A forceful proponent of the need for churches to play a direct role in working with the poor in the streets of distressed urban neighborhoods, community activist Rev. Eugene Rivers III took part in the Nov. 18 “Call to Renewal Conference – The Church and the City” at Wittenberg.
Area churches and the Wittenberg Center for Professional Development sponsored the conference with a grant from the Clark County Department of Human Services.
Featured on the cover of Newsweek in June, Rivers and his ideas on how to stabilize spiraling crime and violence in America’s urban centers have taken him to the White House to join in a national debate on the role of religion in the inner city.
However, while winning the confidence of community leaders, Rivers has also aroused controversy for many of his views such as the need for self-reliance in the black community to regenerate black civil society.
Rivers is director of the Ella J. Baker House in Dorchester, Mass., a recreation center and parish house out of which he and his colleagues work to clean up crime and drugs while instilling hope in urban youth.