Rev. Antonio Smith with the children
Across America, the month of October is designated to raise awareness around breast cancer, domestic violence, and children. In October, an EduWorship experience was held in the Hood Theological Seminary Aymer Center with a focus on the three areas, but emphasizing children. Children can be affected if there is a parent/caregiver battling cancer or facing domestic violence. Many children experience neglect, poverty, homelessness and abuse. It is not enough to know about the issues, we are called to respond and make a difference.
Understanding biblical directives is the starting point, plus becoming knowledgeable of the conditions, symptoms and preparing to move to make a difference is essential. Mrs. Melissa Shue, Education Specialist for Prevent Child Abuse Rowan informed the attendees that the highest numbers of children who are abused fall between the ages of 7 and 12 years old and 80% of those who become fatalities are under 5 years of age. How does the church and community respond? First, is the need to learn what to look for and how to respond. Rev. Dr. Clifford Barnett, pastor of Warner Temple A. M. E. Zion Church and addressed the needs of children during the first 2000 days of a child’s life. During this time, the brain develops rapidly and is greatly influenced by the experiences and opportunities available to the child. The church and community can be intentional in providing training for parents and opportunities to enhance the development of children.
How did Hood respond? We learned yes, but we also blessed. During the month of October, each offering during the weekly chapel services was designated to support the Terrie Hess House for abused children. Items from their wish list were collected and donated at the end of the EduWorship experience. The battered women's shelter were also included as Hood collected items on their wish list and presented them with a collection of donated items. Submitted by Dr. Mary Love, Hood Theological Seminary
Blessing of the Children
F.A.C.T. (Families And Communities Together) is a Salisbury Community organization dedicated to making a difference in the community, especially the lives of children. Since August 2016, they have faithfully gathered every second Sunday to have a service showcasing the talents of the younger generation from the various churches in the community. These talents included mime, drama, liturgical dance, poetry and recitations, singing, etc.
At several of the services, Hood Theological Seminary students or faculty provided an object lesson. The monthly focus of the lessons included back-to-school back pack (GRACE), gifts, thankfulness, symbols of Christmas and African-American history. Bibles were presented to the children.
Services have been held at Soldiers Memorial A. M. E. Zion Church, Crown in Glory Lutheran Church, First Calvary Baptist Church, Mt. Calvary Holy Church, Moore’s Chapel A. M. E. Zion Church and Trinity Presbyterian Church. Students participating were Rev. Kevin Griffin (pastor, first Mount Calvary Baptist Church – Charlotte, NC), Rev. Antonio Smith – University Park Baptist Church – Charlotte, NC and Dr. Mary Love, Adjunct Professor Christian Education – Hood Seminary.
Rev. Antonio Smith and the Children
Beyond the Classroom: Child Advocacy
Being able to put into practice what one learns is a valuable experience. Four students from Hood Theological Seminary were able to participate in the July 18-22, 2016 Samuel Dewitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry. The theme was "Praying with Our Feet: Pursuing Justice for Children from the Sanctuary to the Street." It was held at the Alex Haley farm in Clinton, TN. The Hood students attending included Tami Forte-Logan, Miranda Lane, Allison Lee and Kevin Griffin. These students sat at the feet of renowned leaders and preachers who possess a passion for just treatment of children and being a voice on their behalf. The Proctor Institute is under the auspices of the Children’s Defense Fund headed by Dr. Marian Wright Edelman. After a week of intense exploration around the subject of child advocacy, the students were charged with the responsibility to return and complete a project on the behalf of children. They had acquired skills, strategies and models for effective child advocacy and challenged to move their learning experience to the streets.
Hood’s students’ project involved cooperation with a Salisbury Community group, F. A. C. T. (Families and Communities Together) that is working with children. This group desired training and ways to enhance their ministry to children and their parents. To meet this need, an Empower-ment Summit was held on November 3 on the Hood Campus. The focus was strengthening the ministry of persons who work with the younger generation. Vickie Hughes was unable to share in the Proctor Institute but shared in the Empowerment Summit. Presentations were given by the students in the following areas:
- Guidance from the Word (Bible)
- Pointers for Working with Males of the Younger Generation
- Pointers for Working with Females of the Younger Generation
- Aids for Diversity in Ministry with the Younger Generation
~ Professor Charlene Sinclair, founding Director of Center for Race, Religion and Economic Democracy served as Hood’s faculty advisor along with Adjunct professor of Christian Education, Mary Love.