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COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT: Prayer and Real Estate

Posted on February 21, 2012 at 2:15 PM

House of Manna, the Homewood mission church planted by the Pittsburgh Presbytery and pastored by the Rev. Eugene Blackwell, has issued this press release about the upcoming 3rd Annual Prayer 4 Peace march:


3rd Annual Prayer 4 Peace March


Annual event calls for “Renaissance,” Reminds That God Loves Homewood


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Pittsburgh, PA: Hundreds of people will gather at the corner of Frankstown and North Homewood avenues April 6, 2012 for the third annual Prayer 4 Peace March beginning at 10 a.m.


Organized by House of Manna Urban Faith Community and Homewood Renaissance Association, the mile-long march carries the theme renaissance and will focus on the love God has for Homewood. Leading the procession will be Homewood’s elders and young people, the Pittsburgh Police, followed by businesses, organizations and other partners. The order was purposefully selected to symbolize the future of law enforcement and the community working cooperatively toward the renaissance of the community.


About 500 participants attended last year’s march. Among those scheduled to participate and speak this year are Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, state Rep. Joseph Preston, Jr., Senator Jim Ferlo, Executive Presbyter Rev. Dr. Sheldon W. Sorge, City Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess, Black Political Empowerment Project Founder Tim Stevens, Urban League of Pittsburgh President and CEO Esther L. Bush, Community Empowerment Association Executive Director T. Rashad Byrdsong, entrepreneur Chuck Sanders, and Minister Jasiri X.


The people of Homewood continue to work to enhance their neighborhood’s identity as a family-centered, business-oriented community that nurtures the vast array of talent and ambitions in our youths and young adults. For this purpose, a vital partnership has been formed between House of Manna, Fisher Architecture, Northway Christian Community, Berlin International Group, and Homewood Renaissance Association. Together they have begun the process of redevelopment and gentrification with the purchase of 7260 Frankstown Ave., a 16,000 sq. ft. building.


Join us on one of the most holy days on the global Christian calendar. This march will create a unique manifestation of God’s presence knowing that individual prayer is powerful but in when a community comes together they can move mountains.


Now, there's an unwritten rule in journalism, or at least among mainstrem news organizations, that you don't publish press releases verbatim. I am publishing this one verbatim to make a couple of observations.


1) There are actually at least two stories here. The first story is about the Prayer 4 Peace itself. That's in the first three paragraphs, and in the fifth. The second story is about House of Manna's plans for the so-called "Family Dollar building." That is in paragraph four.


2) For many people in Homewood, the second story is the bigger story, because the Family Dollar building has been subject of conversations and speculations ever since the discount chain decided not to locate there, just days before its scheduled grand opening back in August, 2007.


3) The fourth paragraph begs for deeper reporting: first, because it suggests a context of "the people of Homewood" improving our community (as opposed to outsiders); second, because it then lists as actors a string of entities that most people in Homewood are unlikely to know (House of Manna, Northway Christian Community, etc.); third, because it boldly declares that these partners "have begun the process of redevelopment and gentrification."


To tell the world that you are beginning the process of gentrification, when gentrification is always (in my experience) spoken of as evil - how bold is that?


But I think I know what they're up to. I think they're inviting someone to call them on it, so that they can, to use my own phrase, elevate the conversation about what gentrification means.


That's my guess. But I will give them a call, and let them say for themselves.

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Upcoming Events

Black History Month Film
Wednesday, Feb 29 at 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Saturday, Mar 10 at 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Saturday, Mar 17 at 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
3d Annual Prayer 4 Peace March
Friday, Apr 6 at 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

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