The “Church at the Park” event initiated by Pastor Anthony “Shep” Crawford of the Experience Christian Ministries (ECM) was a definite step in the right direction towards unifying Black and Brown believers.
More than 750 Los Angeles residents filled Gilbert Lindsey Park in South Los Angeles on Oct. 28, for a day of fellowship, singing, dancing, food, entertainment and health resources. Haircuts, face painting, arts and crafts, jumpers and games were available for children along with a free men’s shoe giveaway sponsored by the men of ECM.
In addition, Crawford delivered a compelling word of grace and unity and then Grammy and Stellar award-winning artist Brent Jones treated guests to a performance.
This event was presented in collaboration with AIDS Health Foundation divisions, LOUD (Latino Outreach and Understanding Division) and BLACC (Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition), who also offered free HIV/AIDS and STD screenings.
“When we went throughout the neighborhood inviting our Latino brothers and sisters to join us, they seemed receptive, but when they actually showed up to the event, I knew then that we had a chance to really come together and form real relationships – the kind of relationships where we look out for each other and help one another,” said Crawford.
Gilbert Lindsay Park is located in a crowded residential community predominantly populated by Latinos, however, only blocks away on the corner of 47th Place and San Pedro sits Experience Christian Ministries, a predominantly African American Church. ECM’s Crawford said he is determined to do whatever possible to unite the community often separated by race and gangs.
Also taking the stage was Pastor Chad Wolyn of South Los Angeles who addressed and prayed for the Spanish-speaking people in attendance. He expressed the need to come together and to show love to one another and live peacefully among each other, as that is what God desires of us.
“It’s time for us to come together. We have spent too many decades made to believe that we are enemies of each other without a good reason of why. I am committed to doing my part to help bring unity to this community,” noted Crawford, who added that he and his outreach tea are working closely with 9th District Councilmember Curren Price Jr. to effect positive change and bring in resources to help improve the neighborhood.