The Community Coalition of Eastern North Carolina will sponsor a public forum at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Gateway Convention Center.
The event, “A Forum on Making Neighborhoods Whole,” will introduce the new organization and offer a presentation by Noel Castellanos, CEO of the Christian Community Development Association, who will present eight principles of community development and engagement.
Castellanos is the co-author of “A Heart for the Community: New Models for Urban and Suburban Ministry.” He also serves on President Barack Obama’s Council for Faith and Neighborhood Partnerships. The Community Coalition of Eastern North Carolina was formed by local pastors, churches and businesses in response to poverty and violence in the Rocky Mount community.
A January shooting in the parking lot of Word Tabernacle Church led to several community meetings, including a Feb. 17 “Panel Discussion and Public Forum” hosted by the church in which a commitment was made by the Rev. James Gailliard to offer a “comprehensive, church-led strategy to change these outcomes.”
Gailliard moderates a group of pastors that includes the Rev. Dennis Darville of First Baptist Church, the Rev. Shelton Daniel of Greater Joy Baptist Church, the Rev. Jody Wright of Lakeside Baptist Church, the Rev. Peter Bynum of First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Richard Geraldof Metropolitan Baptist Church, the Rev. Richard Joyner of Conetoe Chapel Baptist Church and chaplain of Nash UNC Health Care, the Rev. Kathy Jo Mitchell of First Christian Church and the Rev. Garland Jones of Mt. Zion Christian Church. Many other area churches also are involved or have expressed an interest, including the Rev. Richard Gurganus of Church on the Rise, the Rev. Alice Johnson Curl of Trinity Lutheran Church, the Rev. Thomas L Walker of Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church and the Rev. Matthew Johnson of Church of the Good Shepherd. All area churches and community members are invited to participate.
Galliard said the effort is receiving the support of area business, schools, law enforcement agencies, Social Services departments and public and private stakeholders who are embracing the initiative.
For more information, call 442-2925 or 292-9592.