Wednesday, May 23, 2001

Some churches won't join prayer at Taste

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A group of Cincinnati ministers said Tuesday they will not be praying with Mayor Charlie Luken at Taste of Cincinnati this weekend.

        Instead they will join a boycott set up by the newly formed A Group of Concerned Clergy.

        Dr. Calvin Harper, of Morning Star Baptist Church and head of the 26-church Amos Project, told city leaders that ministers of several of the churches will not be praying with the mayor at the Taste convocation. The churches include Morning Star Baptist, Calvary Baptist, Carmel Presbyterian, Grace Episcopalian and Unity Baptist.

        The Amos Project is a multidenominational coalition of churches that work together for social good.

        “The mayor and others had asked them to participate, but the group never promised to do it,” said the Rev. Jeannette Shegog, of Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Walnut Hills.

        Councilman Phil Heimlich said, “What's really sad about their action is, supposedly the ministers involved in that project were working on bringing our city together. Their action just pulls the city farther apart.”

        Meanwhile, A Group of Concerned Clergy has threatened more boycotts in the summer if city officials do not address race issue quickly.

        The clergy group is demanding that the city allocate $50 million to fund Cincinnati Community Action Now, change how the police chief and civil servants are hired, grant subpoena and investigatory powers to the Citizens Police Review Panel and outlaw racial profiling.

        Sunday night, the three co-chairmen of Cincinnati Community Action Now met with the ministers for three hours, attempting to discourage a boycott. The effort failed.

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