Intercultural youth retreat unites Houston teens

By Luke Blount
Posted Jan 24, 2013
The youth visited San Mateo on Sunday with Bp. PHOTO/Diocese of Texas

The youth visited San Mateo on Sunday with Bp. PHOTO/Diocese of Texas

[Episcopal Diocese of Texas] Youth from four different ethnic backgrounds and six different churches spent last weekend together at Christ Church Cathedral at the first intercultural youth retreat in the Diocese of Texas. The 8th-10th graders took part in multicultural training as led by Alan Wong of SOAR, a Seattle-based non-profit that supports youth leadership projects.

The 10 youth represented backgrounds in White, Black, Hispanic and Native American cultures coming from St. James’, San Mateo, St. Aidan’s, St. Mary’s, St. Mark’s, and San Pedro in the Houston area.

The teens spent Saturday and Sunday together, participating in training excercises to begin to better understand different cultures. On Saturday night, they toured the Diocesan Center, and on Sunday they all attended a service at San Mateo with Bishop Suffragan Jeff Fisher, sharing in their common culture of being Episcopalians.

Organized as a joint project between Denise Trevino of the Diocese’s intercultural ministry and Jamie Martin-Currie and Matt Blank of the formation department, the hope is that this hand-selected group of youth will participate in two more training sessions this year. Then, next year, each participant will be able to bring a friend to future events, further growing the program.

“The cool thing is that when we gathered people to talk about intercultural ministry, we really don’t talk about our cultures that much, but about people as individuals,” Blank said. “They really are learning to talk with a person based on who they are, and they are focusing on getting to know each other.”

— Luke Blount is a staff writer for the Diocese of Texas.