SE Austin Initiative Update!
Austin City Lutherans’ goal of providing high-quality early childhood development in SE Austin gained a grand measure of momentum the first week of December 2018!
A “Memorandum of Understanding” has been signed by ACL President Brad Highum and the board president of the Montopolis Friendship Community Center (MFCC), Ms. Vernell Moncure. The memorandum is not binding, but it allows ACL to take further steps to determine if a childcare-dedicated building owned by the MFCC would best suit ACL’s early childhood development effort at the same location.
The longer history of the MFCC foreshadows ACL’s briefer history. Consisting of women of United Methodist churches in the Austin area, MFCC was founded in 1956 with the mission objective of serving, in Christ’s name, those of “greatest need.” The next year – in that era prior to civil rights enactments – they began to work and serve in Montopolis, primarily alongside minority populations. Recently annexed by the City of Austin, Montopolis at that point in time was isolated and neglected. The MFCC has been there ever since – at 403 Vargas Road – offering childcare, a thrift store, and community center activities.
Allison Elementary School, established in 1955 as one of the city’s first effort to provide services in Montopolis, has always been a good neighbor to the MFCC. Austin City Lutherans plans to maintain a side-by-side working relationship with this longtime Austin Independent School District neighbor.
The long-range goal is to open a childcare facility for infants to three year olds at MFCC, run by ACL, in August 2019. There is much work to do to reach this goal in the stated timeframe: meetings with Austin city entities and other partners, consultations with ACL Core Team members, and decisions by the ACL governing board. Additionally, a binding document will need to be agreed upon by ACL and MFCC leaders.
Your prayers are coveted. Perhaps the following prayer from the Evangelical Lutheran Worship, page 304, fits ACL’s current context best:
“O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Thanks be to God who guides, leads, directs, and redirects. Let’s keep at it!
Southeast Austin Initiative
At its February 25, 2018 meeting at Abiding Love Lutheran Church, ACL members approved moving forward with a bold initiative: to plan and implement an Early Childhood Development Center in Southeast Austin. Pastor Tim Anderson was approved to be the development director of the initiative. Significant funding for the initiative and the director position has been promised by two leading ACL congregations: Abiding Love and Shepherd of the Hills. Pastor Anderson will make himself available to preach and teach at all ACL congregations, sharing the vision of the initiative and encouraging support for its development in a part of the city that significantly lacks options for families in need of child care.
Click here for the backstory to ACL’s commitment to nutrition and early childhood development.