Monday, June 04, 2001

Service honors late activist

McCrackin remembered for nonviolent spirit

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The spirit of the late Rev. Maurice McCrackin came alive Sunday in St. Joseph Catholic Church in the West End.

        About 70 people of Christian, American Indian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Bahai faiths joined hands and hearts for the ecumenical service “Nonviolence, for Youth — and Everyone.”

        The service capped “Mac Day” weekend — a celebra tion to honor the Rev. Mr. “Mac” McCrackin's life and work.

        The fourth annual Mac Day was held Saturday, with a picnic in Laurel Park. The event this year grew into Mac Day Weekend — less than two months after the worst riots here since 1968.

        Retired minister Raymond Woodruff of United Church of Christ said the service — during a time of racial tension in Cincinnati — harkened to the ideology of the man everyone called “Mac.”

        During the gathering, Rev. Woodruff called on the diverse faiths to follow the Rev. Mr. McCrackin's message of non-violent but persistent activism.

        “Remember that we represent many different religions that have often been at war with each other,” the Rev. Mr. Woodruff said. “And here we are at peace ... We can and must join together in pursuit of truth and justice and peace.”

        The Rev. Mr. McCrackin was a social activist who spent many years living among the poor in the West End. He espoused nonviolence as he crusaded against war, homelessness and nu clear waste through acts of civil disobedience.

        He died in 1997 at age 92, but his memory lives on through annual gatherings to honor his memory and the causes he championed.

        Many at the service said the Rev. Mr. McCrackin, if he were still alive, would be leading the city's recent nonviolent protests.

        At one point during the service, the Rev. Mr. McCrackin's picture fell down and some people in the crowd exclaimed, “His spirit is here.”

        Mildred Grinney, an 87-year-old Christian who lives downtown, said she had never been to an ecumenical service before.

        “This is the way life should be,” she said, looking around the people dressed in sari and Kufi hats, quoting from the Bible and Koran. “We are all God's children.”


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