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March 3rd, 2010
12:00 PM ET

Churches focus on problems facing the black community

By Don Lemon and Jason Morris, CNN

Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) - Instead of letting her son spend his spring break at a beach with friends, Sheila Wilson-Freelon took him to another gathering this week: a convention of black church leaders aimed at finding solutions to the problems that plague young African-Americans.

The three-day summit, known as the Great Gathering, is the first time in more than 45 years that the African Methodist Episcopal, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion and Christian Methodist Episcopal churches - with a combined membership of more than 5 million - have come together.

The Rev. Staccato Powell, one of the driving forces behind the summit, said one of the main goals of the week is to create a support network for young people, which includes tangible role models like teachers, families, and members of the faith-based community.

"We have to let them know that we have people that have demonstrated character and values, and that can be transmitted," Powell said. "We're saying the greatest role model is the father that's in the home. The greatest role model is somebody you can access everyday." FULL STORY


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