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God Among the Children

Life - God Among the Children
The Morning Star Baptist Church in Boston was filled with hundreds of mourners, gathered to pay their last respects to a local parishioner. Suddenly, without warning, violence erupted. Thirteen young men in black hoods strode into the church, picked out someone in one of the pews -- and as he tried to escape from the back of the church -- stabbed him nine times on different parts of his body.

For the African-American clergy serving Boston's inner city community, and for the charismatic Rev. Eugene Rivers in particular, it was the final straw -- the moment they decided they had to do something about the escalating crisis of violence in the city. The result was the formation of the Boston Ten Point Coalition, an ecumenical group working to mobilize the community around issues affecting African-American and Latino youth -- and especially those at risk from violence, drug abuse and other destructive behavior.

The Coalition's goal wasn't to replace the local church -- but to make it more effective in the work of rebuilding community by getting out into the streets -- to 'walk the walk and talk the talk' with the city's growing numbers of alienated and disaffected young people.

'I've found that I've had the most profound theological discussions,' explains the Rev. Jeffrey Brown, 'not in the hallowed corners of some of the seminaries in this area -- but in the street corners, in a park, at midnight on a Friday night.'