Sacred Places Summer 2009 - Page 8

UPDATE on Partners: Texas Office Texas Sacred Places Project The Texas Sacred Places Project (TSSP) is creating a comprehensive online database that will ultimately list all historic sacred places in the state of Texas. With the support of Prairie View A&M, Texas Tech University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Texas A&M University School of Architecture, this initiative has grown from a concept to a reality. In addition, other groups and individuals such as the Texas Association of Museums, the Texas Historical Commission, Preservation Texas, the Texas Society of Architects and leading architects from around the state have come together in support of this effort. TSSP participants met at Texas Tech University recently to review a demonstration project which surveyed churches in a 16-county area of west Texas. Students drove as far as 800 miles to photograph and learn the history of more than 400 congregations, laying the foundation for data collection statewide. First Presbyterian Church in Galveston, recipient of a grant for a comprehensive building assessment in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike Galveston Update The work of Partners for Sacred Places in Galveston continues to grow and expand. The Church Restoration Group has been retained to provide assessments for hurricane-damaged buildings, and architects have been matched with 12 congregations awarded grants for comprehensive building assessments. Partners is also excited to announce the addition of two consultants to work in Galveston as we assist in the rebuilding effort: Catheryn Longino, the Congregational Support Consultant, will provide direct support to congregations through coaching and training. She has over ten years of non-profit management experience, recently received her Masters in Divinity from the Houston Graduate School of Theology, and also has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Houston. Esmeralda Valague serves as the External Support Consultant and will assist in building relationships with community stakeholders, media, and potential funders. She comes to Partners with nine years of experience in the non-profit and educational sector. 7 • Sacred Places • • Summer 2009 Amachi Project: A Collaboration Between Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Texas and Partners for Sacred Places Amachi is a unique partnership of secular and faith-based organizations working together to provide mentoring to children of incarcerated parents. Faith institutions work with human-services providers and public agencies (particularly justice institutions) to identify children of prisoners and match them with caring adults. (“Amachi” is a Nigerian Ibo word that means “Who knows but what God has brought us through this child.”) Currently there are 250 Amachi programs in 48 states, partnering with more than 6,000 congregations, serving over 100,000 children. Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Texas has partnered with the Amachi program and has created a statewide office to introduce this program to congregations in Texas. With the commitment and support of Charles Pierson, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Texas, Partners will sponsor a workshop for congregations to introduce them to this program. The workshop will be hosted by Diamond Hill Baptist Church, a member of the 2006 cohort of New Dollars/New Partners. Texas Advisory Board Members James R. Nader, AIA, Chair Robert G. Adams, AIA Susan Alanis Kenneth Barr Richard H. Bundy, AIA Daniel G. Carey Louise B. Carvey Judith S. Cohen Gerald Davis Robert I. Fernandez Glenn S. Forbes Donald Gatzke, AIA Krista Gebbia Marty Leonard Robert F. Pence, PE Elaine Petrus Barry Silverberg The Rev. Brenda W. Weir Dr. Gaynor Yancey Ex Officio Fernando Costa William J. Thornton, Jr.