Presbyterians Today

OCT 2018

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COMMUNITIES MOVED BY THE SPIRIT OCTOBER Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay Baltimore kids find safe space to play year-round Faith communities come together to help youth BY MIKE GIVLER in the evening, either on one of the city's streets or in a nearby school- yard. This year the camp took place in a church building in the neighbor- hood, running from noon to 5 p.m. The seven contributing groups, which are Presbyterian, Catholic, Apostolic, two nondenominational congregations and two community ministries, supplied a leader for each week of the summer camp. "It's an interesting conglomeration COURTESY OF THE CENTER Hunting Ridge Presbyterian Church in Baltimore is part of the city's Rosemont Community Interfaith Coalition, which provides a safe place for children to learn and play. F or •ve weeks during the summer, nearly 50 youth in West Baltimore can be seen working on their reading and math skills, or they might be packing up for a day on a local farm or at an area museum. It's all part of the Rosemont Community Interfaith Coalition, which is focused on ending the violence in the Maryland city by offering positive experiences and hope for youth. "The goal is to provide ongoing healthy and safe opportunities for children and youth in that neigh- borhood where a lot of families are afraid to let their kids be outside freely because of danger," said the Rev. Deborah McEachran of nearby Hunting Ridge Presbyterian Church, which is part of the coalition. "We want to provide good role models of adults who care. I feel by doing that, we are communicating the gospel." Hunting Ridge, which is a little over a mile from where the summer camps are held, is one of seven faith- based groups in the area that make up the coalition. Hunting Ridge origi- nally got involved in the area through a movement to help "take back the street corners" in August 2014. "They were trying to encourage people in the community to come out and say, 'Hey, this is a corner where we're not going to allow violence to be,' " McEachran said. "We partici- pated on one of the corners and then made a decision as a church that we wanted to continue going to the same corner every Friday." While the summer camps have been occurring for the past four years, this year was the •rst time it spanned •ve weeks. In the past, the weeklong camp was held outside and,

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