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State of the City

State of the City 2017

First Presbyterian Church was pleased to host the second annual State of the City Symposium on Friday evening, April 21, and Saturday, April 22, 2017. The theme for State of the City, “The Dangerous Act of Loving our Neighbor," aimed to provide FPC members, ministry partners and the surrounding community an opportunity to hear about challenges facing our city and how we, as the Church, can respond. 

Speaker Presentations



Jim Herrington

Rising to the Challenge of the Post-Modern, Post-Christian World

Clayton Crook

Cullen University: At the Corner of Southlawn & Third Ward

Sonja Gee

Developing Healthy, Hopeful Communities

Bill Henson

Reducing LGBT+ Teen Suicide and Homelessness Risk Factors

Austin Hermann

Seeking the Good of the City

Leigh Kohler

The Church's Response to Human Trafficking

To view presentations from State of the City 2016 or other FPC Conferences, click here.


Get Involved

We hope the information below is helpful as you process how you can respond to the issues in our city. Please contact Mary-Floye Federer at mffederer@fpchouston.org if you have other questions or would like to meet to discuss. You can also download a PDF of the below information here: Resources and Suggested Ways to Engage.


Principal Clayton Crook, State of the City Speaker
Cullen Middle School
6900 Scott St. Houston, TX  77021

 1. Mentoring – Students at Cullen Middle School or “Cullen University” would be blessed to have adults come alongside them with words of encouragement and help with studies such as math, science, or reading. Social worker Nicole Batiste selects the student to best fit each of the FPC volunteers following an initial meeting. Times of volunteer engagement can be established that best work with the volunteers and students. Your time with the students can be life changing, for you and for them. Contact Nicole Batiste, Social Worker, at Cullen MS at nbatiste@houstonisd.org. Note that Nicole will be on summer break in July and the first week of August. 

2. Monthly Teacher Appreciation Morning – On the third Wednesday of every month, FPC has a group of volunteers who take breakfast food and seasonal treats, juice, paper goods, smiles and enthusiasm to express our great appreciation for the teachers and staff at Cullen Middle School. Often, teachers request prayer for specific needs, and the August kick off includes prayer over the classrooms and hallways of Cullen. Contact Erin Varnell at evarnell@fpchouston.org to be added to the Teacher Appreciation list.

3. FPC "Booster Club" for Cullen – FPC would like to provide “cheerers” and supporters for Cullen sports teams and competitive UIL teams beginning Fall 2017. Principal Crook shared that they do not have a formal booster club or PTO, and we want to fill that gap. If you love kids, sports/competition or desire an outlet for unused energy, consider being part of the FPC/Cullen Booster Club! Contact Mary-Floye Federer at mffederer@fpchouston.org.

For more information about Cullen Middle School, click here.

Homeless Prevention

Sonja Gee, State of the City Speaker
Main Street Ministries
North of FPC campus – 5100 Travis Street, Houston, TX 77002

1. Participant Interviewer for Operation ID and Shepherd's Center – Visit one-on-one with participants to offer support, prayer and guidance, and in some cases gather information to help them on their pathway to stability and renewal. Tues/Thur 9-11:30am, Mon 9-11:30am, 5-6pm.

2. Family Friend for Family HOPE – Support Family Hope participants through prayer, encouragement and periodic meetings to review goals and progress to achievement. Tues 6-7:30pm.

3. Kids Zone Help for Family HOPE – Play games and read books in a safe, supportive environment for children whose parents are participating in Family HOPE (homeless prevention program). Tues 5:45-7:30pm.

For more information about Main Street Ministries, click here


Human Trafficking

Leigh Kohler, State of the City Speaker
Freedom Church Alliance

1. GoBox Movement – A great way to learn more about the anti-trafficking efforts here in Houston is to get involved in the GoBox Movement. The GoBox is an anti-trafficking toolkit designed to educate and empower you to take the next right steps in the fight against human trafficking. You will be provided with many onramps for engagement and find out what anti-trafficking efforts are going on in our city and how you can be a part. To learn more about the GoBox, click here and watch the video. You can pick up a GoBox in the Missions Office beginning Sunday, May 27. 

2. Support Anti-trafficking Events – Click here to subscribe to the Freedom Friday newsletter to receive updates on anti-trafficking events around the city. 


LGBT Community

Bill Henson, State of the City Speaker
Lead Them Home

1. Home Cooked Meals – Offer to make and deliver home cooked meals for the drop-in programs at Pink Giraffe or Tony's Place.

2. Specialized Hygiene Kits – Even though service providers offer a personal hygiene or snack pack for homeless LGBT+ youth, we as the church could put together a "better" pack – going beyond the cheap and adding the special. As an example, replace no-name deodorant with Axe Body Spray. These simple specialties can give kids a sense that they are highly esteemed. Include a Gap t-shirt, Under Armour socks or Body Glove underwear (and girl equivalents). If you have a heart to be involved with this effort, contact Colby Hamilton at colby.hamilton@hotmail.com.

3. Volunteer – Visit Covenant House off Montrose near Westheimer to see how church members could volunteer or make improvements. Most agencies offer drop-in programs but Covenant House actually offers beds and most nights provides bedding for up to 3 LGBT+ youth and up to 3 Q (Questioning) youth. For more information about Covenant House, see covenanthousetx.org. If you’d like to get involved, contact Colby Hamilton at colby.hamilton@hotmail.com.

For more information about Lead Them Home, click here.


Ministry Empowerment

Austin Hermann, State of the City Speaker
Project Flourish

1. Become a "Skills Coach" – A Skills Coach has experience in a particular field like accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, sales, real estate, healthcare, etc. As a Skills Coach, you will meet with entrepreneurs and lend your expertise, guidance, and coaching on their proposals. This is a critical role and we want as many unique skills and experiences involved as possible. Please read more and sign up by visiting projectflourish.org/volunteers.

2. Spread the Word – Share the Project Flourish website with your neighbors, co-workers, friends, and family. There is a digital flyer you can forward, download, print, and distribute available here.

 3. Submit an Idea – Perhaps God has moved in your heart to address an area of brokenness in our city or world. You can actually submit your own idea for a chance to receive the consulting and financial support you may need in order to make your idea a reality! To apply visit projectflourish.org and go to the “Apply” tab. 


State of Houston

Jim Herrington, State of the City Keynote Speaker

Jim Herrington identified four key issues facing our city: children and hunger, public education, re-entry of ex-offenders, and human trafficking. Several of our Saturday speakers addressed these issues and offered ways to engage. Here are other ministries Jim Herrington suggested as resources for engagement as well as for more information on issues raised during his presentation.

1. Project Curate – Center for Urban Reconciliation and Theological Education. Click here for more information.

2. Free the Captives – Free the Captives is a faith-based nonprofit fighting teenaged human trafficking in Houston. Click here for more information.

3. Children at Risk – Last year’s State of the City included presenter Bob Sanborn, Executive Director of Children at Risk. Children at Risk serves as a catalyst for change to improve the quality of life for children through strategic research, public policy analysis, education, collaboration and advocacy. Click here for more information.

4. Loving Houston – Loving Houston's mission is advancing community transformation by helping churches serve local schools. Loving Houston helped FPC in deepening our involvement with Cullen Middle School. Their goal is that EVERY school in Greater Houston would have a loving church partner working alongside them for the good of our kids and our communities. Click here for more information.

5. Jim Herrington's response to the question from an attendee at State of the City "how we can impact or change systemic racism": 

Develop a relationship with a person of color that becomes a real friendship and ask them how they experience racism. Listen to their stories with curiosity and empathy. And when the person shares the answers, listen - not from a place of agree or disagree but from the place of that person is the only expert on their experience.  

We also want to provide the following opportunities to engage and learn more about how to more effectively engage in ministry that impacts our community. 

1. CrossWalk Center – Ex-offenders who have served their time or are on parole face many hurdles when trying to begin a new life following prison. One of FPC’s new partners is CrossWalk Center. The goal of CrossWalk Center is to serve as the safe, centralized re-entry hub of social services and faith-based ministries for returning citizens and their families. By connecting regional service providers and faith-based ministries in our re-entry network, under one roof, in an undisbursed, more efficient and cohesive manner, CrossWalk Center is reducing confusion and inefficiencies in the re-entry process. For more information, click here. go to crosswalkcenter.org.

2. Attend the No Need Among You (NNAY) Conference – The Texas Christian Community Development Network is hosting the 2017 annual training conference, No Need Among You, here in Houston October 25-27, 2017 at Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church on MacGregor. TXCCDN’s mission is to connect, education, train and advocate for the poor and marginalized in Texas. Learn how to more effectively empower the poor and revitalize communities. Join hundreds of nonprofits, churches and urban leaders in Houston for this annual training conference. FPC is a sponsor of the conference, and we believe this is a significant opportunity to learn more and become more effective in responding to the needs here in Houston. To register, click here

3. FaithWalking – Faithwalking is a spiritual formation process where people are increasingly following the way of Jesus, experiencing ongoing transformation, and developing effective practices for missional living: serving the poor, the marginalized, and those in need; working for the common good; and restoring individuals, social systems, communities, and nations to God's intended design. Jim Herrington, founder of FaithWalking, mentioned this ministry during his talk. For more information, click here