Arrow Child and Family Ministries

By: Hope Middlebrook

There is always something exciting going on in the foster care world! And fall is especially busy. If you’ve been wanting to get plugged in, now is the time to hop in!

Arrow is a child-placement agency for foster kids. In McLennan County alone, there are around 800 children in the foster system. When there are not enough homes for them, they are referred to as a CWOP (child without placement) and are often housed in CPS conference rooms or hotel rooms. Here at Arrow, we believe the best place for a child to grow up is in a family. We work each day to make sure that every foster child is placed in a loving and healthy home, one where they can grow and heal!
Does this sound like something you might want to know more about? Join us for our next Orientation, this October 26th at 6 pm. This low commitment Zoom class will tell you everything you need to know about foster care and Arrow.

Need more information first? Arrow Child and Family is pleased to announce we will be partnering with Nightlight Christian Adoptions for a monthly book club. Our kickoff meetup is at 1 pm on October 23rd at Glory Bell Coffee. We will be discussing the first half of Foster the Family.

Additionally, Waco’s Families and Foster Care Coalition will be hosting a multi-agency informational meeting on November 2nd. We would love to see you there!

It’s a great time to learn more about foster care! Contact Hope Middlebrook at [email protected] to learn about how to get involved. Whether you want to be a foster parent or get more information on how to donate to the kids in our community, we can all do something!

Arrow Child and Family Ministries is a child-placement agency committed to finding quality, loving homes for foster children. They were established in 1993 and have been a leader in the field ever since.

Be sure to tune in to the “Act Locally Waco” podcast! In their latest episode, they delve into the state of foster care in the city of Waco, shedding light on crucial insights and discussing ways you can make a positive impact. For a full and informative interview on Waco’s foster care system, featuring Hope Middlebrook from Arrow Child & Family Ministries, check out the podcast here! It’s an excellent resource to learn more about this important community initiative.


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FCA announces rosters for Victory Bowl

The Heart of Texas Fellowship of Christian Athletes announced Feb. 5 the rosters for the annual Super Centex Victory Bowl football, volleyball, baseball, softball, and basketball games and cheer squad competition.

Participants in the at Highland Baptist Church press conference answered questions and took photos with the media. There were more than 500 game participants and parents present at the conference.

– Volleyball teams will be coached by four area coaches and will compete in Waco June 3. They will arrive in Waco May 31 for four days of practice and fellowship.

– Basketball teams will be coached by eight area coaches and will compete in China Spring June 1. The will arrive in China Spring on May 31, 2023.

– Football teams will be coached by 10 area coaches and will compete in Waco June 3. They will arrive in Waco May 31 for four days of practice and fellowship

– Cheer squads will be coached by two area coaches. They will arrive in Waco May 31 for four days of practice and fellowship

– Baseball and softball teams will be coached by 12 area coaches and will complete at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor June 2. They will arrive in Belton May 31 for three days of practice and fellowship.

Upcoming Victory Bowl events are:

April 23 – Ferrell Center, Keynote Speaker: Rocket Ismail

May 31 – 2nd Annual FCA Basketball Game (5 and 7 p.m. West High School)

May 31 – 8th Annual FCA Baseball and Softball Games (6:30 p.m. UMHB)

May 31 – 10th Annual FCA Victory Bowl Volleyball Game (2:30 p.m. University High), and

May 31 – 15th Annual FCA Victory Bowl Football Game (10 a.m. Waco ISD Stadium)

St. Jerome, H-E-B, Hello Bello pitch in for families

By Angela Daly

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and in the spirit of giving St. Jerome Catholic Church has teamed with H-E-B and Hello Bello for a free family-friendly Christmas giving event. The event, It’s All About a Baby, will be 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, at the church campus.

Photo by Tim Mossholder

Diapers, wipes, and sanitizer are among the giveaways to help families.

This inaugural event is open to the public and will feature photo opportunities with Santa, a surprise landing of the Airlift Waco chopper, festive treats, a bounce house, and complimentary supplies to celebrate the Christmas season at home.

Preparations for Christmas can be demanding for young families, so we wanted to bring them together for some family fun that is totally expense free.

Families are encouraged to attend the event for a day of entertainment along with giveaways of infant essentials – perhaps offering a little extra wiggle room in the family budget for treasures under the tree on Christmas Day.

Hello Bello has graciously contributed 350 packages of diapers, 1,000 packages of wipes and more than 1,000 bottles of hand sanitizer (‘tis the season for cold and flu)!

Texas grocery chain, H-E-B, is no stranger to philanthropy and generously donated $2,500, which the parish then used to purchase 350 more units of diapers and festive treats for attendees to enjoy at the event.

Giveaways will be available until supplies run out. St. Jerome Catholic Church is at 9820 Chapel Road, Woodway. For more information, visit or call 254-666-7722.

Angela Daly is director of preschool ministry at St. Jerome Catholic Church.

Waco Wonderland Parade sign-up open until Nov. 28

Join the 2022 Waco Wonderland Parade and help spread some holiday cheer!

The City of Waco announced that entries are now being accepted for the annual holiday parade, which returns to downtown Waco Saturday, Dec. 3. If you know a group or organization that would be interested in this opportunity, please let them know. There is no cost to participate.

Presented by the Family of Faith WC Waco, the parade begins at 10 a.m. and travels down Austin Avenue, from 11th Street to 3rd Street.

Registration forms are due by Monday, Nov. 28, and can be downloaded at

Waco area volunteers helping Dallas flood victims

By Ferrell Foster

Five China Spring and Waco residents left Sunday for a week of helping our neighbors to the north in Dallas. People are still unable to return to their flooded homes in Dallas, and the TBM: Texans on Mission volunteers are working to remove mud from those homes and clean them throughout the week.

Dave Toby (l-r), Al Smith, Renee Parker, Butch Abernathy, and Sam Yates

Sam Yates, Butch Abernathy, Renee Parker, Al Smith, and Dave Roby are among 25 TBM volunteers associated with Waco Regional Baptist Association, which is led by Director Tim Randolph, who saw the group off Sunday.

“We have been doing disaster relief for five years now,” said Yates, who leads the local volunteers. “Our unit has a Flood and Fire Recovery unit, a Chainsaw unit, a Box unit, and two equipment units that include a skid steer loader and a 50ft manlift. We started out hauling our tools and volunteers in a Suburban for Hurricane Harvey. We were blessed to be able to get all we have now.”

In Dallas, the group will “clean out flooded homes removing flooring, drywall and insulation. Then we powerwash and treat the interior for black mold,” Yates said.

I’m sure the group will appreciate our thoughts and prayers this week.

Ferrell Foster is directing communications for Act Locally Waco. He is president of Kortabocker LLC: Communications Built on Caring. Ferrell also does communications work with TBM and Prosper Waco.

Mosaic Waco serves community by partnering with the community

Editor: Act Locally Waco is sharing a series of blog posts — Faith Doing Good — about local religious groups working in the community. These pieces were written by Baylor University students from the Department of Journalism, Public Relations, and New Media.

By Sarah Skelton

Mosaic Waco has led by example that doing good in a community doesn’t mean changing everything about the community. 

The multicultural Christian church in East Waco opened its doors for the first time two years ago and immediately started partnering with existing programs such as Restoration Haven and the local elementary schools.

Pastor Slim Thompson and family

“It’s not charity, it’s justice,” said Pastor Slim Thompson. “The Bible talks about justice all over. And so what we’re doing is actually what is right by people.

“It’s not right for people to live in poverty. It’s not right for people to have to wonder where their meals are going to come from. And it’s on us as Christians to go like, ‘That’s my brother, that’s my sister. I’m not OK with that.’ Just like if it was your literal brother or sister. I’ll do whatever I can to help them out. We just have to see our connection is much deeper than just actual family.”

Aside from the Bible, Thompson has centered the church on the philosophies of John Perkins and Jemar Tisby. They are both civil rights activists who want to see an end to racism.

“[Perkins] talks about when you move into a new community, you don’t really want to ask what can we do to fix it or change it. Instead, let’s ask what is it doing well and let’s serve them and let’s join in on that,” Thompson said.

Mosaic Waco’s congregation recognized the school systems and nonprofits such as Restoration Haven were already serving the community. Following Perkins’ idea the church started working with these organizations. 

Before the pandemic, church members would volunteer in surrounding elementary schools by leading after-school clubs and reading with students. COVID-19 unrooted this idea in the spring and caused the schools and church to be more proactive.

“When kids go home for a week — like they have often — I’d say most kids get excited there’s no school for a week. Well, when you’re dependent on breakfast, lunch and dinner that also means you have no food for a week,” Thompson said. 

To overcome this problem, the church worked with the school to pack students’ backpacks with bread, peanut butter, and jelly. Now the students can still eat when they are off of school for a week.

The founder and president of Restoration Haven, is an active Mosaic Waco church member. The nonprofit and church partnered together to provide necessities such as toiletries to East Waco families.

Many of the items Restoration Haven provides go to residents in Estella Maxey Place. Mosaic Waco is passionate about helping the families in this apartment complex. Once or twice a month, church volunteers invite children living in the apartments to play games and attend a Bible lesson.

The church welcomes everyone and especially residents of East Waco to join them every Sunday at 10 a.m. The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, but Mosaic Waco created a successful method to gather while obeying social distancing rules with their drive-in service.

“People can stay in their cars and listen through a radio and it just gives people who may not feel comfortable worshipping in person a place to go,” Thompson said. “Because it’s hard to sing out loud when you’re watching a TV.”

Sarah Skelton is majoring in Journalism on the public relations track at Baylor University.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

First Waco Methodist stresses service in the community

Editor: Act Locally Waco is sharing a series of blog posts — Faith Doing Good — about local religious groups working in the community. These pieces were written by Baylor University students from the Department of Journalism, Public Relations, and New Media.

By Courtney Lefebvre

There are more than 200 churches in the Waco area, most of which are involved in local outreach and missions programs. First Waco Methodist Church, led by Rev. Ryan Barnett, leads his congregation in both local and international outreach programs, with a specific focus on the Waco community. 

First Methodist focuses on spreading the gospel to the community through its involvement with food pantries, Waco ISD, and other avenues.

Rev. Ryan Barnett

“From the church’s perspective, doing good is doing the work of Christ, which is bringing food to the hungry, clothing to the naked, shelter to the homeless, and bringing good news to people who are perishing, who don’t know that they are loved,” Barnett said. First Methodist seeks to show people that they are beloved and that there is grace and forgiveness.

Serving is a large aspect of being an active church member, and Barnett said he considers the church’s identity and what they believe as a reason why it is important for his members to serve. He discussed how their beliefs reflected the reasoning for their emphasis on these outreach programs. 

First Methodist, formed in 1850, is the oldest church in Waco and refers to itself as First Waco. “And we really feel like God has called us from our inception to be a part of the community, to be in the community, to be partners with others in the community for helping to make Waco a great place for everyone to live,” Barnett said. 

Members of First Methodist are proud of their food security efforts. They partner with Shepherd’s Heart, Caritas of Waco, Meals on Wheels, and also have their own food pantry at their south campus. Members are also involved in volunteer programs that are not run through the church.

“I did a survey of our church one time, to tell us where they’re engaged locally, and it was like 113 organizations that they represented in their service, which is extraordinary,” Barnett said. 

He explained how the church is on mission in the community in hopes to support both spiritually and tangibly those around them. While the church body strives to provide physical needs for those that need it, they are also advocating for their faith, and delivering the message of good news to the people of Waco and beyond.

“For us, our advocacy with our people is to represent Christ in the church and in the community whether they’re doing that explicitly or simply because of what’s in their heart,” Barnett said. “God has called us to serve our neighbor, to be good news, both in spiritual form and in tactile form.”

Barnett encourages members of the congregation to become involved in areas they have personal interest in and said there is a place and opportunity for everyone in serving. He said that it’s a matter of “finding your gifts and talents and applying them where you’re passionate,” when considering the idea of participating in outreach.

For those considering becoming involved as a volunteer in local missions, Rev. Barnett believes one must pray about where they’re being called and root their actions in doing good on behalf of the kingdom. 

“Doing good for us is meeting the whole needs of the whole person in the name of Jesus Christ,” Barnett said. 

Courtney Lefebvre is a Baylor journalism student.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

La Puerta helps Spanish-speaking Wacoans access needed resources

Editor: Act Locally Waco is sharing a series of blog posts — Faith Doing Good — about local religious groups working in the community. These pieces were written by Baylor University students from the Department of Journalism, Public Relations, and New Media.

By Briana Garcia

The Spanish-language congregation of First Baptist Waco, led by Associate Pastor Israel Loachamin, has created a program called La Puerta to help the Spanish-speaking community have access to resources in Waco. 

La Puerta, meaning “the door” in Spanish, uses social, legal, educational, mental, and medical services for the Waco Hispanic community to connect with others. 

Israel Loachamin

“Our mission is to be under the umbrella of ministry of accompaniment in the practice of hospitality,” Loachamin said. “This is why we opened La Puerta.” 

Since 2017, La Puerta has focused on three key approaches, Loachamin said. These are educating, advocating, and accompanying. Through these three, the Hispanic community can learn to speak English and to overcome barriers in the community. 

“We have a space, and we create a space for people to come and bring their friends and feel comfortable,” Loachamin said. “Everyone is welcome to our ministry.” 

The program especially helps the immigrant community, Loachamin said. La Puerta has resources to help the community in times of trouble and worry by connecting people with legal services. 

As an immigrant, it is hard to trust reliable legal resources, Loachamin said. But First Baptist tries to find dependable attorneys in Waco to guide the immigrant community and help them feel comfortable in their surroundings. 

In 2018, La Puerta created an Immigrant Task Force. It meets two to three times a year, and anyone from Waco or Central Texas can join and talk about how they can support one another. They also go to health fairs with agencies to help build relationships. 

“We made a friendship with the attorneys,” Loachamin said. “We like to expand the service to the community.” 

Loachamin said some people in his congregation and in the community are struggling. “We provide classes in the Spanish program for people to talk about their fears and to have an idea that they have a group to speak about their problems with one another,” Loachamin said. 

La Puerta also provides resources such as clothing, food, education, and medical services. 

It is important for the Hispanic and immigrant community to feel like they have all the resources they need to feel welcomed and loved by the First Baptist community, Loachamin said. 

When groups of immigrants come to the United States, they do not know the English language or have many friends, but they have skills, Loachamin said. La Puerta has created groups such as a sewing class where they can develop additional skills and develop friendships. 

“Another group that we have created makes organic soaps,” Loachamin said. “A group of eight women have been doing well for two years and are selling their product and in the process of opening their own shop.” 

Faith is a big component when it comes to the Spanish service and La Puerta, Loachamin said. Teaching others in the community and expanding their knowledge about faith is what Loachamin and other pastors at First Baptist Waco strive to accomplish. 

“I know that faith at First Baptist is not just to be practicing in myself,” Loachamin said. “It is the living process and how I want to show my faith.” 

Briana Garcia is a Baylor student-athlete and journalism major with a concentration in news-editorial major and minor in corporate communications.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

St. Alban’s has served Waco for 75 years

Editor: Act Locally Waco is sharing a series of blog posts — Faith Doing Good — about local religious groups working in the community. These pieces were written by Baylor University students from the Department of Journalism, Public Relations, and New Media.

By Bella Vinson

St. Alban’s Episcopal Church started as a church plant in 1946 in Waco. Since the church opened its doors, the members have been able to develop decades-long partnerships with organizations in Waco, sharing a common humanity with others in the community. 

Rev. Aaron Zimmerman

Rev. Aaron Zimmerman is the rector of St. Alban’s, serving the church for eight years. 

When Zimmerman went to college he got involved in campus ministry. He enjoyed it, he said, but was still unsure if it was something he ultimately wanted to pursue. 

“For two years after graduation, I went to Central Asia to teach English with a Christian organization,” Zimmerman said. “Part of it being I wanted to contribute in a meaningful way, but also part of it I wanted to test whether ministry was something I wanted to do.” 

Zimmerman said he loved it, which ultimately led him to decide that he wanted to serve others in a path of ministry. 

“I wanted to give my life in some way that could help other people as they are asking those questions. Not to say I have all the answers, but I know someone who does,” Zimmerman said. “So my ministry is mostly just to point to him.” 

St. Alban’s partners with a number of public and private schools throughout the Waco area. The church has a long history of connections within the education community in Waco, as many of the members are teachers. They have been working with Cedar Ridge Elementary for over 10 years. 

“We have done everything from people going to read to students there and tutoring them,” Zimmerman said. “The thing we do the most is providing meals when they have big open houses, meet the teacher nights, things they want to get a lot of the families to. We make dinner here at the church and take it to the school and serve it there.” 

St. Alban’s also does work with reVision, sending mentors for incarcerated teenagers in the Mart facility. They also partner with Mission Waco. Members lead monthly devotionals at their homeless shelter, and collect toys for them during Christmas time. 

Although it is not an expressed ministry of the church, St. Alban’s partners with Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step groups by providing a space for them to meet in the church’s Community Outreach Center. 

“That is a place where lives get transformed and healed,” Zimmerman said. “We have had groups here four to five nights a week, sometimes around 70 to 80 people. Just a really strong community of folks on the path to hopefully find recovery.” 

The church’s community outreach continues, even during times of crisis. During the winter storm that hit Waco in February, the church opened as a warming center for those who were affected and in need. They had over 50 volunteers assist that entire week by cooking meals and spending time with the people who came in. 

“It was really meaningful to see our members build relationships with those people who were here, some still ongoing, and recognize our shared common humanity,” Zimmerman said. 

St. Alban’s main mission is to share time and resources to serve the physical and spiritual needs of individuals and communities. Zimmerman reflected on the values of the church’s mission being displayed by members work in the community. 

“One of the most rewarding things for me is when people realize the humanity of those they are helping,” Zimmerman said. “It’s not someone down here, some sort of nameless face, giving handouts. We are both fellow humans, we stand at the same level, although we’ve had different experiences.” 

Bella Vinson is a Baylor sophomore from Waco. 

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

First Presbyterian seeks to know itself & its community

Editor: Act Locally Waco is sharing a series of blog posts — Faith Doing Good — about local religious groups working in the community. These pieces were written by Baylor University students from the Department of Journalism, Public Relations, and New Media.

By Ashley Kim

The Rev. Dr. Leslie King, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, explains how the church and the congregation is “doing good” in the city of Waco, which involves building relationships between the church and everything surrounding it.

“I think one of the things that we do is we really try to know ourselves,” King said. “First Presbyterian Church tries to honor all the churches that we’re in relationship with, but we try to be uniquely who we are. And one of the things that we’re pretty good at is inclusion and just sort of a radical hospitality.”

Rev. Dr. Leslie King

According to the First Presbyterian Church website, their mission is to believe deeply that people of faith are called to serve the wider community and neighbors, and they engage in this in several ways. Each Sunday, they begin worship by saying, “Welcome home, children of God.” They hope to live more fully into all that this simple but profound sentence means and calls them to do.

King believes part of “doing good” consists of being a person or a church that gives and receives. The church is also partnered with different entities, agencies, and projects that are around; entities like Caritas, The Cove, Compassion Ministries, and World Hunger Relief.

“I think the verb ‘doing’ would really have us emphasize sort of an old paradigm of mission, which is where we go out and do something for someone else that makes their lives better,” King said. “But of course, the emerging understanding is really, how is the church in relationship with the world around us. Do we know names and do people know our names and are we just being together? And I think that has a lot to do with the common good.”

First Presbyterian members decided to do worship this year in person and were intentional about an online platform that allowed for people to interact. While videoing services would have provided a more professional or polished look, they believed that one of the big components of worship is that people get to see and interact with each other. 

“The first thing you have to do is really know yourself and to say this is who we are, and this is what we’re offering,” King said. “The Presbyterian faith also really values questions, and so we’re less concerned about telling people what to think and more interested in learning what people are wondering about. And helping people to do what people do really well, which is to, in the presence of God, make meaning in their life. And I think we do a decent job of that.”

First Presbyterian is involved in actively creating opportunities for the community and the congregation. Whether it be raising money for rent assistance for those impacted by COVID-19, providing outlets for mental health, distributing meals, partnering with organizations, or making their worship style more inclusive, First Presbyterian has done a lot for their community.

“When we do something for ourselves, we’re kind of thinking how we can also be doing something for the community at the same time,” King said.

Ashley Kim, a sophomore Baylor student from Houston, is majoring in marketing with a minor in advertising.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].