New Life in Harambee!

by Charlesetta Thompson Churches have long been the glue that holds the fabric of community together. New Life Presbyterian Church on the corner of Palmer and Concordia is one of several neighborhood churches that does just that. The building was once Northminister Presbyterian Church, which served a largely white congregation. As the demographics of the area and church leadership changed, the New Life church has grown to serve Harambee’s African American community as well as some remaining members. In just 10 years, under the leadership of Dr. Terrell H. Cistrunk, it is thriving and serving a diverse and ever growing congregation. The Church’s community outreach programs breathe new life into the Harambee neighborhood. According to members and neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. James Smith, the entire congregation is especially proud of two of their most innovative programs: FOURTH SUNDAY (Families Overcoming Uniting Reaching True Health and Happiness) and FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE! The mission of FOURTH SUNDAY is “to provide an opportunity to overcome physical, spiritual, and emotional limitations by uniting in pursuit of reaching health and happiness through education, outreach, spiritual and social support.” Dr. Juliette Martin-Thomas is the Coordinator of the three-year-old ministry which serves on average 33 adults per session. It is held immediately after Sunday services on the fourth Sunday of each month. The program features guest speakers, informational movies, and one can always count on fun spirit-building games, prizes, and a delicious meal. Within the last year over 70 1,200-minute phone cards and 80 gift certificates have been given out. The program runs on donations and volunteerism and is a great way to build and strengthen families and community. FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE has been in existence just over one year and is coordinated by Deacon Cleaveland Bryant II and his Brother Jarman Bryant. The program is structured with wholesome activities, food, and fun. This ministry’s mission is to “infuse Christian principles and values in the lives of the youth of the community, to provide a safe environment in which to gather, to initiate choices for both youth and adults thus encourage positive values, and to promote successful family development.” FNL meets on most Fridays from 6-8:30 p.m. and is well attended by youth in the neighborhood and surrounding area. New Life Presbyterian is an asset in the Harambee community and a treasure of empowerment for the families it serves. If you are interested in attending, donating, or volunteering New Life welcomes you to stop by 3276 North Palmer Street or call 414/264-1290. If Dr. Cistrunk isn’t there, no worries — Mr. and Mrs. James Smith are right across the street and will probably come over to greet you!
by Charlesetta Thompson