Creative Outreach Focuses on Health, Students
Creative outreach by a vibrant black congregation in Paterson, New Jersey, is having great results.
Pastor Darryl Redmond says Faith Chapel is “taking off, growing” and it’s because “people want to know we care.”
The Medical, Health, and Wellness Fair that Faith Chapel Reformed Church offered last summer featured more than 20 health professionals including pediatricians, dentists, and mental health professionals. More than 250 people attended and were offered free fruits and veggies donated by a local grocery store chain and lots of free health information.
The Brooklyn Mets sent autographed photos and tickets for door prizes, and the Yankees and Jets gave items as well. “It was a great day,” says Redmond.
Redmond, whose wife Geraldine is a pediatrician, says Faith Chapel gathers lots of people who work in the medical field professionally or administratively—people from both the community and from the church. “They do a great job of using the church as a source of awareness for cancer screening, blood pressure screening awareness, exams, and many other health-related activities.”
Faith Chapel’s Academic Leadership Uplift Committee (ALUC) provides encouragement and resources for students from kindergarten through college.
“For our adult students going back to college, we find and pay a tutor,” says Redmond. ALUC also provides free back-to-school backpacks and school supplies and sends cards to college students.
May is ALUC month at the church: kids do a science project and learn etiquette and basic life skills. “Young men need to learn how to tie a tie,” says Redmond. The church hosts a banquet where kids practice what they’ve learned.
Last year ALUC month focused on autism; about 80 people from the community gathered to watch Temple Grandin, a movie about a woman with autism who became a doctor of animal science.
“That movie opened up so much conversation. In the urban community mental health issues are taboo, so this was a way to open up the topic.”
ALUC month also featured a sheriff’s presentation on proper and dangerous uses of social media.