Editor's Note

August 06, 2006|By KARLAYNE R. PARKER, | KARLAYNE R. PARKER,,UNISON EDITOR

When I arrived in Baltimore last year, one of the first things I did was to look for a church home.

Finding the right place of worship is key to one's spiritual growth and, frankly, it's the only way I make it from day-to-day.

I still haven't found a home yet, so I'm still visiting.

But along my search, I discovered a very interesting minister who apparently has caught the attention of thousands here locally and many more nationally.

I first saw the Rev. Jamal-Harrison Bryant of Empowerment Temple on a Sunday broadcast on TV One.

I didn't catch the entire service but Bryant was at a high point in his sermon. As the camera panned the church, I saw throngs of worshipers nodding their heads and yelling "Hallelujah" and "Amen."

Sometime later, I would hear how Bryant was bringing Baltimore Ravens players to the church to minister to men.

I received e-mail from one of his parishioners that the Rev. T.D. Jakes -- one of the most noted Christian leaders today -- was coming to Empowerment Temple for a visit.

Bryant was popping up everywhere I looked. This year, he spoke as one of Tavis Smiley's "emerging influencer" panel on the Covenant With Black America program on Public Broadcasting Service.

It was then that I knew UniSun had to write about this ever-popular Baltimorean who through his spreading of the Gospel has been elevated and is much sought after.

Sun reporter Joe Burris was able to stop by Empowerment and meet with Bryant to discuss what makes him different from most other preachers. It's a fascinating profile (Page 13).

Also in this issue, contributor Ashlie Baylor writes about the winner of the local SoftSheen-Carson Vixen Model Search contest during the African-American Heritage Festival (Page 16). Mia Herring will compete against four others. The national winner will be announced next month.

And there's still time to travel, so why not take a trip to St. Helena Island and find out more about Gullah culture? Contributor Cindy Stacy writes about her trip there this year (Page 18).

This is just a snapshot of what you can find in today's UniSun. There's always more. Keep turning the pages.

Enjoy!

unisun@baltsun.com

CONTRIBUTORS

JOE BURRIS

Joe Burris is a staff writer at The Sun, who writes profiles about newsmakers in the Baltimore metropolitan area.

This New Jersey native who was raised in Pamplico, S.C., enjoys stories about religion, particularly because he has spent considerable time among people of faith.

It's only fitting that he write our cover story (on Page 13) about the Rev. Jamal-Harrison Bryant, whose work is focused on saving the hip-hop generation.

SIOBHAN LEFTWICH

Siobhan Leftwich is a New York City transplant who has lived in the Baltimore area since 2003. She has written for Black Enterprise, The Crisis, Essence, Women's Enews, BET.com and VIBE, and she is also a published short story writer. She enjoys writing and reporting on Baltimore's diverse black community because it gives her the opportunity to learn more about her new home. On Page 19, she writes about urban gardens.

CELIA C. PETERS

Celia C. Peters is a writer and director. She has been published in print and online, including on BET.com. Her work includes writing screenplays and writing, directing and producing short films. Peters is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago. On Page 20, you can read her story about Gladys Knight and Ron Winans' Chicken & Waffles restaurant.

CRAIG A. THOMPSON

Craig A. Thompson is a partner at Venable LLP in Baltimore and a public speaker. In his first-person essay (Page 27), he writes about how he and his wife shared the love of reading with their daughters while they were in the womb. It inspired him to do other creative endeavors.

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