Ministries With Immigrants and Teens Earn Volunteers Mayoral Proclamations

Date Posted: 6/28/2011

At a recent luncheon designed to unify the business, education, religious and government communities in the Gulfton area of Houston, Susan Silvus, Director of Outreach at St. Luke’s UMC, and lay leader Alan Nash received proclamations from the Mayor of Houston for their service to the neighborhood. Six years ago, Alan Nash established Spanish Alpha in the Gulfton area. Alan saw migrant workers gathered daily along Westpark, and invited them to weekly meetings at the Pizza Hut on Chimney Rock and Westpark.


The program, which meets before regular business hours, offers fellowship and an opportunity for day laborers to learn about or deepen their Christian faith. Attesting to the success of the program are attendance totals ranging from 20 to 110 persons per week, as well as numerous professions of faith. Spanish Alpha also includes ministries in two large Gulfton area apartments where immigrants learn English, study the Bible and encourage one another to live a Christian life. “Spanish Alpha is an institution now,” Nash said. “Our two Spanish ministers Rev. Manuel Montano and Rev. Lucy Rodriguez have developed wonderful, personal relationships with many of these men, who face enormous difficulties in their daily grind to support themselves and their families.”


Susan Silvus has been working in the Gulfton area for eight years and was involved in the Lee High School Collaborative, which responded to an urgent need and brought the Baylor Teen Health Clinic and the YMCA Child Care for parenting teens to the school.


Also under her leadership, St. Luke’s partnered with the Mayor’s Citizens’ Assistance office in a Christmas toy event that benefited 400 children in the Southwest area. She is also active with the Gulfton Area Service Providers. “St. Luke’s merged with Gethsemane United Methodist Church two years ago. As our relationship with the area grows, we are committed to finding more opportunities to provide both social services and a spiritual presence.”