Pastor William Mathis (Union Temple-New Haven), Rev. Bonita Grubbs (Christian Community Action-New Haven), and Pastor Walter Williams (Walk of Faith-New Haven) on the left, and Pastor Todd Foster (COTR-New Haven) on the right, surround their host, Pastor Floyd Flake (Greater Allen Cathedral- Jamaica, NY) at his first Faith Based Economic Development Conference. It was a fantastic time of receiving education and information that if and when properly applied will undoubtedly lead to community transformation.
For me (Foster), this last day of the 3 day conference was a particularly reflective time. This morning I was able to visit Rochdale Village, the co-op apartments where I grew up. it was less than 2 miles from the conference site. I left Rochdale in 1973 to go to college and haven't been back there since about 1977. I left as a "stone" heathen nearly 30 years ago.
For me to come back today as a man of God in full-time ministry and see the incredibly powerful impact that the church has had in my old neighborhood touched me to my very core. There is new, affordable housing, effective education, and profitable commerce everywhere, all generated by the Faith Based efforts of Rev. Flake and the Greater Allen Community Development Corporation. I believe that I was brought back to this place to be reminded and re-connected with my past as well as pointed toward my future.
It's all about making the lives of others better off. It really is ALL about the love of Christ being practically applied. I thank God for my past and my future being connected this day, but even more for the anticipated collaborative journey with like-minded, willing folks who are ready to bring about some lasting change in new (for us) ways.
Rev. Dr. Calvin Butts (Abyssinian Baptist, Harlem, NY), another man of God with a tremendous community impact, joined Rev. Dr. Flake on one of the informative panel discussions. Other guest speakers included "Reverend Senator" James Meeks, and Secretary of HUD, Alphonso Jackson. Next year's conference has already been announced for October of 2007. This is one conference that you really don't want to miss.
The fellowship during our daily commute from New Haven was tremendous! Great folks we have here in New Haven. We also met some great folks from all over the nation. It was a blessing to have this thing held so close to home! We were just sorry not to see you there!
If you're interested in seeing some of the sessions at a possible group showing, email me to express such interest.