By Rev. Heber Brown, III
It has been my joy for the past 4 years to pastor Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore, MD. It was a church that was already involved in the community before I arrived and since my coming, we’ve purposed to just be more of who we’ve always been.
We’re being grounded more and more in our unique fingerprint in and for this city. It has taken us into some territory that other churches in Baltimore just don’t go.
We’re developing a capacity for risk-taking that will only grow as we continue to follow Christ along The Way.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the things we’ve been blessed to do or be a part of over the past 4 years:
- We’ve started a community garden that has provided free, fresh produce to members and neighbors alike.
- We’ve hosted numerous forums on Palestine/Israel and have joined Jews and Palestinians in our sanctuary to discuss the Israeli Occupation of Palestine.
- We’ve partnered with groups like the American Friends Service Committee to launch the Eddie Conway Freedom School – a participatory learning program named in honor of Maryland’s longest serving political prisoner and former Black Panther, Mr. Eddie Conway.
- We hosted the 3rd Annual Pan African Youth Summit which featured Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) representative, Eugene Puryear and current PSL presidential candidate Peta Lindsay.
- When some close to the Occupy Baltimore group were concerned that that effort didn’t fully reflect the diversity of this city, Pleasant Hope opened it’s doors and served as the birthing ground of a new group called Liberate Baltimore.
- We’ve been the most consistent church involved in the effort to stop the building a multi-million dollar youth jail in Baltimore – participating in direct protests and meetings with state officials.
- We hosted a debate on President Obama’s foreign policy toward Africa organized by Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle and Habesha-Baltimore and like most events that we host we didn’t charge a dime for the event.
The list could go on and on and I’m so thankful that our church is becoming known as the “social justice church.” We are working alongside an array of great partners to make a tangible difference in the world.
I can’t tell you how often I hear comments like, “Pastor Brown, I’m not even Christian, but I appreciate what you and this church are doing in the community.”
This weekend, Pleasant Hope has the amazing opportunity to conduct a worship service on the main stage of the African American Festival (AFRAM). We’ll have a booth all weekend and the worship service will take place on Sunday, July 8, 2012 at 12Noon.
We’ll use this platform to celebrate God’s Love and Challenge to our community while also sharing about one of our latest ventures. Pleasant Hope is building a state-of-the-art recording and broadcast studio for local artists and grassroots youth journalists. This community-centered studio will serve as a platform for the gifts of Baltimore’s youth and a vehicle to amplify the local voices of this city.
In a time when municipal resources for area youth are strained and local voices are being pushed aside by nationally, syndicated radio, the studio which will be located adjacent to Pleasant Hope’s worship building will provide valuable opportunities for positive youth engagement, community empowerment, advocacy and entrepreneurial discovery.
We want to share this vision with everyone we can at AFRAM this year and your support will get us that much closer to this reality.
Will you consider making a donation today to Baltimore’s “social justice church” so that we can maximize our presence at AFRAM and lay a sure foundation for the creation of a state-of-the-art studio?
All you have to do is visit www.pleasanthope.org and click the “Donate Here” button. From there you’ll be able to make a donation to our African American Festival Fund. Any amount will be greatly appreciated and recognized!
Thank you for your consideration and support!