Seminar set to enhance the black community

New Bethel Baptist Church will host a seminar and annual trustee meeting to establish a Youngstown chapter of the First Community Interfaith Institute this month.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 14 at the church, 1507 Hillman St. The presenter will be Minister Lawrance Lee Evans Sr. Co-hosting the free event will be Tom Anderson, local community activist, and Minister Gerald L. Evans.

Lawrance Evans is the national minister of First Community Interfaith Institute Inc.

FCII’s mission and vision are a modern-day version of serving the African-American community. A chapter in Lorain County was established in 1978.

FCII’s policy statement says it “is a spiritual and cultural organization — and teaching church — that promotes the development of Afro-American [African] people. The institute promotes and offers programs and services to benefit black people.”

FCII, based in Rochester, N.Y., also publishes a bimonthly newsletter called the Black Koptic Press Release, which contains more info about the organization as well as upcoming events.

In an email to me, Lawrance Evans explained that the term “Koptic” is used because it recognizes how an ancient people/civilization placed emphasis on education, and later became diverse in its religions, cultures and languages.

I’ve known Anderson for many years, and he has long been a champion of civil rights and minority affairs in our city. He also has given me several tips for feature stories and columns.

Anderson said the Youngstown meeting has been in the planning stages since July. In a letter he sent me, he wrote that he and Evans met when they were students at Youngstown State University, and the two worked together to establish what was then called “Negro History Classes” at YSU.

Evans, an Ohio native, was ordained for the ministry by the late Rev. Lonnie A. Simon, longtime pastor at New Bethel, Anderson said in his letter.

According to its Ohio website,, the institute delivers a host of services that include anger management/domestic violence, social-development classes, food and clothing distribution, music-therapy and job-training programs and startup business assistance.

The services also provide spiritual development and fulfills the mission to increase education, empowerment and enlightenment of the community on the achievements and contributions of black Americans.

Anderson said Evans wants to bring those services to the proposed Youngstown chapter.

At the meeting, Evans will explain his discipline he calls doology.

In his email, Evans said doology is a discipline that has to do with “positive action with the knowledge of our culture and history. Doology emphasizes the use of positive action to overcome obstacles such as self-hatred and miseducation.”

“Doology is about learning from the diversity of African peoples ... and using the knowledge to solve problems,” he wrote.

Doology studies African, African-American and African-European cultures. It also is dedicated to giving individuals the skill sets to become leaders and thinkers, Evans wrote.

FCII also incorporates a tutoring program with classes for adults and children.

To find out more about Evans and the institute before his local session, go to

The political season is upon us, and here are two events you should mark down to attend.

New Bethel is the site for a candidate’s political forum at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the fellowship hall.

The free event is co-sponsored by the Junior Civic League and the Community Mobilization Coalition and will feature candidates for mayor, Youngstown Board of Education and president of Youngstown City Council. Charter amendments and other issues on the ballot will be discussed.

Forum co-moderators are Susan M. Moorer, JCL president, and the Rev. Kenneth L. Simon, pastor of New Bethel and coalition chairman.

For information, contact the Rev. Mr. Simon at 330-747-2125 or Juanita Davis at 330-746-6253.

The Youngstown Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People hosts its 95th Freedom Fund Banquet on Friday at the Mahoning Country Club, 710 E. Liberty St., Girard.

State Sen. Nina Turner of Cleveland, D-25th, who is the Senate minority whip, is the keynote speaker for the event, which begins at 7 p.m. Turner is running for Ohio secretary of state in the November 2014 general election.

Turner, a community college professor and former Cleveland councilwoman, has advocated for high-quality education options for Ohio’s young people.

She also helped to lead a campaign to reform Cuyahoga County’s government into a transparent and accountable institution and was a lead sponsor of legislation to transform Cleveland City Schools.

Turner is the ranking member on the Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee and the Finance Subcommittee on Education, and she is a member of the Ohio Ballot Board.

Tickets are $40, or $320 for a reserved table of eight. For information about the banquet or tickets, call the NAACP office at 330-782-9777, or email the organization at

Ernie Brown Jr., a regional editor at The Vindicator, writes a monthly minority-affairs column. Contact him at

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