Louis Farrakhan to preach Sunday in W. Baltimore


November 18, 1993|By Reported by Frank P.L. Somerville

Louis T. Farrakhan, the black separatist leader of the Nation of Islam whose anti-Semitism placed him on the fringes of the civil rights movement for years, will preach at 6 p.m. Sunday in West Baltimore's Bethel AME Church.

It is a sign of the increasing acceptance of Mr. Farrakhan in the mainstream black community. Bethel's staff and large congregation play an influential role in African-American church affairs.

Bethel AME, at 1300 Druid Hill Ave., was the site during the recent National Council of Churches meeting in Baltimore of an interdenominational service of installation for the Rev. Gordon L. Sommers, new president of the nation's largest ecumenical organization. Roman Catholic Archbishop William H. Keeler of Baltimore was one of many participants in that service.

The Rev. Frank Madison Reid III, Bethel's pastor, and the Rev. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., national president of the NAACP, will take part in Bethel's "Men's Day" observances on Sunday. Dr. Reid will preside at 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and Dr. Chavis will speak at the 11 a.m. service.

Mr. Farrakhan's Muslim movement has been praised by black Christian leaders -- Dr. Reid and Dr. Chavis among them -- for its successes in combating drug addiction, drug trafficking and violence.

"I believe Minister Louis Farrakhan is an important leader within the African-American community," the head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said recently. "To deny the presence of his leadership would be a mistake."

At the same time, Dr. Chavis stated emphatically that "we in the NAACP are opposed to any form of racism or anti-Semitism."

Mr. Farrakhan has been a leader of the opposition to providing Norplant in Baltimore's school clinics, denouncing the contraceptive as "social engineering" designed to reduce the black population.

The Nation of Islam minister says that Norplant has not been adequately tested and that it encourages teen-age sex when abstinence should be promoted instead.

Rounding out Bethel AME's presentation of an unusual variety of religious viewpoints during the weekend, Rahbee Ben Ammi, spiritual leader of the African Hebrew Community in Israel and author of "God, the Black Man and Truth," will speak at the church at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Information: 523-4273.

New church:

New church: Representatives of the Baltimore Baptist Association, the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware and the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention will participate in the Constituting Service of Canton Baptist Church and Neighborhood Center at 3 p.m. Sunday at Patterson Park Baptist Church, 3115 Eastern Ave.

After the service, members of the congregation will walk about a mile to their building at 3302 Toone St. in Canton for a reception.

The new church has ministered to its community as the Canton Baptist Mission Center since 1908.

The congregation, growing under a succession of missionaries, was for many years a mission of the Patterson Park church. The present church on Toone Street, the old Welsh Meeting House, was purchased by the Maryland Baptist Union Association in 1911.

Information: 563-1177.

Greeting cards:

Greeting cards: Umoja Children Inc., a small-business project of Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church at 2110 Madison Ave., is offering Christmas and Kwanza cards with African themes for sale as part of its effort to promote artistic and entrepreneurial skills.

Information: 523-7935.

Original music:

Original music: Twenty-five of the more than 50 musical compositions of M. Arthur Camper, a life member and associate minister of Trinity AME Church at Hoffman Street and Collington Avenue, will be performed there at 3 p.m. Sunday to mark the East Baltimore congregation's 52nd anniversary.

Dr. Camper will be honored during the concert by the church's senior choir, led by organist-director Clarence J. Jones Jr. and conductor E. Delores Harvey-Branch.

The public is invited. Information: 342-2320.

Ethics, public policy:

Ethics, public policy: The Baltimore Ethical Society will discuss at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at 1311 Bolton St. whether women who are HIV-positive should become pregnant and bear children.

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