Nearly One Hundred Diocesan Youth Help with Hurricane Harvey Recovery

Diocesan Youth participating at Missionpalooza 2019

Eleven churches from across the diocese came together from July 14-19, 2019 for Missionpalooza 2019. An annual Episcopal Diocese of Texas youth mission trip, Missionpalooza continued focusing on disaster relief in 2019, serving a second year on Hurricane Harvey recovery work. This year, nearly 100 youth and adults volunteered to support this effort. Churches represented were Christ Church Cathedral, Houston; Good Shepherd, Tomball; Holy Comforter, Angleton; Palmer Memorial, Houston; St. Catherine of Sienna, Missouri City; St. Mark’s, Bay City; St. Michael’s, Austin; St. Matthew’s, Austin; St. Stephen’s, Liberty;  Trinity, Baytown; and Trinity, Houston.

Missionpalooza 2019 began on Sunday night with worship and a visit from the Rt. Rev. Kathyrn M. Ryan, bishop suffragan of the Western Region of the Diocese of Texas, whose own home flooded during Harvey. She welcomed the group to Houston and told of her own story of rescue and recovery after Harvey. Beginning Monday morning and for the rest of the week, teams worked across the Houston area, partnering with two area organizations, SBP-Houston and our diocese’s own Mosaic in Action, part of St. Andrew’s, Pearland. Volunteers worked on eight homesites, doing everything from demolition to sheetrock and painting to help get homeowners back into their homes. Many of the homes were still unlivable almost two years after Harvey hit Houston. As Suzanne Hollifield, volunteer coordinator for Harvey Recovery for the Diocese of Texas stated, Missionpalooza helped homeowners return to their “houses that love built.” 

Many participants have come back year after year to be the church in mission. Missionpalooza 2018 served in the Diocese of West Texas by working in areas either forgotten after the storm, like Refugio and Bayside or in areas in the eye of the storm, like Port Aransas and Aransas Pass. In previous years, Missionpalooza has served after disasters across the region, from Bay St. Louis, Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina, to the fires in Bastrop, to tornados in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Planning for Missionpalooza 2020 will begin once hurricane season is over. Contact Stephanie Townes, youth event and young adult coordinator for EDOT, if your congregation is interested in joining this annual diocesan event.

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