Ebenezer Baptist Church and New Community’s Harmony House hosted Camden Street Community Day on Sept. 25. The event was all about giving back to the community, family, wellness and being a blessing. Senior Pastor Oliver Coleman, who led the event alongside Harmony House Director Yonette Fredericks, also hosts many other events with New Community Corporation (NCC) such as Bingo nights, food drives and pizza parties.
Pastor Coleman is a working pastor who strives to live out what he preaches by going outside of the four walls of the church. The relationship between Ebenezer Baptist Church and Harmony House began back in April, yet it seems like so much longer than that with all the good that has transpired in the past seven months.
“We had to acknowledge what was in our community, so by us realizing that our community has a homeless shelter, we wanted to be a part of the mission to help those who are in need of help,” he said. He shared a scripture from the book of Matthew 25:35-36: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” That scripture was the premise of why he reached out to the community.
“We know for sure that our brothers and sisters are in need of our help,” said Coleman. For him, it has been a blessing that he’s been able to make the connection with Fredericks and Harmony House.
“We come in at least once a month,” said Pastor Coleman. He mentioned how he and members of the church sometimes come in with food, candy, entertainment for the children and are always looking to help in any way they possibly can. “Instead of saying, ‘We’re the church down the block,’ we thought how can we help someone in the block?” Now, Ebenezer Baptist Church and Harmony House plan events together to reach even more people in the community by giving back and spreading love.
Most recently the duo successfully planned and put together Camden Street Community Day.
“It was a blessing,” said Pastor Coleman.
During this event, over 600 people in the community and surrounding areas were served. Between community partners and members of the church, all those who attended were able to enjoy wellness vendors, music, food, games and other activities.
“The children were playing and the adults were chatting. The New Community Choir sang and filled the street with joyful sounds,” said Fredericks.
Pastor Coleman’s vision was to go above and beyond for the community.
“We served hot plates. We purchased chicken, ribs, fish. We had pork chops, hot dogs and Italian sausages,” he said. “God blessed us so we want to be a blessing to others. We really had a cookout for the community and some couldn’t even believe the event was free.”
Helping the community and building the relationship with Harmony House has helped Pastor Coleman and his team in the same way.
“I’ve had a few members who actually used to live in Harmony House who are now in college and volunteering with me,” he said. Learning that about his members encourages him that he is doing the right thing and to keep doing it.
“It’s just a blessing,” he said. “This is why we do what we do because of things like this.”
With his second pastoral anniversary coming up on Oct. 24, Pastor Coleman is looking forward to even more community involvement. He and his team are already finalizing plans to put together some events for Thanksgiving.
Ebenezer Baptist Church and community partners plan to give out free turkeys to those who are able to prepare them at home as well as provide a meal for those who aren’t able to prepare a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.
“This is a part of the mission, not just preaching the word of Christ, but being like Christ,” Pastor Coleman said.
NCC and Harmony House are truly grateful for such a strong community partnership with Ebenezer Baptist Church that seeks to uplift and restore our community. We hope to be a part of more moments and opportunities like this.