An Investment in Children

Date Posted: 10/1/2017

Cypress Trails UMC has a vision to serve the community, starting with preschool, after school care and a charter elementary school on its campus.
 
Each Monday morning, Cypress Trails United Methodist Church in Spring, Texas welcomes dozens of backpack-wearing kindergarten, first, and second graders as they arrive to receive a quality education at Sam Houston University’s newest charter school, but Cypress Trails UMC is far more than a landlord for the school. The church is intentionally invested in the lives of the at-risk students the charter school serves.
 
When You Pray, Move Your Feet 
When Rev. Luis Ramirez first arrived at Cypress Trails UMC three years ago, both he and the church felt the need take time to hear from God about where He wanted them to serve in ministry. Pastor Ramirez felt there was no better way to begin than by praying for his neighbors, and listening to their struggles. He and his congregation began walking through the working-class neighborhood surrounding Cypress Trails, covering the neighborhood in prayer as they went. They also took time to meet with families in their homes to hear about their needs. Over and over again, the heard the same thing- the schools in the Spring district were in dire shape. Families were desperately worried about their children’s educations.
 
Listening for God’s Plan 
As Pastor Ramirez prayed about the needs surrounding Cypress Trails, God gave him a vision for the future. He knew the church was meant to bring God’s kingdom to earth, and Cypress Trails UMC was how God planned to bring His good kingdom to the at-risk children of Spring, Texas. “What if,” he wondered, “we could bring a quality education these children who are at risk simply because of their zip code?”
 
For years, he and his congregation prayed, watched, and waited. Finally, the day came when Cypress Trails heard that Sam Houston University was looking for hosts for four new charter schools. Cypress Trails knew they had found the perfect fit.
 
The charter school superintendent, Dr. Ronny Knox agrees. “When we were choosing a location for our newest charter school through the university, we looked at 50 credible and highly rated daycares. When Pastor Luis laid out his vision for the church to be an education center, we knew Cypress Trails UMC was going to be an ideal partner for Sam Houston University’s expanding charter school program.”
 
The Vision Becomes Reality
Cypress Trails UMC rejoices in the opportunity to provide a loving, safe environment for kids to receive a quality education in their own neighborhood, but the church offers far more than a facility to the students. Cypress Trails UMC also offers optional Christ-centered afterschool programs including soccer, scouting, and music programs. Each year, the church hosts a free community festival as well. Pastor Luis wants the neighborhood children to be familiar with the church. He wants the students and their families to feel connected, supported, loved.
 
“It is intentional,” Pastor Luis said, “We don’t see these as just some children we are serving. We see these as our children.”
 
Sam Houston University plans to expand their charter schools to four more sites in 2018. Churches interested in hosting a school should contact Dr. Ronny Knox at rdk012@shsu.edu