In a day when religion headlines often bring news of discord and schisms, the Charleston Area Justice Ministry is uniting 22 diverse local congregations to tackle some of the community’s most unjust problems.
The justice ministry, which works to influence public policy and advocates on behalf of the powerless, drew more than 500 people — black, white, liberal, conservative, Christian, Jewish, men, women — to a meeting last month to discuss what issues to tackle in the coming year.
More than 2,000 attended its biggest annual event last spring, including elected officials and police and school leaders.
So far, the 2-year-old ministry has focused on the intertwined problems of juvenile crime and a lack of quality early education for some local children.
Its supporters include clergy and laity from AME churches, Baptists, Episcopalians, Greek Orthodox, Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, Reform Jews and many others. Their goal: Identify problems and come up with specific, measurable solutions.
But who are the individual people behind the ministry — and why are they involved? We asked a few:
The Rev. Danny Massie talks to more than 2,000 people from diverse congregations at the Charleston Area Justice Ministry’s Nehemiah Action Assembly this spring. Another 500 attended a meeting last month to determine what community needs they will tackle in the coming year. The group already is addressing juvenile justice and early childhood education.×
The Charleston Area Justice Ministry brings together more than 20 racially and theologically diverse local congregations to address community-wide issues.×
Elected officials, along with police chiefs, listen to a speaker during a Charleston Area Justice Ministry meeting earlier this year that drew more than 2,000 people from a diverse range of congregations.×
features- The Rev. Danny Massie, of First (Scots) Presbyterian Church, said he supports efforts to bring people together. The Presbyterian Church (USA) is currently wrangling with the issue of ordaining gays and lesbians. ¬ Published Caption 5/15/11: The Rev. Daniel Massie ""No one has a monopoly on truth.×
daniel massie.photo by sanchez 9/24/97×
Congregations of the Charleston Area Justice Ministry met at St. James Presbyterian Church on James Island in April.×
Elected officials, along with police chief's listen to a speaker during the Charleston Area Justice Ministry Nehemiah Action Assembly held in North Charleston Monday night. (Brad Nettles/postandcourier.com) 4/29/13×