Follow-up to the Schrag Lectures for 2012:
“What the Bible Says about the Hungry and the Poor:
A Mandate for Pulpit and Pew”
The Sider Institute continues to follow up on the major conference it hosted on March 20-21, 2012 on the theme, “What the Bible Says about the Hungry and the Poor: A Mandate for Pulpit and Pew.” That conference featured three sterling speakers: the Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Senior Minister Emeritus at the Riverside Church, New York City, as the keynote speaker; Roger Thurow, Senior Fellow for Global Agriculture and Food Policy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; and Larry James, CEO of CitySquare, a vibrant inner-city mission in Dallas, Texas.
Purpose of the Project
Through that conference, the Sider Institute sought to encourage Christians throughout the greater Harrisburg, Pennsylvania region to join hearts and hands across geographical (the Susquehanna River) and racial divides to serve and support the poor, especially the children who live in poverty in the city of Harrisburg, with renewed commitment and a fresh and creative vision.
To help encourage those relationships, the Institute has helped facilitate inter-racial and interdenominational pulpit exchanges, on the one hand, and inter-racial and interdenominational breakfast meeting for area pastors, on the other. All these initiatives have been aimed at one objective—building relationships across racial and denominational divides for the sake of the hungry and the poor.
Harrisburg Schools—and the Children in Those Schools—Need Help from Area Churches!
No one is more vulnerable in the Harrisburg area than the children in the Harrisburg School District. Many of those children live in poverty without adequate housing, clothing, or food, and now—to add insult to injury—severe cuts to the District’s budget inevitably mean drastic cuts to the quality of education these children will receive.
In light of that cauldron of budgetary cuts and desperate need, area churches can make an enormous difference in the lives of these children. For that reason—and building on the momentum generated by the pastors’ breakfasts and pulpit exchanges—Dr. Sybil Knight-Burney, Superintendent of the Harrisburg School District, invited pastors involved in this project to meet with her at the District office on July 31, 2012.
During the course of that meeting, Dr. Knight-Burney, the principals, and the parents explained to the pastors the nature and scope of the District’s most pressing needs and how—by addressing those needs—the pastors and their churches can reach out to the children. Learn what the District hopes the churches will do.
Transition in Project Leadership
Also, in recent weeks, the Sider Institute has transferred formal leadership for this project from the Institute to the pastors themselves, led by a pastoral steering committee. That committee includes Pastor Juanita Austin, Christ Cares Ministries, Harrisburg; Rev. Wayne Baxter, pastor, Faith Chapel Church of God in Christ, Harrisburg; Pastor Cathy Coleman, Agape International Family Worship Center, Harrisburg, and Assistant Campus Pastor, Messiah College; Rev. Woody Dalton, senior pastor, Harrisburg Brethren in Christ Church; Bishop A. E. Sullivan, president, Interdenominational Ministers Conference of Greater Harrisburg; Rev. Bob Verno, pastor, West Shore Brethren in Christ Church, Mechanicsburg; Rev. John Ward-Diorio, pastor, St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, Mechanicsburg; and Rev. Cedra Washington, pastor of evangelism and outreach, Harrisburg Brethren in Christ Church.