January 11, 2020
Kinney County, Texas is a border county with 3,800 residents. Brackettville, the county seat town has 1,740 residents. Over the past six years or so, Hope Outreach Center, an community extension ministry of First UMC Brackettville has served as a connector of various social services to the needs of residents.
Prior to the birth of Hope Outreach, the church connected and worked with residents on improving and weatherizing their homes. It was through those interactions that the church began to hear their neighbors’ and new found friends’ concerns. Overtime, understanding the socio-economic, health, education, and employment concerns of the community, it has become increasingly apparent and pressing to work towards adequate responses.
In 2017, a team from FUMC / Hope Outreach became part of the initial learning cohort in the conference’s community development program – Transformational Communities of Praxis [TCOP] www.tcopraxis.org. The deeper community development work now begins. Through the convening of the church, community residents, local government officials, and people of faith, residents are coming together to envision the transformational development of Kinney County.
In November 2019, about 30 residents came together to envision some actions they could take over time to strengthen their community as well as reflecting on what the holistic well-being of the community might look like [Shalom – Jeremiah 29:7]. The gathering was also a means of measuring the will of the community to embrace the development of a county-wide coalition to embrace the long- term sustainability of the vision.
In 2020, the Kinney County Coalition will meet over the next four months to garner the skill-set and mind-set of organizing and mobilizing the community for sustainable and measurable change.