Commit to Pray

I got to preach a couple of weeks ago and, as it always happens, you come across things when researching that are great, but eventually find their way to the cutting room floor, or as Nadia Bolz Webber states, you have to “kill your darlings.” Maybe that’s a little too strong…maybe you just hold on to them and use them later in a blog post that should have been turned in a few hours ago….

Anyway, while doing research for a sermon the other day, I came across an article published by the Austin-American Statesman that did an in-depth study of the state of CPS in the state of Texas. I was blown away. CPS hires an astounding 200 caseworkers every month. I thought it was a typo. It’s not. 200 per month. 33 of those quit within 6 months. 30% of all CPS caseworkers quit every year. As of 2013, the Child Welfare League recommended an average CPS caseload of 12 cases per caseworker. In the state of Texas, the average caseload per caseworker was 25 state-wide and higher in densely populated areas. Not surprisingly, the largest contributing factor to the high turnover is job-stress due to workload.

I mention all of these stats to highlight the importance of the caseworkers we have working right here in our community. We’ve met a lot of them through our work with CarePortal. Seeing statistics like these reminds me that our church can and should do what we can to support the work of caseworkers in our neighborhood. We should try to make their jobs a little easier as they work among the most vulnerable children and families in our midst.

How we do that may not be immediately apparent, but I’ve learned that when I talk about problems out loud, the solutions generally find their way to the surface. Kind of like how you may not have known that Ford re-released the Ranger pickup truck in North America this year, but now that I’ve said it, you’ll see 10 tomorrow.

I want to invite you to practice some mindfulness concerning children, families and caseworkers who are all a part of the CPS system. I hope that I can convince you to add these people to your daily prayers. Our church app gives you a great tool for this. Open the FUMC Hurst App. At the bottom, tap “Connect,” then “Ministries,” then “Missions,” then “Sacred Partners,” then “CarePortal.” You can also go here:

commit to pray button

Now, scroll through that page. At the bottom of the page, you’ll see a list of CarePortal needs and requests that are open in our area right now. Please take a moment to pray over those requests. If you feel so inclined you can even tap the “Commit to Pray” button so that the CPS caseworker knows that a church is praying for them and for that child. Should you feel moved to do something more, email me at mybanez@fumchurst.org and I can walk you through the steps of responding to a CarePortal request. I know there is a great passion in our community of faith to serve children within the CPS and foster/adoption system in HEB, together we can make a difference in the lives of our neighbors in this community. Thanks for all you do.

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