Saturday, June 19, 2004

Revival aims to spread racial peace

Faith Matters

By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

The Rev. Willie L. Strayhorn believes God is the answer to stopping violence and racial tension in Cincinnati. Beginning next weekend, he and the 200 other members of the Cincinnati Baptist Ministers Conference are going to do something to bring about that change.

"I'm concerned about my black boys being killed by my black boys, and by the grace of God, I can show them a new way," said Strayhorn, pastor of Bright Star Baptist Church, 809 Charlotte St., Over-the-Rhine.

Strayhorn is the chair of this year's Baptist Ministers Conference Revival, "Saints Revived to Transform Our City."

The event, which runs June 26-July 2, includes a youth gathering 10 a.m.-2 p.m. June 26 and a series of workshops on current issues 6:30-8 p.m. Monday through Friday at Southern Missionary Baptist Church, 5556 Reading Road, Avondale.

Rev. James A. Boyd, the pastor of Zion Gate Baptist Church in Columbus, Miss., and a board member of the National Baptist Convention USA, the largest black religious organization, will be the guest speaker. The convention will bring its annual 25,000-delegate meeting to Cincinnati in 2008.

Cincinnati Baptist ministers will also be street preaching in five neighborhoods in the city - Fairmount, Bond Hill, Westwood, Lincoln Heights and Avondale - noon-4 p.m. each day.

"I think God is the only one who can really bring about change in Cincinnati, because people's minds have got to be changed. Our young people have got to come away with a different mind set and believe that life is valuable," Strayhorn said.

All events are free to the public. For information, call 541-7711.

Rabbi's twin serves as resident scholar

This weekend, members of Congregation Ohav Shalom and their rabbi, Moshe Meirovich, are welcoming a guest - Meirovich's twin brother, also a rabbi, Harvey Meirovich.

The visiting rabbi is serving as a scholar-in-residence, giving talks on the issues of tolerance and pluralism in Judaism.

"The issues of tolerance and pluralism are critical to the future evolution of Israel as a democratic state," Harvey Meirovich said. "The last 100 years of Zionism have centered on building an infrastructure, a physical haven for Judaism. It's not good enough to have a building. You have to have contents in the building."

He began his visit to Cincinnati with talks Thursday and Friday evening. Today, he will participate in services at 9 a.m. and presentations at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Sycamore Township congregation, 8100 Cornell Road.

Meirovich, who has lived in Jerusalem for 15 years and serves as the dean of the Schecter Rabbinical Seminary there, will focus on forging a Jewish identity and living in Israel while maintaining optimism.

"I hope people will come away with the answer to a question often asked of my rabbinical students - 'What is your aspiration for the future as a rabbi?' - and their answer that they hope to see Israel evolve as a place with respect for religious difference," Meirovich said.

In addition Rabbi Moshe Meirovich said he hopes his congregation learns the importance of the study in addressing topics, like tolerance and pluralism.

"To truly understand what we believe and why we do what we do, we must sit down and study the texts in earnest," he said.

To submit religion news, send a fax to 755-4150 or e-mail

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