Two pastors to tell how they escaped grip of racismA black...


September 16, 1993

Two pastors to tell how they escaped grip of racism

A black pastor and a white pastor, both from Philadelphia, will tell how each was challenged to change his attitude about race and overcame racism personally in a public discussion Oct. 1 sponsored by 15 Baltimore-area churches or church agencies.

The speakers are the Rev. Sam Slaffey, minister of Christian Compassion Baptist Church, and the Rev. William Krispin, executive director of the Center for Urban Theological Studies.

"Reaching across the racial barriers: A dialogue on God's call to the church" is the theme for the program scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. at Genesis Bible Fellowship, 531 Walker Ave.

The sponsors include the East Baltimore ministry known as The Door, founded by former Baltimore Colts defensive tackle Joe Ehrmann, and the local Lutheran Office on Public Policy.

Other sponsoring churches are Abbott Memorial Presbyterian, Berean Bible, Central Presbyterian, Faith Christian Fellowship, First Baptist of Pimlico, Grace Community, Grace Fellowship, St. Mary's Episcopal, Trinity Assembly of God, and Word and Faith Fellowship.

"As we look at churches across America today, we see the majority of them divided by racial groups," says the announcement of the program. It asks the question, "Is this what God intended the church to look like in the 1990s?"

Mr. Slaffey said he was involved in gang-fighting and race-rioting in his youth, spent time in prison and hated the white race. That was before he came in contact with Mr. Krispin, who moved his family into an all-black neighborhood and, with a black pastor as his mentor, founded a cross-cultural ministry.

Information: 675-3288.


"Service and Volunteerism: A Way of Life" will be the subject of a free, public lecture by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the LeClerc Auditorium on the North Charles Street campus of the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

Mrs. Townsend is executive director of the Maryland Student Service Alliance. Her talk will be part of the closing program of Community Service Awareness Day for Notre Dame's students, which will include seminars on Third World issues, poverty, disabilities, the environment and domestic abuse presented by representatives of Associated Catholic Charities, the House of Ruth and the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

During the day, Ye Merrie Masquers, a campus troupe of actors, will present a play on homelessness while the audience is served a lunch of soup, bread and water. An evening meal will be like ones served regularly in downtown Baltimore's Our Daily Bread soup kitchen.

Sister Kathy Jager, director of the campus ministry office at the ,, college, organized the all-day program. "Community service should become a way of life which is as much a part of a student's education as the required English, science and history classes," she said.

Information: 532-5565.

Aiding the handicapped

Baltimore Hebrew University and the Torah Organization for Disability Access (TODA), a Baltimore group that promotes improved access for the handicapped in synagogues throughout the United States, will co-sponsor a lecture by Rabbi Tzvi Marx at 7:30 p.m. next Thursday at the university, 5800 Park Heights Ave.

Rabbi Marx, author of "Halakha and Handicap," is the director of the Center for Israel-Diaspora Education of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. Information: 578-6903.

Old St. Paul's

The Rev. William N. McKeachie, rector of Old St. Paul's Episcopal Parish at Charles and Saratoga streets, asked his congregation Sunday to give serious thought to proposals to restructure the denomination, placing more emphasis on the governance and mission of local churches and less reliance on a central bureaucracy.

He reported on a symposium Aug. 12-15 in St. Louis, attended by more than 1,000 Episcopalians from 96 dioceses, including 36 bishops and bishops-elect.

In his first sermon at St. Paul's after his return from a sabbatical, Father McKeachie said his meetings with other clergy, study and reflection have convinced him that too much energy of the national church bureaucracy in New York is wasted on "empty, vain rhetoric."

This merely inflames and exacerbates divisions among Episcopalians and detracts from the fundamental concerns on which all church members could agree, he said.

"Let God be God," Father McKeachie said. "We were created in God's image, not the other way around."

The rector said he personally would favor a 10-year moratorium on meetings of the Episcopal Church's General Convention, which he said tend to be monopolized by divisive but relatively inconsequential matters.

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