Charleston Area Justice Ministry unites diverse lot of faithful to address problems

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:

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