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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Social Justice Ministry established at Zion Baptist Church

PRESS RELEASE - Rev. Eric Beckham, Senior Pastor of Zion Baptist Church, has charged Dr. Benjamin Williams, longtime educator, community activist and current President of the Cobb County Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the Rev. Dr. Barbara Gurnell, Associate Minister at Zion, with launching a Social Justice Ministry. This ministry will seek to educate and mobilize residents, churches and others to work together to engage public and private leadership in social justice issues, including, but not limited to, criminal justice reform, mass incarceration, the school-to-prison pipeline, education, employment, racial reconciliation, and affordable housing and homelessness.

“We recognize that this important work cannot be done by organizations that operate in a silo. If any organization could do the work alone, it would have been done long ago,” said Dr. Williams. “Our Social Justice Ministry here at Zion plans to partner with other community entities to make an effective, positive impact here in Cobb County to help ensure that justice is provided to all. There are ample data that argue the case for change, and folk of good will can no longer afford to sit idly by and watch poor people and people of color continue to be abused.” Dr. King reminded us that “what affects one directly affects all of us indirectly.” 

The ministry’s inaugural event, “Criminal Justice Reform: Lawyers, Advocates & Returning Citizens,” scheduled for Tuesday, April 4, 2017, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., at Zion Baptist Church, 160 Lemon St. NE, Marietta, GA 30060, will be a community forum. Religious and civic leaders, citizens and members of the legal profession have been invited to serve as panelists and will field questions from the audience. The entire community is invited to participate in constructive, solution-oriented dialogue.

“It is the moral and spiritual responsibility of the church to engage and partner with the community in addressing the current societal challenges,” Rev. Beckham said. “Jesus traveled far and wide to spread the gospel of love in action to the lost, the weak, the disenfranchised, the incarcerated, and those ignored and abused in society.”

Pastor Beckham, Dr. Williams and guest panelists will be available to the media from 6:00-6:30 p.m. The forum is free and open to the public.

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