Rekindling action in congregations, economy, democray theme of ACTION banquet tonight


Rekindling action in congregations, the economy and in democracy provided the theme for three speakers at the 12th annual ACTION banquet Thursday night. More than 350 people attended the event at St. Luke Church hall, 5235 South Ave.

The Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing Our Neighborhoods also recognized two recipients of the Frances Kerpsack Memorial Award. Honorees are Sister Jerome Corcoran, founder of Sister Jerome’s Poor and Sister Jerome’s Kids, for her lifelong service and leadership in helping children of the Mahoning Valley, and the Rev. Joseph Fata, pastor of St. Luke Church and ACTION vice president, for infusing Gospel values into his ministry.

The Rev. John C. Welch, vice president and dean of students at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, focused on “rekindling our congregations.”

“We live in challenging times,” he said, recounting issues such as gun sales, widespread violence, high school dropout rate, homeless families, mass shootings and people who are “spiritual but not religious.”

He said faith leaders have “gotten lazy” and “lost heart” and are too focused on their own legacies. But, he continued, that can change.

Laura Meeks, president of Eastern Gateway Community College, addressed “rekindling our economy” through education. “The more you learn, the more you earn,” she said. “Economic strength is linked to the educational attainment of the region,” she said.

Youngstown Mayor John McNally spoke on “rekindling democracy.”

“Democracy only works when people make their voices heard," he said.

For the complete story, read Friday's Vindicator or

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