Black Church's Children

Black Church's Children (1991)
Duration: 00:30:01

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Themes: Religion and Spiritual Life |

Guests: Mother Gertrude Stacks, Rev. Ron Spann, Fr. George Clements, Deacon Reginald Dokes, Rev. Jim Holley
Host : Deborah Smith-Barney
Producer : Tony Mottley

Summary: The discussion is led by guest host Deborah Smith-Barney, a Detroit broadcaster, journalist and scholar, at a time of transition for Detroit Black Journal. The program had moved to a new day and time slot and was preparing to introduce a new permanent host in late October.

Smith-Barney poses the question of whether churches have "met the call" to provide for the needs of children, and introduces a tape of excerpts from an interview with Father George Clements, a Catholic priest from Chicago. Clements had launched a program challenging each church to find at least one family that would adopt or provide a foster home for one child.

She then asks the panelists - the Rev. Jim Holley of Little Rock Baptist Church; the Rev. Ron Spann of The Messiah Church; Deacon Reginald Dokes of Fellowship Chapel; and Mother Gertrude Stacks of Shalom Temple - to discuss what their churches are doing for children.

The panelists describe a variety of recreational, instructional and spiritual programs their churches offer, many of them emphasizing tutoring and mentoring after school. They also discuss the challenges they face in being responsive to the needs of children in an urban world where drugs, crime and incarceration are epidemic.

Holley says that resources are very tight, especially in inner city churches where as many as 70 percent of the people live on fixed incomes. Increased racial integration and economic advancement for some have also brought a mobility to society that has broken some of the bonds of mutual support that once were a source of strength for the black community, both Holley and Spann say.

"A lot of us have our buildings based in neighborhoods, but we're not necessarily neighborhood churches," Spann says.

Intermixed with further clips from Clements and brief taped interviews with students outside Martin Luther King High School on the city's east side, the discussion explores what churches can - and cannot - do to help.

Related Production Materials held at MSU Libraries, Special Collections:
Box 4, File 12, Black Church/Children – September 29, 1991 – Show # 2300A