Safety, sustainability, poverty and education are among the agenda topics at the National Faith Leaders Conference set for Friday, April 29 at 9 a.m., and Saturday, April 30 at 8 a.m., on the campus of Christ Our Redeemer AME Church (COR), 45 Tesla in Irvine.
The social impact gathering, hosted by COR Community Development Corporation, USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture and the University of LaVerne, aims to share strategies and resources to aid houses of worship, small businesses, students and nonprofits.
“There is a great need to empower organizations to maintain identity, while building relationships to support safety, build entrepreneurs, focus on youth education and track the results to support sustainability efforts,” said the Rev. Charles Dorsey, COR CDC executive director.
“After attending this conference, participants will leave with resources to build partnerships that secure houses of worship, support the effort to get more high school students into community college, start and sustain a small business and develop a network of community relationships to empower their constituents.”
Church security is especially timely, noted Dorsey, in light of increasing attacks on churches such as last year’s massacre of nine members of Mother Emmanuel AME in Charleston, South Carolina.
“Houses of faith and communities of color are experiencing hardship and acts of hate at an alarming rate and are ill prepared to respond,” he said.
To address the security issue along with other societal challenges, the conference will feature several subject experts such as Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, FBI Senior Agent-in-Charge Stephen Woolery, author and social activist Cornel West and the Rev. Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray.
Other speakers include Dr. Jannah Scott, deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships; Brie Loskota, executive director of USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture; Todd Spitzer, Orange County supervisor; Al Mijares, Orange County school superintendent; the Rev. Dr. Richard Rose, director of the Ecumenical Center for Black Church Studies and the Rev. Mark Whitlock, pastor of COR.
Inviting believers and non-believers alike to attend, Pastor Whitlock said, “Our conference is committed to embracing anyone who prioritizes and values the life of their fellow man or woman.
“Our conference is for those who believe they can play a leadership role in standing up against hate, racism, sexism, poverty, and the other divisive ideologies that separate communities and give birth to hate.”
For information on the conference, call (949) 955-0014 or visit corcdc.org.