Walk to Jerusalem Update – We’ve Made it to Gabes, Tunisia!




The East Austin Wellness Center is pleased to announce that we’ve “walked” a total of  2,420 miles on our Walk to Jerusalem over the past two weeks, making it to Fes, Morocco in our first week and all the way to Gabes, Tunisia this week!

If you have the chance, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with Gabes, reading the Wikipedia entry here. You’re encouraged to reflect on and pray for this part of the world during your exercise this week.

Gabes Prayer Needs:

  • The city’s fast-growing number of chemical factories has resulted in a serious pollution and health problem, both in the area and in the Gulf of Gabes. The government is working on new programs and laws to decrease the amount of pollution. Please pray for them in this important effort.
  • Poverty and unemployment are on the rise, and the city is seeing a lot of social unrest resulting in violent protests involving unemployed residents and the police. Please pray for peace, love, guidance and support for all involved in these issues.

Additionally, below is this week’s devotion that you are welcome to reflect on and even discuss if you choose to exercise with others.

Visitors along the road:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” – Galatians 5:22-23.
When we think of visitors along the road, the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 naturally comes to mind. We can all somehow relate to that story. The Good Samaritan actually stopped to help the hurting person while others ignored the hurting person. How often can we say that we have walked past a hurting person? How often have we helped a hurting person? The person may not even be a stranger. The excuses are many. To help the hurting person means stepping out of our comfort zone, rearranging plans and yes, showing and living the fruits of the Spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This week as you walk you may not see a physically hurting person, but ask God to help you see others as He sees them. If we are willing, He will show us the hurting of this world and fill us with His compassion and love.
Questions to ponder: 
Have you ever unexpectedly and spontaneously helped a stranger?
How did you feel?
Think about hurting people you know. As you walk this week pray for
those hurting ones. Does God want you to take some action?
Thank you all for your participation! Don’t forget to track your miles at bit.ly/stjameswalks by noon each Friday. Remember that every 20 minutes of physical activity equals 1 mile!
The East Austin Wellness Center


Thanksgiving Food Drive

Thanks to all the members of St. James’ Episcopal, Austin, who took food baskets to their work to collect food for our Holiday Food Drive.  We collected 15 baskets full of wonderful food for families at St. James’ Episcopal School.  Twenty five bags of food were packed and given to families from our school so they could have a Thanksgiving feast.  Each family received an HEB card to buy a turkey or ham for their family meal.  It will be a happy Thanksgiving for these families this year.



Some members of St. James’ Church asked if we could have a similar food drive for the Christmas season.  So we will have baskets in the Narthex again this Sunday and on December 8.  We will donate the food to families of our neighbors who attend Neighbor 2 Neighbor on December 17.  So please return the basket full of food to church by December 15.



Welcome Table Hosts Angels Sing Fundraiser

Today, Welcome Table, Inc. announced its special screening of Angels Sing at the Alamo Drafthouse as a fundraiser in support of WTI’s programs in east Austin.  Seating is limited – purchase tickets in advance here.

angels sing 2


Angels Sing is a heartfelt story about the importance of family ties, overcoming tragedy and the undeniable magic of Christmas. This film, beloved by movie goers of all ages, stars Harry Connick Jr., Connie Britton, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett and more! Net proceeds from this screening support Welcome Table Inc.


  • Saturday, November 2, 2013
  • 7:00 PM
  • Alamo Drafthouse, Slaughter Lane
  • Purchase Tickets here– seating limited

Welcome Table Inc. Launches Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School in Austin

Welcome Table, Inc. supports the Austin community’s deep concern for our children and their academic performance.

Our sponsorship of a Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools®, the first of its kind in Austin, reflects this care.

The program encourages each Scholar to love reading and realize that they can become contributing, caring members in their communities. If you are excited about this innovative opportunity, we urge you to consider an in-kind contribution and/or financial support for one or more Scholars in the amount of $1,400.  This amount enables a scholar to participate in the program next summer.

Watch this video to learn more about the program:

cdf video

Fifty Austin children ages five through twelve will be enrolled in the program and will spend six weeks focusing on literacy, legacy, and leadership. The award-winning curriculum will be implemented with a 10:1 ratio of Scholars to college-age Servant Leader Intern who will be trained by CDF.

Gina Houston champions this initiative.  Her commitment to launching this program in Austin is a result of having met with the senior leadership of Children’s Defense Fund and having actively participated in a simulation of a day using the curriculum.

Under the direction of Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, CDF Freedom Schools® was inspired by the servant leadership approach of the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Schools Project and was launched at CDF in 1995. Five key components of the program are behind its success in inspiring young Scholars and their parents:

  • High quality literacy enrichment
  • Parent and family involvement
  • Social action and civic engagement
  • Intergenerational leadership development
  • Physical health, mental health and nutrition

The program’s Integrated Reading Curriculum uses best-practice teaching strategies to help young Scholars develop a love for reading, improve positive attitudes toward learning, and create a desire to make a personal difference in their families and in the community. Nearly 10,000 Scholars at 135 sites in 81 cities and 27 states are currently participating in the CDF Freedom Schools® experience.

More information about Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools®, including the results of a five-year longitudinal evaluation sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, can be found on CDF’s web site.

To be able to launch the CDF Freedom Schools® program, we will need the commitment and resources of those with a passion for children, literacy and social justice. The program is free to the Scholars who attend, but expenses must be paid for with community dollars. The cost of the six-week program is approximately $70,000, or $1,400 per child. I am asking you to make a commitment to sponsor one or more Scholars, in any way that is feasible.

If you have questions please feel free to contact Gina at  [email protected]