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When the Rev. Dr. R. Leigh Spruill joined St. John the Divine in 2021, he shared a vision of the church being a 'Light for the City' in which St. John the Divine would seek ways to make an impact outside our walls.

Building on our history of generous outreach, St. John the Divine launched a major initiative called the Community Engagement Project to discern how the church could meaningfully enhance its impact through significant community engagement. Volunteers formed three teams to study disparate outcomes in the areas of education, employment, and housing. After months of research and reflection, the Community Engagement Project teams aligned on a shared focus: improving outcomes in our city for early childhood development, for school-aged youth, and for young adults aging out of foster care.

Continuing in 2022, these three core focuses were continually ignited by the passion of lay leaders seeking to improve the short-term and long-term outcomes of Houston’s youth. These efforts were developed and formed into the organization known today as A Lighted Path.

The purpose of A Lighted Path is to be the umbrella organization under which new and significant community engagement initiatives are launched—for The City of Houston and beyond. By reaching beyond the walls of St. John the Divine through A Lighted Path, we will increase awareness of important unmet needs and invite our neighbors to share, serve and bring new perspectives to this work. We trust in the Lord’s grace and provision to use all of us to bring his love to our city and his Kingdom on earth.

At the end of 2023, A Lighted Path received its official 501c3 new nonprofit status, focused on implementing initiatives that will improve the short-term and long-term outcomes for the very young, for school-aged youth and for young adults disadvantaged by social and economic disparities.

Jesus called us to serve as we are a 'Light for our City'. Alongside A Lighted Path we are asking parishioners to serve in one of three different capacities:

  • The Occasional Volunteer: These individuals engage in volunteer activities typically in a group effort, based on the season of life they are in. They seek to contribute to serving opportunities that are one-time or intermittent one day
  • The Consistent Volunteer: These individuals are engaged in their volunteering efforts, participating regularly and contributing on a consistent basis. They are devoted and loyal to the cause, engaging in routine activities and contributing regularly.
  • The Champion Volunteer: These individuals often take on continual coordinator roles and demonstrate a high level of commitment. They are the champions of the ministries and cause, serving in managerial, supervisory, or serve in other capacities. Champions contribute on a weekly basis, providing enduring and crucial support to the organization or ministry.

There is a place for you along A Lighted Path—whether you can engage a few times a year, quarterly or even weekly. We invite you to accept the call to service… It’s Go time!

Volunteer Today!

Three Current Initiatives—One Mission

One of the first new programs to launch, 'Adults in Training', is focused on young adults aging out of foster care. Through A Lighted Path we are partnering with DePelchin Children’s Center to leverage professional and volunteer resources focused on providing support, opportunities, and navigation to 20 young adults (ages 18-20) residing at DePelchin’s supervised independent living facility. This initiative, our 'Adults in Training' program, is available to all DePelchin residents. We are working to provide positive interactions, loving insight and valuable tools designed to help our 'Adults in Training' achieve stability in education, employment, and housing when they must leave DePelchin at age 21.

Loving Lamar, an existing program was founded in January 2020 as a collective impact partnership among Lamar High School and St. John the Divine (with support from Bethany Christian Church, St. Luke’s Methodist Church, Lamar’s Alumni group, and Lamar’s PTO). The goal of the Loving Lamar initiative is to intentionally live out Jesus’ commandment to love our neighbor through collaborative efforts that support Lamar High School’s students, teachers, and administrators by making connections, leveraging relationships, and providing financial and volunteer support.

Strong Start, the second program to launch under A Lighted Path, is working to help improve early childhood education in Houston by partnering with Collaborative for Children and its Centers of Excellence program. The Centers of Excellence program currently works with 50 early childhood centers in childcare deserts to enhance kindergarten readiness through mentoring the childcare center directors and staff, engaging families to support a child’s learning and helping the owners and directors of childcare centers develop essential business and management skills. The strengths and talents of St. John the Divine parishioners will leverage the Collaborative for Children’s mission to improve meaningfully the quality of early childhood education in Greater Houston so that 70 percent of children show clear progress toward school readiness.

There is a place for you along A Lighted Path—whether you can engage a few times a year, quarterly or even weekly. We invite you to accept the call to service… It’s Go time!

Volunteer Today!

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