April 13, 2016
Symposium: a conference or meeting to discuss a particular subject . . .

Last Saturday's Panhandle Literacy Symposium was a far cry from Plato's 4th century BC Symposium which explored various aspects of love in a series of speeches by men attending an evening gathering.

For one thing, this event took place in Amarillo, not Athens. And the subject was literacy, not love. Funded by a grant from the Texas Workforce Commission through Literacy Texas, it featured 12 hour-long workshops for volunteer teachers of ESL (English for Speakers of other Languages) and literacy programs.

A committee of more than a dozen local literacy program/ministry leaders began planning in October with Literacy Connexus. Unlike the other six regional symposiums (South Texas, East Texas, Gulf Coast, North Texas, West Texas, and Central Texas), this one was intentionally designed for a faith-based constituency.
Funding for all of the symposiums falls under the heading of Volunteer Training Initiative--a recognition by adult education leaders of the importance of volunteers in reaching Texas' four million adults who lack a high school diploma.

The symposium was held at Paramount Baptist Church, which has hosted its LEAF (Learning English Among Friends) program for 20 years. LEAF director Ann Clark and her husband Nolan received the Champions of Literacy Award from Literacy Texas. Executive Director Jennifer Edwards presented the award to the Clarks in recognition of the program's history and scope of service. LEAF currently serves 300 adults from 26 countries.

Ann Clark 
The symposium served up topics relating to ESL teaching techniques, teaching reading to refugees, world religions with a focus on reaching out to Muslim people, immigration reform, using the Bible in ESL and literacy instruction, and much more.
During the conference, participants related special experiences they have had with their students--like hearing descriptions of coming to the U.S. after long years in refugee camps, being included in celebrations such as weddings and birthdays and even life crises, seeing smiles on faces when they understand new words, and seeing them become citizens after escaping war and violence.

Over and over, stories conveyed the theme of joy in relationships formed and the honor of helping people meet needs and improve lives.

Plato's Symposium may have talked a lot about the concept of love, but the Panhandle Literacy Symposium showed what love looks like in the context of language and literacy missions ministry.

CBF Texas has provided a generous grant of $2,000 to purchase Bibles and other books to distribute in family reading fairs this summer. (See Books for the Border and Beyond.)

How can your church access this resource? Contact us at to find out about matching grants of up to $250/project. Don't wait! Grants will be extended on a first come, first served basis.
Serving the Strangers Among Us . . .

The Immigration Service and Aid Center (ISAAC) is offering an invaluable opportunity for ministers, churches, nonprofits and religious organizations seeking to serve their immigrant communities.

Click here for more information about the Summer Institute on Basic Immigration Law to be held June 13-17 in San Antonio.

Don't delay--the early registration discount is good through this Friday.

High School Equivalency . . .

Two steps forward, one step back for adults seeking high school equivalency.  The State Board of Education voted last fall to allow Educational Testing Services and McGraw Hill to submit proposals for alternatives to the GED test. Last week TEA indicated to the Board that expanding their system to include the additional test will end up costing up to $200,000 per year.

Read more about this issue in the Texas Tribune.
Lester Meriwether, Executive Director 
Offices at Henderson Hall - Agape Baptist Church
3954 Southwest Blvd., Fort Worth, TX  76116
Mailing/shipping address:
3020 S. Cherry Lane, #123168
Fort Worth, TX  76121
Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter
Pam Moore, Editor     
Donate Now
Trivia Challenge
1. In French-speaking locations, les heures d'affluence refers to:

a) rush hour

b) 15 minutes of fame

c) TV prime time

d) Sunday morning church

2. The 14th century English word fewmet derives from an Anglo-Norman French variant of Old French fumées. It refers to:

a) animal droppings

b) royalty

c) head cheese

d) perfume

3. Norwegian omelette is another name for:

a) apple strudel

b) Boston cream pie

c) funnel cake

d) Baked Alaska

Problem accessing  the answers? Reply to this email and we'll shoot them your way.  
These instructional links may help: