Black Church Leaders in New York Address Anti-Poverty Efforts

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Black Church Leaders in New York Address Anti-Poverty Efforts
Black Church Leaders in New York Address Anti-Poverty Efforts

Monday, May 4, 2015 black churches in Rochester, New York called for stronger efforts to dismantle racial and economic inequalities. They are saying that there is a lack of anti-poverty programs in place and that the existing ones are not remedying the problem. In fact, they are saying that the lack of employment opportunities and the extreme poverty is the partial cause of the riots.

The Indiana Association of United Ways conducted a study that tabulates the number of people that are above the poverty line yet are below sustainability. This group is known by the acronym ALICE(Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed).
The Indiana Association of United Ways conducted a study that tabulates the number of people that are above the poverty line yet are below sustainability. This group is known by the acronym ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed).

In a recent article on gtremainmerrell.com, the pastor of First Missionary Baptist Church of Biloxi, the Reverend Eric Dickey, explained, “When a person comes up to me and say ‘I need a job.’ and I say, ‘Come on, let’s go pray about it.’ Well, that doesn’t get us very far.” He and his church have been actively involved in community development and anti-poverty programs since the church’s conception and he says that the church has to be a part of an individual. Efrem Smith, president, and Chief Executive Officer of World Impact, an urban missions organization, echoed this sentiment just this past Friday.

We need to be in community long enough to digest one another’s hopes, dreams, pains, fears, & stories. @efremsmith #TrulyHuman

— Julius Buzzard (@juliusbuzzard) May 8, 2015

Galen Carey tweeted a post promoting Matthew Loftus’ blog post on the rebuilding of Baltimore. Loftus, a resident of Baltimore said, “We have to understand that part of what makes change so hard for so many people who are trapped in systemic and personal destruction is the scarcity of communities that are necessary for moral formation.” He went on to name the church as one of many vital intermediaries needed for that formation. For decades, the black church stood on the front lines of civil rights and social injustice and even today, many in the black community look to the black church to right the many wrongs they experience.

Thoughtful piece by @matthew_loftus on role of intermediary institutions & people in rebuilding Baltimore http://t.co/Ak5WOBsAMO @iamccda

— Galen Carey (@GalenCarey) May 9, 2015

Bishop Willie F. Davis Jr. and the Reverend Lewis W. Stewart both have been involved in efforts to root the problem up. Bishop Davis, an administrator for the Faith Community Alliance of Greater Rochester, also presides as the pastor of the Cathedral of Hope Community Church in Rochester, while Reverend Stewart presides as president of United Christian Leadership Ministry of Western New York. Both men hold influence in their respective communities and are very vocal about the anti-poverty programs.

This moment in history will no doubt be a pivotal point in history for the modern-day black church. Many say that the church is no longer relevant and that pastors are greedy. However, for those who still believe that the black church still serves a purpose in the black community, this serves as an opportunity to prove their many critics wrong.