Wiley "Harambee" Workshops Train Youth in Leadership


Read what 40 youth learned about fervent leadership over four days at the “Leading with Courage” conference at Wiley College.


Harambee is a Swahili word that mans “together pushing forward,” which is a rallying cry in many African cultures of “Let’s come together to accomplish something great for our community.” In late July, Black Methodists for Church Renewal sponsored a trip to Wiley College for a group of  about 40 teens and adults who enjoyed a series of worship services and workshops on


·         “Leading with Courage”

·         “Leading with Integrity” (led by Rev. Julius Wardley of the Wesley Foundation at Texas Southern University)

·         “What is Worship: Traditional vs Contemporary” (led by Rev. Tori Butler, chaplain at Wiley College)


Additionally, youth were introduced to the Spiritual Arts Village, a session involving writing, poetic expression, drawing and dynamic praise and worship led by Rev. DeAndre Johnson, Rev. Angelita Dirden and Minister Lewis Keys. Special thanks to event leaders: Rev. Michelle Hall, Associate Director for Clergy Excellence and Rochelle Cebrun of St. Mark’s UMC, (Patterson St.) Houston, and Juanita Jackson of Trinity East UMC, Houston and chaperons from Living Water, Pearland, St. Andrew’s UMC, Houston, Trinity UMC Houston, and Jones Memorial UMC, Houston. Dr. Elijah Stansell, South Central Jurisdiction BMCR and the Local BMCR chapter also helped make this educational endeavor a success.


Johnathon Terry of St. Mark’s UMC, (Patterson St.) Houston says, “I liked the different activities and the people that I met at Harambee.  I especially liked the writing and Real Talk activities.” Participant Destiny Blockmon of Jones Memorial UMC adds, “My experience at Harambee was amazing because I got to meet so many new people that were there for the same reason as I -- to get closer to God. I believe as young people we all need to be as close to God as we can get because the devil is very busy. My favorite part was the workshops and discussing what we made and wrote. I would do it again if I could.  So thank you for blessing me with the opportunity to do so this year.”