Memorial to the Lost

Memorial to the Lost
at Chester Eastside Ministries

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Memorial to the Lost at Prospect United Methodist Church

Although the temperature hit 91 today, there was a good breeze and a great volunteer turnout from Prospect United Methodist Church, and the Memorial to the Lost was up in about 1 1/4 hours.  Here are some pictures

Friday, August 26, 2016

Wildwood -- beach trip for families bereaved by gun violence

Two families were already waiting when I got to the Chester Eastside, Inc parking lot around 7 AM Thursday.  Soon the parking lot was filled with families toting towels, lunches, and swimsuits.  Marshelle Johnson, who had worked for weeks contacting the families, was checking off arrivals on her clipboard.

Moms were wrapping frozen juice containers and water bottles in plastic baggies (so condensation wouldn't disintegrate the brown bags holding lunches).  Teens were lugging the tote bags of lunches to the under-bus storage.  Little kids were running around the parking lot.  I was nervously handing out flyers and explaining where the bus would drop families off and pick them up.

When we got to Wildwood, some families peeled off to explore the boardwalk; others headed for the beach.  We made a little encampment of rented umbrellas and chairs.

Little kids waded into the water, squealing and shrieking when waves hit them.  The big boys dashed into the water, and were soon jumping into the waves.  Then they were digging deep into the sand and burying each other.  Then they headed back into the water.

Sunshine, waves, and sand, and a fresh, onshore breeze.  It was a beautiful day.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

In last Sunday's Delco Times, our own Rev. Warren

by Patty Mengers,

Eleven o’clock Monday morning and the energy is pumping in the basement of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in the 300 block of East Ninth Street, site of Chester Eastside Inc.
Along the far wall, bushel baskets of fresh produce and bags of bread create a cornucopia effect as men and women of all colors, creeds and ages line-up for food to bring home to their families.
To the immediate left, neatly folded garments are displayed on a table for those in need of clothing. Meanwhile, children attending summer camp, weave through the crowd and make their way to the parking lot where they read aloud while the young adults who are their counselors, record their story-telling on mobile phones.
“They graciously allowed us to come here after we couldn’t maintain our building,” explained the Rev. Bernice Warren, referring to the pastor and congregation of St. Paul’s who have been hosting Chester Eastside Inc. for about four years.
The group’s original home in the Third Presbyterian Church of Chester about a block away had begun to crumble and Warren, who has been pastor and director of Chester Eastside since 1995, had to find a new space for the organization and it’s approximately 10 social service programs she has cultivated over the last two decades with the help of a small staff and volunteers.
“How ya’ doin’? Hey girl!” says Warren this particular July Monday as she greets the Chester residents who avail themselves of the more than 100,000 meals a year provided by the non-profit organization.
It is one of the parts of her job that she will miss come December, when she plans to retire.
“I’ve loved being here and doing what I do. I feel at home. It’s a real blessing to come back to Chester and have God use me this way. I love every minute. It brings me much joy,” said the 64-year-old Chester native.
to read more, click here

In yesterday's New York Times: Black Activists Don't Ignore Crime

IT has become a standard conservative talking point: Black activists focus on police brutality but ignore violent crime in black neighborhoods. Last month Rudy Giuliani said on Fox News: “If they meant ‘Black Lives Matter,’ they would be doing something about the way in which the vast majority of blacks are killed in America, which is by other blacks.”
Claims like Mr. Giuliani’s aren’t just offensive or misplaced — they’re demonstrably wrong. While Black Lives Matter receives deserved attention, countless grass-roots organizations — many of which were founded by bereaved black women — are doing remarkable work to prevent and reduce crime. They protest violence, testify at city council hearings, press for gun-control reform and collaborate with politicians, faith-based organizations and, yes, even the police.
I spent 20 years studying anti-crime politics — observing community meetings, interviewing lawmakers and activists and analyzing city council hearings about crime. I found groups organizing on everything from “barking dogs to shootouts,” as one legislative aide told me. Their activism was impossible to miss.
But this local organizing goes largely unnoticed by politicians, scholars and the news media, all of which focus instead on large national groups with big budgets and expensive lobbyists.
In Philadelphia alone, there were at least 50 local organizations involved in anti-crime politics in the early 2000s. Mothers in Charge, for example, was started in 2003 by Dorothy Johnson-Speight after her son, Khaaliq Jabbar Johnson, 24, was killed in an argument over a parking spot. One of the organization’s main goals is for Congress to declare homicide a public health crisis.
“We continue to support any bills that can help take the guns off the street,” Ms. Johnson-Speight said at a 2004 City Council hearing on gun violence. “We are working very hard with all faith-based initiatives, with the community, churches, other organizations.”
Although Mothers in Charge is relatively small, it has hosted national conferences on the costs of violence; held rallies at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington; and has appeared frequently in local news media like ThePhiladelphia Inquirer. It has grown into a national organization, opening chapters in Los Angeles, St. Louis and other cities.

To read more, click here

Monday, July 11, 2016

In today's Delco Times: Robert Allen Payne -- our world has been shattered.

By Rose Quinn

If Robert Johnson had his way, funeral services for his son would be held outside at Third and Kerlin streets in Chester, where he was fatally shot a week ago today.
That way, the longtime pastor said, strangers would truly see – and for some, might even feel – the devastation of close-knit family and friends over the death of 31-year-old Robert Allen Payne.
“I’ve attended many funerals in this city. I have been acquainted with sorrow, and with the sorrow of others, but I have never been acquainted with grief like this,” said Johnson, a resident of Clayton, Del., who serves as chaplain of the Chester Fire Department and ministers at Agape Christian Fellowship in Claymont, Del.
“Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think he would be assassinated. I was told there were about 30 rounds and he was shot seven times … with an AK47 (type) weapon … To mutilate someone’s body the way he was because of mistaken identity and then to just say, ‘Oops.’
“They didn’t just shoot up an entire car. They shot at him,” the 59-year-old father said through his tears last week, the day before he was scheduled to identify his son by photograph at the Delaware County Medical Examiner’s office. “Our world has been shattered for the rest of our lives because someone decided to do something horrific and horrible to an innocent individual. If my son died in his sleep that would be one thing, or if he succumbed to illness that would be another. But to die a horrible death, I can only imagine what he thought when they pulled up to his vehicle and he saw a gun pointed at him.”
According to police, Payne, of the 1900 block of West Fourth Street in Chester, was found in the driver’s seat of his running white Crown Victoria near the corner of Third and Kerlin streets about 7 p.m. on July 4. Unresponsive with multiple gunshot wounds to his head and body, Payne was pronounced dead at the scene.
to read more, click here.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Murder Witness - a haunting memory

We had a Murder Witness yesterday -- two families who had lost sons over the past months came.  Demetrius Roberts-- one of the two sons--  had been killed as he was on his way home from giving his 3 year old a bath.  I can't get that out of my head.  How do you explain to a 3 year old that Daddy's gone forever?  Never able to give him a bath again?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Pictures from the Delco United for Sensible Gun Policy march to Congressman Meehan's office, to demand he co-sponsor a ban on Assault weapons and large capacity magazines

It's been a long, sad week, mourning the deaths in Orlando, remembering last year's deaths in Charleston.  

Today was bright and warm, and not yet humid -- good marching weather.  Delco United for Sensible Gun Policy gathered about 100 people to march to Congressman Meehan's office in Springfield to request him to co-sponsor HR 4269, which would ban the manufacture and sale of new semiautomatic assault weapons (SAWs), and large capacity ammunition magazines.

Heeding God's Call's  Bryan Miller talked of his brother's death from a semiautomatic assault pistol, over a banner showing Orlando's 49 victims, under a prayer "May our river of tears become a torrent of justice".

And may justice well up like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream (Amos 5:24).