It is impossible to count the number of times the expression is repeated “big church and small church.” These are descriptive adjectives that are man-made and are not found in the Bible, Old or New Testament.
I am repeatedly asked, “How do you make a determination what you will write week to week?” My response generally is that people just say, “Hop, why don’t you write about a certain subject?” and I file it away.
Last Sunday, our church New Destiny, was extended an invitation to attend Christ Temple Apostolic Church located on Mt. Vernon Street in Homewood. The program revolved around a young 17-year-old male who preached his first sermon and he did well. After the program was concluded I had the opportunity to speak with the minister, Elder Robinson and a statement he made that I was in complete accord with was too many of today’s churches have lost focus and need to be born again by coming to terms with the fact that their primary functions are to save souls—yes bringing converts to the Savior. That statement became the basis for this week’s column.
It is my absolute conviction that the church must assume and act out the rebirth of our communities. There exists more than 300 Black churches across Allegheny County and our neighbors are overwhelmingly in disarray, with an all-time high of negative acts, failing schools, record unemployment, staggering numbers of single-parent homes, no Black-owned banks and two Black-owned radio stations. At another period of time everything positive emanated out of the church including the Civil Rights Movement. It was the church that instilled responsibility in us, self-respect, love of self and others, importance of family, sharing and giving back. The churches, mosques, and synagogues must cease allowing denominations to prevent them from doing God’s work and come together collectively to address the multitude of problems we are confronted with.
Some years ago, 35 churches—27 Black and eight White—came together to do joint banking. All monies would be deposited in the same bank, and thereby increase our potential borrowing capacity, but it fell apart. It still is an excellent idea. As untold sums of money are invested in our communities collectively, the churches, which are the most independent organizations in our communities, can mandate that their members, neighbors and the general community have a meaningful share in every aspect.
Churches should mandate their members attend Pittsburgh and Allegheny Council meetings in record numbers regularly and speak. The same should apply to Pittsburgh Public School Board meetings. There are an unbelievable number of church members who are retired and need something positive to participate in. The churches should have political workshops not just telling people to vote, but helping them understand who they are voting for and why. The church has the potential by educating the voters to the revolutionary extent that the political parties, labor parties or any outsiders will no longer be able to convince us to accept their candidate, because now we are politically sophisticated enough to field our own candidate.
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(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)