Dating and Dining in December

All of this year's ROPP candidates are high school students. No doubt, interest in dating and developing intimate relationships is beginning to increase. We believe that God ordains intimate relationships, but we also believe that he would desire them to be part of a positive part of socialization that ultimately benefits the WHOLE community. So, we include a dating and dining workshop that covers the basics of requesting the company of someone and proper etiquette while dining out. Sis. Mary Margaret Lindsey has been the perfect resource for the last three years, striking just the right tone with the youth and their escorts and teaching lessons that they are sure to remember for years to come!

And then, the evening they all waited for: ROPP Nite Out! The candidates and their escorts arrived at the church dressed in their evening attire and discovered a wonderful surprise: a LIMO!

Moms were there to take lots of pictures!

And off to Z Tejas, Avery Ranch for evening of great food and great conversation!

Everyone left room for dessert!

When it was time to leave, there were still big smiles and warm hearts.

A Day at DurstCrew- November Core Focus

The ROPP November Core Focus Day was a full more ways than one! The day started with an all-you-can-eat breakfast at Applebee's. A wonderful treat by Bro. Dr. Eric offered in support of his fraternity's fundraiser. Pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit and orange juice!!! We got the day started off right!
After Applebee's, we headed over to the office of Metropolitan member, Michael Pratt, CEO of Durstcrew, LLC. There, the candidates were introduced to the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. They learned what an "entrepreneur" is, discussed some famous business men and women and learned details about how Bro. Pratt's business works. They took an especially close look at the protective cases for cell phones and other technological devices, a product he promotes both in the US and abroad for Tech 21. He demonstrated how the make up of the main substance used in the cases responds to impact differently than other materials. He even showed how it could be wrapped around his hand in liquid form and hit forcefully without cause any pain!
After learning about the product itself, ROPP candidates learned about the business process from when the idea is first conceived through actual delivery to the stores. Bro. Pratt shared how his spiritual growth was connected to the growth of his company. He encouraged each of the candidates to remember that they can achieve whatever they are willing to work (and BELIEVE GOD) for. After a filling lunch from Bro. Pratt's favorite taco spots, the candidates got to look around the office space and even took turns sitting in the CEO's chair!
The bible verse of the day was Philippians 4:6-9: 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

"Show me the Money!"- October Core Focus

This month was all about the MONEY!! Mr. DeQuincy Adamson, presented a budgeting workshop that helped the candidates spend some time thinking about the difference between wants and needs.

They learned the difference between a cash purchase and financing a large item, such as a car or home.
He provided a hypothetical business budget and the candidates saw clearly how even when businesses make money from a product or service, a lot of it goes to pay for expenses.

Before the finance lesson, Bro. Rowland shared the day's bible verse: Luke 1:79.
"Because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace."

When ROPP Candidate Zuri reflected on the scripture, she said, "I think it means that when ever you're in a bad situation or ANYTHING, you can go to God, and he will shine his light on you. You can always go to God to be lead to the right direction. And I think God works in mysterious ways, and sometimes he shines his light through people, like people who help the homeless or maybe even your best friend , and she sits down and prays for you. I think that's some ways he shines his light."
A lively discussion took place about how God's light shows up in our lives. It was a pleasure to have Sis. Ardtria and Senior Partner Jeff Taylor on hand to share words of wisdom with the candidates.

 ROPP Candidate Tiffany said," learned a lot about financial things and how to manage your money the correct way. When you are dealing with money, it is important to use on the things you need before you use it on the things you want. It is important to save as early and as often as you can. Also, make sure your money is organized and stick to a monthly budget. Basically just keep up with all of your stuff and the things you do and you will be fine." Sounds like lessons people of every age need to take to heart!

Bro. Terrence stopped by with homemade hearty hoagies for lunch, complete with chips, condiments, pickles and onions! We appreciate the love, Bro. Terrence!

As always, fellowship and getting to know each other is a chief part of the ROPP experience. The sun porch on the Metropolitan Administration building provided the perfect atmosphere for food, fun and fellowship!
We even noticed that the ROPP Candidates have very similar taste in shoes! This was not planned:

After lunch ROPP Candidates were given an optional finance-related puzzle challenge and all four completed it before they left!

Another great day to ROPP and Roll...

What We Believe- September Core Focus Meeting

The Core Focus meeting for September was Our Religious Belief. The day began with the customary bible study led by Brother Rowland. His lesson was taken from Jeremiah 1: 4-10, 17. He encouraged the candidates to know that even in their youth they are expected to allow God to use them. The memory verse for September was Jeremiah 1:17. T

 ROPP Candidates began their world religion exploration by visiting the Friends of Austin Meeting place. The first difference that stood out about the sanctuary is that there was no altar nor a pulpit. That's because Quakers do not have pastors. Their worship service consists of sitting in communal silence and allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal whatever God has to say to each one present. If so moved, any member of the meeting may share what the Holy Spirit reveals, but often times, worship service is a whole hour of silence. The ROPP candidates got to experience "going into" silence and "entering worship" in silence with several members of the Meeting. A brief history of the Quaker movement was shared, including the important role Quakers played in getting slavery abolished. It was noted that both the Quaker movement and the AME Church were founded in Pennsylvania! Although Quakers do not claim to have a specific doctrine or creed, they have "testimonies" they are committed to: Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community and Equality. The ROPP candidates really enjoyed learning about the Quaker way of life and seemed to enjoy their time in silent worship. We all agreed that we most of us do not spend enough time listening for and to God. The members of the meeting were very touched by our interest in their ministry.
After we left the Friends of Austin, we had our classroom session at the Carver Museum. There, candidates assembled personal copies of the Apostle's Creed that were made into puzzles. Congratulations to Candidate Tiffany for reciting the most of the creed from memory. All four candidates agreed they had work to do to get the whole creed memorized. Unlike the Quakers, the AME has a lot of structure and a very specific doctrine that guides our worship and operation as a connectional denomination. The version of the Apostle's Creed we usually recite at our church is:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried The third day he rose again from the dead He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit; The Church Universal; The Communion of Saints; The Forgiveness of sins; The Resurrection of the body, and the Life everlasting. Amen.
The last thing we did for Core Focus day was take a refresher on letter writing. We reviewed the appropriate way to address an envelope and each candidate chose a former ROPP guest speaker to send a thank you card to. All in all it was a full, interesting day! To God be the Glory for the things that He does!

It's All Academic- August Core Focus

Setting goals, establishing good study habits and surrounding yourself with positive people are keys to academic success. This was the message ROPP candidates heard over and over through different messengers during this month's core focus on Academics!

We started the day on the UT Austin campus. We met at the Littlefield Fountain that Sis. Lisa explained she lived very close to as a student during her college years.

The day started with our traditional bible lesson taught by Bro. Rowland. He shared the familiar story of David and Goliath found in 1 Samuel 17, to remind ROPP candidates that when faced with life's challenges, faith in God is the best weapon!

Bro. Dr. Eric and one of his Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brothers shared a powerful presentation on the importance of higher education. Candidates shared their future aspirations (Zuri: beauty salon owner, Tiffany: teacher/ professional cheerleader, Sterlin: basketball player, Leander: undecided) and talked about the decisions they'll need to make now to make them come true.

Lady Longhorn Imani McGee-Stafford shared what life was like as a student athlete. She explained that her secrets to success are not following the crowd and making time for both her studies and time with her friends. She shared that scholarships are important, as they made college possible for herself and several other family members.

The morning wrapped up with a presentation by Allie Capes of UT Outreach. She described how the program partners with high school students in the Austin Metro area to prepare them for college. She shared a valuable timeline of what students can do starting in freshman year to make them eligible for scholarships and prepared for the challenges of college life.

We toured the campus and visited the statues that honor prominent African-Americans: Barbara Jordan and Martin Luther King, Jr.


Then, on to the home of the Mighty Rams, Huston-Tillotson University!

Here, current HTU students took the ROPP candidates on a tour of the campus, including an exclusive peek into the men and women's dorms. Warm words of encouragement and support were shared with the candidates and every student seemed extremely proud to be an HT Ram!

Eat Well and Support ROPP this Sunday!

***UPDATE*** The Hot Potato Sale was a success! Every single potato was sold (or eaten by the ROPP-ites) and we had a great time in the Lord during the sale. With Sis. Ardtria's added hands in the mix, we look forward to even more great days like this! Thanks to all of the ROPP family and friends who came out and purchased potatoes. The orders came in fast and furious, and the kitchen crew was ready to handle them! We can do ALL things through Christ!


The 2013-2014 Rites of Passage Program Candidates!!!

The invitations have been extended and accepted and the 2013-2014 ROPP candidates are established.
This year's candidates will experience a wide range of activities and relationships that will enhance their personal development and position them to succeed at whatever goals they establish for themselves.

Here they are:

Leander Brieon Thompson
Leander is a sophomore at McCallum High School where he is a student volunteer and a member of the McCallum Knights track team.  He is a member of the South Austin Neighborhood Center and enjoys listening to music, taking walks and hanging out with his friends in his spare time.
At Metropolitan, Leander is an active member of YPD and was recognized as an Outstanding Student in the 2013 Confirmation Class. Leander is the grandson of Juanita Maxfield.

Leander said:
"I feel that ROPP will be a good experience for me because I heard it's the transition into young adulthood. This will help me grow physically and mentally. This will also teach me different skills that I can use in the real world. I'm just excited about the things we are about to learn and the challenges we are about to take on. I feel confident about the ROPP requirements. I know I will be able to meet them for the most part. Of course, things happen, but hopefully everything goes well. I'm looking forward to working with everyone this year."

Tiffany Mariah Henderson
Tiffany is the daughter of Gerald and Mary Henderson and the granddaughter of the late Gerald Henderson and Carrie Henderson. Tiffany has served as Metropolitan YPD Financial Secretary, is a praise dancer and was a member of the 2013 Confirmation class. She is a sophomore at Smithville High School. She is a Smithville cheerleader and tennis player and is also a member of the Smooth Moves dance company in Smithville. Tiffany has been a Girl Scout for years and volunteers with the Family Crisis Center.When she is not busy doing any of these things, Tiffany enjoys hanging out with her friends and family. 
Just FYI: Tiffany enjoys cooking and helping others. She HATES spiders!

Tiffany said:
"I think ROPP would be a good experience for me. The lessons that we will be learning and going over this year can help me and strengthen me in many ways. I'm very excited to learn new things and experience things that I normally don't do or see.
The requirements will be taken very seriously because it is important that I get everything out of ROPP as I can. We are going to be the example for next year ROPP candidates, so we need to  know our stuff at all times just in case somebody needs an update. :0)
I believe ROPP will help me in my spiritual and everyday life."

Sterlin Rivers
Sterlin is the son of Monic Atkinson and the grandson of Patricia Atkinson. Sterlin is a freshman at Elgin High School where he is an all around athlete, playing on the basketball and football teams and running on the track team.  Outside of school, Sterlin is a member of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), playing with the Capital City Ballers. Staying physically active is one of Sterlin's favorite things to do. When he has time, he goes to the local rec center and takes energizing walks in his neighborhood.

Sterlin said:
"I think that the ROPP program will be a good experience for me to connect with Father God and learn different aspects of life. I think that ROPP will be fun and interesting. To be honest, I feel that the ROPP requirements come with responsibility and being flexible with my planning will help me fulfill the requirements as a ROPP participant."

Zuri Anaya Davis
Zuri is the daughter of Malachi Davis and Lisa Grant Davis and the granddaughter of Rev. Hector Grant and Ms. Hertha Black Grant. Zuri is a 9th grader at Harmony Science Academy- North Austin where she is regularly recognized for her strong character and positive attitude. Zuri has been a member of the HSA-NA track and basketball teams and plans to include cross country in the coming year. Zuri is active in the youth ministry at Metropolitan, serving as a youth leader of the Praise Dance ministry, Secretary for the YPD, and shed recently graduated from the 2013 Confirmation Class.

Zuri said:
"I think ROPP will teach me how to be a better leader. I think is better to lead than to follow. I think it will also give me a lot of experiences with different things. I also hope it will help me mature." I think that meeting the requirements will be a little challenging, but I am willing to take it. I feel if I do, I will become a more responsible and mature young lady. I think ROPP will push me to more involved in things and find ways to be more helpful."