Community Capacity Building in African American Churches
Chapter 2. Service Learning in the Faith and Health of African American Youth
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We hope to give the teens information to make decisions considering how God wants them to mirror their lives. The program will give them [accurate] information to make better life-choices, and will be based on the premise of “restoration.” As we prepare the teens to do the right thing, we will also let them know that if you have made poor decisions in the past, it doesn’t end there…. So they know they can still make the best of the situation and move on to have a fulfilling life with the Lord.
—Alicia McGregorYouth Ministry, Grace Cathedral Church1
Where the school work consists in simply learning lessons… [it] becomes a clandestine effort to relieve one’s neighbor of his proper duties…. When the school introduces and trains each child of society into membership, saturating him with the spirit of service, and providing him with the instruments of effective self-direction, we shall have the deepest and best guarantee of a larger society which is worthy, lovely, and harmonious.
How does reciprocity between faith and health matter in the lives of African American youth? Defined biblically as “reaping what one sows,”3 reciprocity is the expression of shared norms of Sacred exchange. It is giving without an expectation of return and the Grace-affirmed receiving that often occurs in having gifted another in this way. “True” reciprocity is far less about “the expectations and obligations of mutual aid which it engenders”4 and much...
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