The New Year is here, along with a new decade and Los Angeles-area faith leaders shared their recommendations for a productive 2020. The following are some the responses to the Sentinel’s question: “What are some of the issues you would advise the faith community to focus on in the New Year?”
Pastor Deborah Manns, Ruach Christian Community Fellowship: “Have conversations and workshops with middle and high school students on safety and social media predators. Also, nonprofits that work with children and families should be given attention and support to discuss easy snares that trap our young people on a daily basis.
In addition, we need to do a much better job working with foster parents within our churches and community. They have needs and there are resources that they can contact to get assistance with the children under their care, such as spiritual counseling, food giveaways and tutoring.”
Pastor Royce Porter, Crenshaw United Methodist Church: “It’s time to hit pause on much of what the faith community has been doing and focus on the faith shaped by the first church of Antioch. We need to focus in 2020 on social justice issues such as homelessness, victims of domestic violence, and children with special needs and their families. We need to create real community where the economy is based on self-sacrifice and the legal tender is Christ-love. Faith over Politics in 2020.”
“Jackie” Dupont-Walker, AME Church International Social Action Officer and president of Ward Economic Development Corporation: “2020 is a mirror image of year 2000 – white supremacy is out of the closet again. The Black Church continues to be a voice for the voiceless. That means “throwing down” for (1) Census 2020 – counting every single person; (2) Elections – 100% voter participation for both primary and general elections; (3) Re-Districting – Insuring that at all levels, those representing us and crafting policy, have the greater good as their mandate. No excuses, remembering that God is in charge…It’s our watch – It’s our time!”
Pastor Kerry Allison, Church of the Redeemer: “The year 2020 has great possibilities and responsibilities. One of the possibilities will be for the African American collective political voice to be heard and appreciated, and not taken for granted. Our community has a gargantuan possibility to help elect a president who will be sensitive to our social and economic concerns. We will to need to urgently organize and motivate all age groups to vote.
“A responsibility will be for faith communities to become prophetic healing balms to the vicissitudes and binaries of postmodernity. We will need to remember the warnings, work, and motivations of people like Bishop Richard Allen, Harriet Tubman, and the Rev. Dr. Martin King.
Faith communities, and the larger African American community will need to ask the hard questions about the challenges that face us, and not settle for simplistic and superficial solutions for true progress in the new year of 2020.”
Dr. Kathy D. Jenkins, Abundant Faith Bible Church and president of Cynthia Perry Ray Foundation: “Good health is increasingly identified as a global health priority, particularly in minority communities. No one is immune to sickness and disease because of beliefs (racial, religious, etc.). Faith leaders have an enormous positive influence and can help bring about a change in mindsets that may lead to an increase in health literacy, reductions in health disparities and fewer hospital visitations. In 2020, be a ‘Witness to Health Fitness.’”