By Pride Newsdesk
Churches, pastors, ministers and those who speak for the evangelistic community are being called out to “do something” about the plight of the community, especially for young people. This is a calling that we hear from almost every community throughout the world, and especially the African American community. The media sometimes carries this direct call to the Black Church, as reported in newspapers, radio, and television, that the church is not doing enough.
“It was the 2014 dreadful shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri that moved me to take matters in-hand and to realize that I had to do something. “If not me, who? And if not now, when?” Rev. Jasper Williams, Jr., pastor emeritus of Salem Bible Church, asked himself. “Enough is enough.” Williams has heeded the call. With the founding of the African American Churches Transforming Society (AACTS) in 2014 by Rev. Williams, he continues to lead the way. “This is not a ‘me’ this is a ‘we’ and a ‘thee’” he said.
The African American Churches Transforming Society (AACTS) will hold their 2019 annual Conference at the Salem Bible Church, East Campus, located at 5460 Hillandale Drive, Lithonia, Ga. 30058; 404-792-5664. Conference activities begin on Wednesday, March 13, with registration at noon; Thursday, March 14, registration and breakfast at 8 am; and Friday, March 15, breakfast at 8 am.
As an organization of churches, the African American Churches Transforming Society is working together with its membership to develop and expand initiatives, services, processes, programs, and resources to help African American people thrive and prosper. AACTS is a team of dedicated individuals who are at the forefront of identifying and overcoming obstacles in the African American community. By seeking solutions to the problems plaguing our communities, AACTS’s will fulfill its mission to provide social, economic and spiritual progress toward re-establishing our position in society and advance the lives of many.
Many religious leaders in African American churches, political leaders, and community and education trailblazers have committed to participate on panels and to make presentations at the AACTS Conference. Morehouse School of Medicine has played an instrumental part in the conference planning.
“It was Rev. Jasper Williams who requested that I provide him with an analysis of the data he collected while researching what was causing the demise of the Black family and how can we fix this from a scientific prospective,” said Dr. Mary Langley (Ph.D., MPH, RN, ICPS), professor, Morehouse School of Medicine. “The analysis of data from interviews conducted by Rev Williams, with the heads of county governments, law enforcement agencies and school systems, as well as the mayors of two small cities in six of the major counties in the Metropolitan Atlanta, generated six strategic priorities linked to the greatest needs in the African American community. The top three priorities were centered on the home and school. Many of the problems impacting the African American community begin in the home, spread to the schools and end in negative life outcomes for a disproportionate number of African American youth and young adults. To initiate the process of addressing disparities in the African American community, according to the data, it must start in the home with better parenting and more parental involvement in the lives of their children.”
This innovative conference, often referred to as the ‘Generation Movement,’ is designed for pastors, ministers, and lay-leaders, in order to equip those who attend and participate to restore their community. This ‘Movement,’ is an initiative to reverse the downward trend in many African American communities.
Michael Thurmond, DeKalb County CEO, will appear on the AACTS Conference program as a speaker. Georgia state Rep. Hank Johnson, has endorsed the project. Many leaders in this state have endorsed Rev. Williams’ initiatives to identify and overcome obstacles in the African American community in Atlanta and Georgia.
The conference will offer two tracks: The Pastor’s Workshop, where pastors will discuss how the word of God can change hearts, strengthen families, and revitalize communities; and the Team Member’s Workshop, where participants will receive tools in building successful community collaborations that bring key stakeholders around the table to find solutions.
Rev. Jasper Williams Jr., the host of the conference, writes: “I’m calling all African American church and community leaders to join forces to help turn our communities around.”
This article originally appeared in the Nashville Pride.