Sunday, July 14, 2013

Lehigh Valley Reverend tapped for 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry

Rev. Gregory J. Edwards,

Rev. Gregory J. Edwards, founder and Senior Pastor of the Resurrected Life Community Church and  Chief Executive Officer of the Resurrected Community Development Corporation, has been selected by the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) to work with Rev. Dr. James Lawson as a part of CDF’s Samuel DeWittProcter’s Institute for Child Advocacy. 

In the initial work with the institute Rev. Edwards will take a cohort of African American males ages 18 to 35 from the Lehigh Valley to the  CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, July 15 through July 20, 2013 to participate in the institute and join other clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.

The institute is named for Rev. Dr. Samuel DeWitt Procter who was an African American minister, educator, and humanitarian active in the African American Civil Rights Movement and is perhaps best known as a mentor and friend of Martin Luther King Jr. 

Proctor was called to serve as pastor of the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in 1972 upon the death of Adam Clayton Powell and served as the Martin Luther King Distinguished Professor of Education at Rutgers University.  

Rev. James Lawson is a leading theoretician and tactician of nonviolence within the American Civil Rights Movement. Consistent with the principles of nonviolence, Lawson declared himself a conscientious objector and refused to report for the draft in 1951. He served fourteen months in prison after refusing to take either a student or ministerial deferment.

After his release from prison, Lawson went as a Methodist missionary to Nagpur, India, where he studied satyagraha, the principles of nonviolence resistance that Mohandas Gandhi and his followers had developed. He returned to the United States in 1955, entering the Graduate School of Theology at Oberlin College in Ohio. While at Oberlin one of his professors introduced him to Martin Luther King, Jr., who had led the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Montgomery, Alabama and had also embraced Gandhi's principles of nonviolent resistance. King urged Lawson to come South. 

Rev. Edwards is a graduate of Geneva College, the University of Delaware Graduate School in Urban Affairs and Public Policy, and Drew University. He has earned the Bachelor of Science degree in Urban Ministry, certification in Community Economic Development and a Master of Divinity degree in the area Theology. He is currently matriculating at the New Brunswick Theological Seminary for the Doctorate of Ministry degree with concentration in the areas of Prisons, Public Policy and Transformative Justice. 

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