Economist of, Jonathan Smoke noted, “Low inventories and tight credit will limit the gains we will see in 2016. However, given the level of pent-up demand evident in web activity and stated buyer intentions for 2016, we should see this spring materialize as the busiest season of sales since 2006.”Click here to view the full pending home sales report released Monday. Previous: Digging Deeper Into the Declining Homeownership Rate Next: DS News Webcast: Tuesday 3/29/2016 Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Sign up for DS News Daily Share Save Related Articles Mortgage contract signings began 2016 on a low note, falling to their lowest level in a year after hitting its highest average year in nearly a decade due to two pressing factors that are keeping buyers out of the market: inventory and home prices.However, despite the rough start to the year, pending home sales recently rose to their highest level in seven months and are still higher than a year ago.The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Monday that its Pending Home Sales Index rose 3.5 percent to 109.1 in February from a downwardly revised 105.4 in January and is now up 0.7 percent from 108.3 in February 2015.The NAR noted that although the index has now increased year-over-year for 18 consecutive months, the annual gain last month was the smallest.NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said, “After some volatility this winter, the latest data is encouraging in that a decent number of buyers signed contracts last month, lured by mortgage rates dipping to their lowest levels in nearly a year and a modest, seasonal uptick in inventory. Looking ahead, the key for sustained momentum and more sales than last spring is a continuous stream of new listings quickly replacing what’s being scooped up by a growing pool of buyers. Without adequate supply, sales will likely plateau.”Collingwood Managing Director Thomas Cronin said of the pending home sales report, “It seems that the key here, is the fact that this is the 18th straight month of improvement. Yes, we could use more supply, yes, we could use more new construction at the lower end yes, we would like rates to remain low. But at the end of the day, this has been a solid performance.”Ten-X Chief Marketing Officer Rick Sharga was among the housing experts who were more cautious about celebrating the pending home sales report or calling it a comeback, saying “The year-over-year number is the one to pay attention to. Last year, March home sales fell,off dramatically after a very strong February. With pending home sales up a scant 0.7 percent from last year, it seems like March existing home sales may not give us much to get excited about.”Sharga continued, “The dramatic increase in pending home sales from January to February probably has more to do with January numbers being extremely low (and revised downward for this report), and some delays in contract execution due to bad weather in the Northeast and Midwest, which both had significant month-over-month gains.”Source: National Association of Home Builders Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Xhevrije West is a talented writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas. She has worked for a number of publications including The Syracuse New Times, Dallas Flow Magazine, and Bellwethr Magazine. She completed her Bachelors at Alcorn State University and went on to complete her Masters at Syracuse University. Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago in Daily Dose, Featured, News The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Tagged with: Housing Inventory Housing Supply National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Ten-X Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Housing Inventory Housing Supply National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Ten-X 2016-03-28 Brian Honea March 28, 2016 9,486 Views Subscribe read more


first_imgBy Stephanie SchupskaUniversity of GeorgiaThe “Got Milk?” campaign slogan translates into something much different in Spanish. To be successful on the world stage, agricultural business managers and college students need to know this and the language of global markets, says a University of Georgia international expert. “Got Milk?” in Spanish is “¿Tienes Leche?” It means “Are you lactating?” said Maria Navarro, an assistant professor with UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. This is certainly not the question the advertising campaign intends to ask, Navarro recently told a special class for CAES students and alumni. For Spanish-speaking audiences, the phrase was switched to one that translates “Have you given them milk today?”Simply knowing how something translates and being willing to learn can make a big difference in the success of business today, she said, especially in export markets. According to a 2004 business magazine article, Navarro said, 58 percent of U.S. businesses earnings growth came from overseas, and 30 percent of corporations surveyed felt opportunities were missed overseas due to insufficient personnel with international skills.“Unless we can communicate with people,” she said, “we’re not going to be able to work with them.” Bill Sell, the former UGA Cooperative Extension head for agronomy, saw firsthand the dangers of applying American customs to work he did in Latin America.“Our first image was to apply our customs and cultural habits,” he said. “It was our strong tendency to lay our trends and customs on them without understanding where they were coming from.”The current food crisis and riots in Haiti were discussed. According to an Associated Press report, some Haitians now are making, selling and eating dirt cookies to fill their stomachs. Without understanding Haitian culture and economy, the international community may solve the current food problem but create another, Navarro said.“In many situations, if we just send food, we’re displacing local producers,” she said. “If we send tractors, we’re changing their systems and forcing them into an oil-based cycle.”Education is the word, but teaching is not the answer alone. The way to improve America’s international relations and export markets is to approach opportunities with the idea that, “We’re going to work on something together,” said Navarro, who teaches CAES students about international agriculture and world hunger.“Students who go abroad learn to put things together better, to connect things better,” she said. “They learn to link technical knowledge with people knowledge.”More than ever, she said, it is important for students who are looking for jobs to know how to effectively get their messages across to a culture other than their own. If they don’t, they could end up saying something they didn’t mean. Or, end up with a business deal they didn’t want.(Stephanie Schupska is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

Finding Kindred “Beerits” in the Blue Ridge Mountains

first_imgBy Nate Brocious, tasting room manager at Deschutes BreweryIt’s been a few months since we first announced that Roanoke, Virginia, would be home to Deschutes Brewery’s first east coast tasting room and brewing facility. Our public house and brewery were born nearly 30 years ago in Bend, Oregon’s rugged high desert country, along the banks of the Deschutes River. At the time, few had heard of craft beer, fewer cared, and our English-style Black Butte Porter stood in dark contrast to the lighter lagers of the big breweries.Our founders persevered none-the-less with a vision to make unique beer that pairs amazingly well with outdoor lifestyles, served in a comfortable gathering spot. Over the years, we introduced new flagships like Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Obsidian Stout. One drinker at a time, we built a devoted fan base of people who like top quality brew and the amazing experiences we strive to provide. From the very beginning, we’ve also believed in helping to build strong communities wherever we live and work.We’re proud of that legacy. So, when looking to expand to the right side of the country, we needed just the right place to embed those values. We found it in Virginia’s lush and rolling Blue Ridge Mountains. Here is a kindred community of craft beer lovers dedicated to each other and to the outdoors! Here is a place where renowned southern hospitality will complement our culture of offering outstanding experiences. Here we can continue helping to build healthy communities and putting people first. Since we first began to look at Roanoke back in 2015, we have received the warmest of welcomes from local breweries, beer drinkers, business leaders and elected officials, all eager to see us put down roots and bring our passion to the community’s growing craft beer scene. Roanoke got an early glimpse of us during two Street Pub events; the first in the summer of 2016 and the most recent in 2017. Both years, our 400-foot pop-up pub came and went in 24 hours, drawing about 20,000 to Elmwood Park. Locals got to sample our beer and say hello to friends, and we raised some $140,000 for area non-profits in just two years.We’ve loved the area so much that in the past two years we’ve rallied our teams to clean up Tinker Creek twice. We must have made a lot of new friends. On Aug. 28, 2017, hours before we officially opened our tasting room to the public, we were surprised and humbled to see a line had formed around the block on Market Street. Since then, we continue to welcome guests inside with friendly, knowledgeable staff and something always fresh on tap.Our tasting room was the start of a permanent footprint that will culminate to a fully operating brewery and east coast distribution center in 2021. Just like our original pub in Bend, we want our new tasting room to be a community gathering spot with a real sense of place.Here customers can come and experience a part of Oregon in our new east coast home. This will be something unique to Roanoke – inspired by the fantastic history and culture of Virginia. Our plan is to contribute to the growing vibrancy of the region as a craft beer and outdoor recreation destination. This summer, for example, we were excited to sponsor Roanoke Outside’s 2017 GO Cross Cyclocross Race; two full days of biking, leaping and slogging on the trail and of course, plenty of delicious beer. Our kind of fun! We may be one of the oldest breweries in the country, but in Roanoke, we’re energized and excited to say, we’re just getting started. Come by and check out our brand of craft beer culture. Get all the details about our Roanoke Tasting Room here.last_img read more

FIFA seeks ‘stronger ethical code’ for its World Cup 2026 bidding process

first_img StumbleUpon SBC Magazine Issue 10: Kaizen Gaming rebrand and focus for William Hill CEO August 25, 2020 Submit Canada’s sports betting hearings threatened by Trudeau’s ’emergency recess’  August 24, 2020 Related Articles Share Share ESI Digital – No Drama Please… Esports growth should be treated as business as usual  August 20, 2020 FIFA governance has presented its official guiding mandate for the bidding process to host its 2026 World Cup tournament.World football’s governing body has presented its official guidelines to the committees representing North America’s joint bid of USA-Canada-Mexico competing against Morocco for the right to host football’s biggest tournament.Presenting a 35-page document, FIFA governance has made bidding parties’ aware of key timelines, judging criteria, host evaluations, rules and conduct related to the 2026 World Cup bidding process.The 2026 FIFA World Cup, will be the first tournament to be expanded to 48 national teams from its current format of 32.  The 2026 World Cup bidding process will feature no European or Asian countries, due to FIFA’s ‘rotation policy’ following the host nation wins of Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022.Seeking to bring full-transparency to its bidding process, FIFA has pledged to publish all casted votes for its 2026 judgement which will take place on 13 June 2018 in Moscow.Taking on his first World Cup bidding process, new FIFA President Gianni Infantino will be desperate to avoid the corruption and bribery scandals that marred the December 2010 Zurich bidding process in which Russia and Qatar were selected as host nations.Combined FBI and Interpol investigations revealed numerous high ranking cases of corruption for World Cup hosting votes, which would ultimately lead to the downfall of former disgraced FIFA President Sepp Blatter.Furthermore, FIFA has been pressured to adopt a stronger ethical and social code with regards to selecting World Cup host nations, following Russia and Qatar failures in regards to human rights violations, gender diversity, environmental impacts and racism.Infantino and FIFA officials have moved to implement ‘four key principals’ guiding its bidding process’ ethics which include; bid transparency, human rights monitoring, event sustainability and overall tournament legacy.Appointed FIFA President in 2016, Infantino stated that his tenure would focus on cleaning the governing body from corruption and cronyism, the process and outcome of the 2026 World Cup judgement will be Infantino’s first acid-test.___________________The industry’s World Cup 2018 context, debate and dynamics will be discussed and analysed at the upcoming ‘2018 Betting on Football Conference’ (#bofcon2018 – Stamford Bridge London, 20-23 March)last_img read more